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Friday April 8, 2011 2:56 am

American Idol 10: Top 9 Results

American Idol’s Top 9 opened the Thursday results show with a mash-up of Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock n Roll” and Lynyrd Skynard's “Sweet Home Alabama,” not their best group number of the season. It did, however, fit the week’s theme: the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.

The week’s Ford music video was next, a sleek production set to the strains of “Love Gun.” Watch all the music videos at Albumista.

In the next clip, the show revealed that Russell Brand surprisingly showed up at Idol earlier in the week to talk to the Top 9 about performance value. Entertaining is something he knows a good deal about. The segment was still gratuitous.

Ryan Seacrest finally started reading results when the interlude was over. Stefano Langone, Casey Abrams and Lauren Alaina were brought to the center of the stage first. Lauren was the first to be sent to safety; she had a strong performance the preceding night. Casey and Stefano put their arms around each other to listen to the rest of the results. Abrams was sent off to safety, and Langone had to watch the rest of the show from the bottom three stools on the other side of the stage.

Constantine Maroulis appeared to sing “Unchained Melody” on the Idol stage, and it felt like season 4 all over again. See his (horrific) performance in the video above.

Gwen Stefani styled the three female contestants for rock week. A video package of her time with them followed the performance, but soon enough it was business as usual on the Idol stage.

Ryan called Paul McDonald, Pia Toscano and Scotty McCreery forward. Scotty, who enjoyed a strong performance the night before, was quickly sent to safety. He hugged Pia, telling her “you’re next” before he went to go breathe a sigh of relief. But McCreery was wrong; it was she who was sent to the bottom three group while Paul sauntered away. Vote For the Worst is currently backing him.

James Durbin, Haley Reinhart and Jacob Lusk, the last group, were brought to the stage after another video package. Jacob looked more nervous than the other two, and James was the first to be sent to safety. Jacob’s bad feelings proved true when Haley, not he, was sent to safety.

Pia Toscano, Jacob Lusk and Stefano Langone made up the most surprising bottom three group of the year. All three have been judge favorites and received strong praise during the Top 9 performance night.

But first, Iggy Pop appeared (shirtless) on the Idol stage as a living member of the rock n roll Hall of Fame. But so is Steven Tyler, and he would certainly have put on a better show. Watch the video (it’s advisable to turn the sound off first) above. Oh, and send the kids of the room before you do.

The bottom three held hands as Ryan Seacrest addressed them -- one of them, for the final time. He told Jacob that he was leaving, the audience groaned, but it was just a fake-out. Lusk was sent to sit in safety, leaving Stefano and Pia behind.

That’s when Idol’s resident diva got sent home. Stefano Langone looked as shocked as we were when he was declared safe over Pia, arguably the strongest vocal contender in the contest. Jennifer Lopez was in tears. “I have no idea what just happened here. I’m shocked. I’m angry. I don’t know what to do.”

“I think we’re all in shock,” Randy Jackson agreed. “This makes me mad.”

“Lack of passion is unforgivable,” Steven Tyler declared. Pia received a standing ovation from the crowd before her good-bye video played.

Pia sang for the Idol audience one final time. She chose “I’ll Stand By You” for her swan song, delivering it perfectly. Toscano never quite looked comfortable during her Wednesday performance, in Gwen Stefani's clothes, and it hurt her in the votes. Will Lauren Alaina or Haley Reinhart emerge as the show's new diva? Next week, they'll come back as part of the Top 8.

Follow the current season of the show -- read all our American Idol 10 posts.

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