Poor Michael Lynche.
He must have known immediately that he was going home when Casey James was declared safe moments into Wednesday night's result show.
But he still had to stand up on stage for the next hour and put on a brave face for his family and friends, who were also on display on stage during the entire episode.
And sure enough, when it came down to Lynche and one of this season's front runners, Crystal Bowersox, the only thing left was for Seacrest to make it official. Then the water works started. Lynche's wife started bawling, his infant daughter - who was born during Hollywood Week - started bawling, and "Big Mike" started belting out the theme song to "Free Willy" yet again, which had me bawling. I mean that boy (*sniffle*) really loved that orca. (*sniffle, sniffle*)
As for Lynche's elimination, the American Idol voters made the right choice. Casey James was more consistent than Lynche all season, even though when James struggled, like with Frank Sinatra's "Blue Skies," it was downright awful. And I think that it's only a matter of time before we see Lynche acting in a Broadway play. He has a background in drama and I don't think he is as studio-ready as many of the other contestants - even Didi Benami, Lacey Brown, and Lilly Scott - who were eliminated weeks ago, but I think could very easily put out solid studio albums if they find their niche.
But next week, it's down to the final three and we'll get the annual glimpse into each of the contestants' hometowns. This is when thousands of people who could have cared less about each of them a few months ago show up to "Welcome Home" celebrations to pretend like they are best friends with them or, at the very least, for a chance to get on television.
And beware Casey, Crystal and Lee... the moochers are already starting to line up. Your best friend from third grade wants you to hear his band's demo. Your fourth cousin Larry wants to be your manager because he "did real good at that there math part" of his GED test. And guys, remember that girl who would never give you the time of day before? Well apparently you're the father of her baby. Surprise! OK, well Casey probably never had a problem getting the time day from a pretty lady, but you get the point.
As for the competition next week, it will be up to Casey James to pull the two best performances of the season out of his hat to keep it from being a DeWyze/Bowersox final. That, and Crystal's entire fan base is going to have to call in sick or get stuck in a cell phone dead zone for a few hours. It is a tough task, but James already has one of the two best performances of the season with John Lennon's "Jealous Guy," and if he can somehow manage two more like that, it could be a recipe for an upset.