"American Idol" voters eliminated another contestant on Thursday night, tapping Paul McDonald to take his bright white smile, his flowery suits, his distinctive voice and fascinatingly jerky dance moves and go home. Maybe he should have slid onstage in his tighty-whiteys -- a la Tom Cruise -- after all on Wednesday night, when he sang Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll."
Oh well. Paul, honestly, didn't seem too wrecked up about the news. The flash of teeth wavered for only a moment, and then was restored. In fact, Stefano Langone, who stood side by side with Paul in the bottom three (which, by the way, I miraculously guessed correctly), looked far more upset about the news that Paul would go home than Paul did. Stefano, a fixture in the bottom three, seems to have the eliminated-contestant-support thing down to a science: the stunned look, the long hug, the whispered words of encouragement. I might have to start calling him Mr. End of the Road.
Or maybe Paul really deserves that title, seeing as he is (finally, finally) the first guy to be sent home since the top 13 took shape. Ryan Seacrest reminded us of this very fact before sending Haley Reinhart to safety.
(Also noted: Casey Abrams looked pretty darn happy to see Haley head back to the couches. Kelly Clarkson might want to give up that Casey crush.)
"We're bummed about this, man. You're the life of the party," Ryan said, perhaps trying to stir up a little of that Pia Toscano-departure-esque sadness. Or perhaps was he truly sorry to see Paul go. Who knows? But he continued, "You've had such an amazing impact on our show. You really have."
Ultimately, the nonchalance Paul displayed at having been voted off, while impressive, may have been the very thing that did him in: He never really seemed to muster a lot of heat out there, though "Maggie May," which Jennifer Lopez asked to hear one last time, was definitely an "Idol" highlight for him. It was nice to hear him sing it again and remind us why he lasted as long as he did.
"It's OK. It's OK," Paul reassured, adding that it had been "a good time." He sounded for all the world as if he were thanking his hosts at the end of a backyard barbecue.
So I guess, you know, thanks for coming, Paul. We had fun, too.
How about you? Are you sorry to see Paul go? And more important, do you think we'll ever get to see Casey play "Seth Rogan's younger, bass-playing brother," as Rob Reiner suggested? Why couldn't that happen?
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