Melinda's gracious exit, Blake's Maroon 5 envy, a finale coin toss and more

By Jed Dreben
Updated May 17, 2007 10:00 AM

Melinda Doo-So-Much

After the most shocking moment of season six, when Melinda Doolittle, by far the best singer this year, got her walking papers, half the audience gasped in disbelief while others cheered that their favorite, Blake Lewis made it through. But Doolittle kept her cool throughout, gave another great performance and, without thinking of herself, managed to thank the most important people other than the Idols onstage – Ricky Minor and the band. Rather than keep the beautiful bouquets given to her by finalists Jordin Sparks and Blake Lewis, she walked over and handed them to the backup singers. Then it was hugs goodbye and a congratulatory embrace for Melinda as well as Jordin and Blake. Simon Cowell, Nigel Lythgoe, Ryan Seacrest, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson came up to congratulate them all for getting so far, give advice, and say goodbye to Melinda, an Idol that nobody has seen the last of.

They Just Knew It

The power of Blake is strong within the Idol doors. Before Lewis even took the stage Wednesday night, fans with signs and “I [heart] Blake” t-shirts were letting his mom and dad know just how much they adore their son, screaming, “We love Blake! We love Blake!” until the two turned around and retuned hearty thumbs up to the elated fans. Even returning Idol Brandon Rogers, who was in the house signing autographs before the show, made sure to come over and give Blake’s dad a warm hug hello before things got going. It seems Blake fans knew it all along, as they were always the ones who screamed the loudest and the hardest each show, helping him do the impossible and beat out powerhouse Melinda Doolittle to take a spot in the final two. The fans just knew …

Mario’s House

Last season’s Dancing with the Stars winner Mario Lopez was instantly spotted by warm-up guy as well as fans while chilling in the front row of Wednesday’s audience and was given a Lewis-like welcome when they did so. When Corey the warm-up guy shouted, “Mario Lopez in the house” things lit up like he was the next American Idol. “I love you, Mario” was heard so much throughout the show, he might as well have been onstage with the other three Idols. Mario had no choice but to stand up and wave to the delighted crowd.

Big Love for Kiki

LaKisha Jones was larger than life as she made her way over into the front row of Nigel Lythgoe‘s section. Corey the warm-up guy quickly shouted, “LaKisha – what up, girl?” sending the fans into frenzy, cheering and even giving her a standing ovation as she made her way into the room. Other former Idols that made the scene: leggy Haley Scarnato and season two’s Josh Gracin.

Judges Have Left the Building

For the first time since the season started, it was Ryan Seacrest who made the first appearance of the night with only three minutes to air. Then it was Randy, of course, Simon, and then the Idols … where was Paula? With only 40 seconds to make it to her seat, Abdul casually cruised down the aisles and right into her chair without batting an eyelash. But the judges may have been there physically, not mentally. If this were a classroom, all three would have been given detention. During most of the going-home videos Simon and Paula chatted away like they were in a café somewhere. And then it was Randy and Paula chatting away, at times not even bothering to look up at the screen.

Elliot Yamin Fever

Each and every time Elliot Yamin‘s name came up the fans went absolutely wild. Maroon 5 also performed on the show, but maybe it was home-court advantage because fans were giving Yamin a standing ovation before he even began his set. But there was definite Maroon 5 lover in the house: Blake Lewis, who covered one of their songs the night before. The guy had definite “Levine-envy,” as he mouthed the words to their new tune as well as ogled the front-man before making his eager way over to the band members one-by-one to shake their hands and meet them after their set.

Evil Ryan

Why does Ryan Seacrest keep singling out young Jordin Sparks at each results show? Tonight he made her cry for a second time when he dimmed the lights and read the judges’ comments again tricking her into thinking she was out just before announcing that they’re they were going to break. Once cameras stopped rolling, Ryan went off to do his thing while poor Jordin was left to her tears and the couch. But it was mama bird Melinda Doolittle that came to the Idol’s rescue, quickly comforting her as she helped wipe the tears from her face and bringing Jordin to giggles and making it all better. But Ryan wasn’t done this night. Blake Lewis’s father took to the stage during an emotional video diary home, but when it was time to read Lewis’s judges’ results, Ryan told the happy father to go sit down. When Blake’s father didn’t catch it the first time, Ryan rudely snapped, “Seriously, sir, I need you to go take your seat!” Seacrest doesn’t mess around when it’s live! But that wasn’t the end of it. When Ryan was leading into the final video diary of the night, for Melinda Doolittle, he said, “Next, Melinda goes home.” Now, even though he meant everyone will watch a video diary of her homecoming, it sounded more like a slip of the tongue of things to come. Audience members quickly gasped and murmured in unison, prompting Seacrest to back peddle and explain. Still, looking back, maybe Seacrest did let slip with the results.

The Big Toss

After Wednesday night’s show, fans got to stick around to see Ryan Seacrest flip the coin to see who will kick off next week’s finale. The coin had a picture of Jordin on one side and Blake on the other. He tossed it up and Lewis it was – but, when asked whether he wanted to go first or second, Blake said, “Let’s let the producers decide.” Then, turning to Jordin, the great sport said: “Do you want to go first?” It didn’t take Sparks long to decide – so it will be Blake Lewis who will sing the first song in the final performance show live at the Kodak Theatre next week.

For more from last night, see AOL’s Idol coverage.