L-L-L-L-Let’s get ready for Idol!

In yet another non-shocker of an elimination on Wednesday night, permanently perky Idol finalist Syesha Mercado was sent packing, leaving only the show’s two heavyweights — David Cook and David Archuleta — to slug it out in next week’s finale.

Speaking of heavyweights, famed boxing announcer Michael Buffer was the first of several celebrities to be seated at last night’s live elimination episode.

Pop sensation The Cheetah Girls were sitting in the front row, and all of the eliminated Idol finalists were seated together, cheering on the remaining three competitors. In the audience but not with the finalists was Luke Menard, who was eliminated in the semifinals.

Of the finalists in the audience, Michael Johns got the biggest reaction from the crowd as he walked in. The gaggle of girls in the mosh-pit area by the stage went bonkers, screaming, “We love you Michael Johns!” Brooke White followed and also got a big cheer.

Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, who appreciated his time during Broadway week so much that he returned to enjoy the music of the night once again.

The Idols sing Ain’t No Stopping Us Now causing Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson to stand up and dance together, with Randy twirling Paula around. During the commercial break, the backup singers and band continued the song and Randy danced alongside producer Nigel Lythgoe.

All three hometown trips brought the Idols to tears and the studio audience was captivated, many choked up as well, by the videos. After a long road to the finals, even those just watching could appreciate what the Idols went through and how far they have come.

Flawless during all of the live productions, Ryan Seacrest and the judges filmed a congratulatory bit for a colleague’s birthday and 500th episode during a commercial break and had to take three takes. They broke down in laughter during the first take, flubbed the second and finished the bit just before it was time to return to live TV.

After the show, they filmed the coin toss to decide who sings first in the final episode. David Archuleta won the toss, his held up two fingers and opted to sing second. They had to film a close-up of Ryan revealing the coin, but it took the help of the crowd to remind Ryan which hand he was holding it in for the first take. “Ryan’s really not good at this coin toss thing,” the stage manager told the audience prior to the initial toss. “We’ve lost a few coins.”

By Jon Warech

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