American Idol Episode Recap: The Top 20 Revealed

After one of the worst first semifinal rounds in American Idol's history, the show said goodbye to four contestants on the season's first results show. Plus: Season 8 alums Allison Iraheta and Kris Allen returned to perform.

So, who won America's favor? Who was unjustly spared? Let's find out.

It's no secret that I dread results programs - probably as much as the contestants do. The hour is always overstuffed, with a hokey (and usually lip-synched) group number and plenty of Ryan Seacrest's stalling.

Group Number: "American Boy"

It never fails to amaze me how awkward the group performances are. This one got off to particularly terrible start as Ryan failed to get his noggin out of the opening shot. The rest was well sung (in the recording studio, of course), but I laughed when Tim Urban sang a couple bars with his microphone at his hip before realizing that he was supposed to pretend he was using it.

Allison Iraheta, "Scars"

I dig the song, but I always enjoyed Allison the rocker, and the music was way more restrained in this performance than I expected. She sounded great, and she certainly hasn't lost any of her quirkiness, as evidenced by her making funny noises and saying she was worried backstage about being eliminated.

Kris Allen, "Let It Be"

I was always a fan of Kris Allen and was beyond pleased when he pulled off the upset last season. His emotional rendition of the Beatles hit played before a screen of Allen's recent trip to Haiti. Fittingly, the performance kicked off this season's Idol Gives Back initiative (with proceeds going toward earthquake relief). Well done, on both accounts.

So, let's get to what we're really here for: the results.

There are only a few people whose exit would have totally shocked me, and thankfully, they were spared. I do, however, have to chide America for saving the ridonkulously bad Haely Vaughn, Lacey Brown, Jermaine Sellers and Tim Urban. Looks like the younger demo got out and rocked the vote, but you could tell on the faces of Haely and Tim especially that they were shocked to get another shot.

The eliminated singers:

Ashley Rodriguez: I had her as third worst, so the fact that she walked wasn't a shock. Ashley, however, was quite bitter, even though when she was standing beside Didi Benami, she knew she was a goner. I sympathize with her feelings of anger, but that kind of attitude just made the choice to send her home all the more justified.

Janell Wheeler: Her Heart song Tuesday was certainly not a showstopper, but Janell was the real surprise in the eliminations for me. Unlike Ashley, she was gracious and suggested that her problems in Hollywood Week probably didn't help her cause with viewers. She also lamented that she wasn't able to show her strength on the guitar in this round. I wonder: Why didn't she this week? Either way, I'm sad to see her go.

Joe Munoz: I have more of a problem with the guy's eliminations. Joe didn't ooze star quality Wednesday, but his vocals were much more solid than some of those still sitting on Idol's couch. I think he suffered from too little screen time and from Ellen mounting her "adorable" campaign for Tim Urban, who nearly passed out when he was spared instead of Joe.

Tyler Grady: I was really angling for Jermaine Sellers and his bad attitude to walk, but I can't say I will miss Tyler. I didn't at all buy his rock-star swagger, and apparently neither did the viewers. Did he deserve to go in Week 1? Probably not, but I never saw him as a viable top 12 candidate.

So, are you pleased with the results? Who's elimination/salvation shocked you? What improvements do you hope your favorites make next week? Share all your thoughts below and check back next week for more!

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