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Friday May 20, 2011 10:49 am

American Idol 10: Top 3 Results

American Idol 10 panel

Arguably, the Top 3 vote is the most intense of American Idol. The trio of singers is on the cusp of their goal, inches away from being a contender in the show’s big finale. The biggest vote of the season was recorded after the Wednesday performance round: 95 million.

But some of the voters would be disappointed, because one of the Top 3 would be sent home before Thursday came to a close. The only question was… which?

The Top 3 get to go home to enjoy hometown adoration, so much of the show was dedicated to showing clips of their trips. Haley Reinhart is from the Chicago area. A huge crowd went out in the rain to greet her, but she didn’t cry until she met the screaming fans at her High School. She performed at Arlington Park before a group of more than 100,000. “Sweet Home, Chicago,” naturally.

Il Volo performed “O Sole Mio” on the stage next. It was a little out of place, but very interesting. Il Volo is the most popular group in Italy, or so we’ve been told.

Scotty McCreery is from Gardner, North Carolina. He was greeted by hordes of screaming girls everywhere he went. Scotty played baseball at Gardner High School, and broke into tears as the limo pulled away from the throngs of fans. He even went to the grocery store where he worked before competing on American Idol. Josh Turner, who originally performed the song, surprised Scotty as he sang “Your Man” in front of his hometown fans. It was a fun Idol moment.

Nicole Scherzinger and 50 Cent performed “Right There” in a huge stage show. 50 Cent is unquestionably a gangsta rapper in the great tradition of the style, and he’s written songs with controversial lyrics (one in particular regarding a former New York drug lord). Perhaps it’s ironic that he would be performing for FOX’s flagship show, when FOX News can’t even condone the rapper Common being invited to a poetry event at the White House.

Lauren Alaina went home to Georgia. She met a huge welcome crowd before going back to her high school, where the town proclaimed it was Lauren Alaina day. The area was devastated by tornadoes last month, and Lauren saw some of the wreckage for the first time during the return trip. Her visit was understandably emotional because of this trauma. But there were lots of smiles for Lauren when she arrived to perform before a massive throng of fans. She belted “Anyway,” much to their delight. Show host Ryan Seacrest is also from Georgia.

After Lauren’s emotional montage, Scotty and Haley joined her on the stage to hear about their votes. With arms around each other they stood and listened to Seacrest intone dramatically.

The first to make it to the finale was Scotty McCreery. The in-house crowd cheered its approval as Lauren and Haley hugged it out on stage. Lauren Alaina won the chance to stand at his side, and it looks like we’ll have a country showdown next week.

A stunned Haley Reinhart blew a kiss to the panel of judges, who stood up to applaud her. And so it ends. “I rocked it out. And I had a blast. And this is only the beginning,” she said her good-byes thusly. Haley sang “Bennie and the Jets” to close the show, a great old tune.

Next week, Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina will fight to become the tenth American Idol. Recap their entire journey -- from the early auditions to the final moment -- with our American Idol 10 posts.

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