American Idol

American Idol Elimination Results

03/17/2011 at 09:35 PM EDT

American Idol Elimination Results
From left: Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson
Michael Becker/FOX
It's elimination night!

After performing songs from the year they were born the night before, Idol's top 12 contestants learned their fate Thursday. Who was safe? Who was in the bottom three? And who faced the judges, hoping for a save? Keep reading to find out who – if anyone! – is heading home...

Thursday's elimination began on a cute note: In honor of St. Patrick's Day, when Ryan Seacrest asked for the lights to be dimmed, they were green! Well, it seemed cute at the time.

And – to continue the theme – whose rainbow ended without a pot of gold?



Karen.

She had been pretty much at sea this week singing "Love Will Lead You Back," probably because of nerves. I thought maybe her sunny, uncomplicated personality would save her with voters. Guess not. Hoping for a reversal from the judges, she delivered an encore of "Hero," a song she seems very comfortable with.

The judges chose not to save her – although Randy pointed out that the decision wasn't unanimous.

Also in the bottom three were Haley and Naima, who definitely had iffy performances this week.

Haley continues to be perplexing – a very good voice with a style that can be viewed either as versatile or, more likely, still unformed. The judges hadn't been crazy about her cover of Whitney Houston's "I'm Your Baby Tonight." Haley, who must be frustrated to land in the bottom three the past two weeks, said she wished she could find the right style – "rock and funk and blues all into one. I feel like I got it inside of me."

As for Naima, she'd been faulted for pitchiness after her performance of "What's Love Got to Do With It." "I'm beginning to have a passionate hate for the word 'pitchy,' " she told Ryan, "and by the time this is done I will love the word 'pitch,' and we will be in perfect harmony."

Thia, to my quiet fluttering joy, was declared safe late in the hour, despite her somewhat tepid performance of "Colors of the Wind." "I'm not just a ballad singer," she assured the judges, winning applause from the audience. Her danger, it seems, is the opposite of Haley's – she's too well formed.

Steven got a laugh when Ryan asked him to explain the word "goop," which he used on Wednesday night's show to praise Casey. "Really, Ryan?" was his response to this tedious time-killer of a question. It continues to amaze me how nicely Steven is handling the job. Anyway, "goop" stands for creative juice.

The Black Eyed Peas performed, and current Idol champ Lee DeWyze introduced his new single, "Beautiful Like You." The hour started with a mash-up of "Born to Be Wild" and Lady Gaga's "Born This Way." In a saner world this would have been meant as ironic.

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