"American Idol" has a knack for dragging out the drama on results/elimination night. Our gut feeling was that Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox would be safe, and we were pretty confident that "Big Mike" Lynche was going home, which turned out to be the case.

When Ryan Seacrest said the words “dim the lights, here are the results in no particular order,” we knew TPTB (the powers that be) were going to mess with our heads. This notion was confirmed with the announcement early in the show that Casey James was safe.

Casey’s song choice of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson” was wise, appealing to the ongoing scenario initiated by Kara DioGuardi’s lust for the contestant during tryouts in Denver when she convinced him to let down his hair and take off his shirt. We thought his performance was laid back, but much too safe for such an important night. We agreed with Simon Cowell’s assessment that there was “not enough substance for such an important night.”

Hey, I loved Casey’s hair …. I wish mine would hold a curl like that …but I digress …
Casey’s ascension to the coveted final three can be attributed to his loyal following, bolstered by the VFTW.com votes that were sent his way. While his performances, except for last week’s, were good, they weren’t great. He started at square one, and he’s still there, marking time. As a performer, he hasn’t shown any growth, just status quo.

We do, however, enjoy Casey’s performances. He is a talented musician who is rather easy on the eyes. We don’t think he will advance any further in the competition. As we’ve been saying for weeks – it’s going to be a Lee DeWyze vs. Crystal Bowersox finale.

TPTB once again added some tense moments when Ryan Seacrest told Lee DeWyze that he was headed to Chicago. My interpretation was that Lee was safe and headed to Chicago for the homecoming hoopla, which was correct. On the other hand, my husband, sister and several friends thought, for a fleeting moment, that he was going home, as in booted off the show.

With only Crystal Bowersox and "Big Mike" Lynche left to learn their fate, it was a no-brainer that "Big Mike" had come to the end of his journey. We weren’t too disappointed when this was confirmed. The tweens, however, saw things differently.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Deanna T. was sad to say goodbye to "Big Mike," but found solace in the fact that he would be going home to his wife and beautiful daughter. Now that Aaron Kelly was booted off last week, Nicky T. has joined the Crystal Bowersox bandwagon. "Big Mike" fan Jason P. knew that his favorite wasn’t going to win, but wanted him to outlast Casey. All the kids, including my 3-year-old granddaughter Alex, agree with the adults that we’re headed to a Lee vs. Crystal showdown.

So, the trio will return to their respective hometowns for an elaborate homecoming that will include parades, concerts, radio interviews and public appearances. Next week, each of the finalists will sing two songs – a tune of their choice and a judge’s pick, which, in the past, has been revealed during the hometown extravaganza.

PHOTOS: "American Idol" final round | Idol Cares celebs and performers | "Idol" top 12 party with "Glee" stars

REWIND: See the winners and top finalists from each season of "American Idol"

MORE: Read all of our other "American Idol" posts

TALK: Click on "Add a comment" at the bottom of this post, or e-mail me and I'll post it for you.

Fox Photo