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2 YEARS

'American Idol' Recap: Ugh, Lazaro Arbos Is the New Sanjaya

In other pressing developments: Another sing-testant bites the dust, bringing Mariah Carey to tears.

American Idol season 12 rock results judges L
Michael Becker / Fox

It's official: Lazaro "I Forgot the Lyrics" Arbos is the new Sanjaya Malakar. Not only is the Florida ice cream scooper of questionable talent, but his mere presence in this self-serious competition seems like a cruel joke.

That being said, Lazaro -- who, as if by some miracle of the Idol gods, wound up in the top three Thursday along with the deserving Kree Harrison and Angie Miller -- certainly has fans in his corner, despite not knowing the words to any of his songs. Come on, Lazaro, you have a whole week to learn the music. Stage fright? Not an excuse. Get over it.

Also: WHO IS VOTING FOR HIM? Speak up or forever hold your peace! I'd love to get my hands on a  demographic breakdown of Idol voters but I would wager that these blocs are rooting for Lazaro: people with heinous taste in sing-testants; people from the Sunshine State; moms and grandmas who want to pinch his cheeks (and then some); ice cream scoopers. And don't rule out the mobilizing power of Vote For The Worst.

(Conspiracy theory time: Did Nigel Lythgoe plant Lazaro in hopes that he would create a Sanjaya-like spectacle and thus drive up ratings? If so, it's not working: season 12's numbers are disappearing faster than Lee DeWyze's career. Some people blame "boring contestants." When the going gets tough, send in the clowns: remember season six, Jordin Sparks' year? What a snoozer. Fortunately, Sanjaya was there to make us laugh for about five minutes, overstaying his welcome thanks to a big push from VFTW.)

STORY: 'American Idol' Burning Questions: Why Can't Lazaro Remember the Lyrics?

But back to Lazaro. The latest victim of his improbable run on Idol? Burnell Taylor, the second-to-last man standing, voted out by an America immune to his endearingly sweet nature and proven singing ability. Using his last life line, Burnell brought Mariah Carey to tears with a soulful reprise of "Ready For Love" -- however, the judges decided not to use the save. 

Elsewhere on stage: Burnell's close friend and fellow finalist Candice Glover ruined her eye make-up from crying. During his last-ditch performance, Burnell serenaded both Candice and Amber Holcomb, for whom he harbors an adorable crush. (Copy that for Jimmy "Creepy Uncle" Iovine, who commented, all-creepy-like: "It seems like her legs are getting longer.")

Joining Burnell in the bottom two: Janelle Arthur, aka Nicki Minaj's "Little Marshmallow," who won over the panel on Wednesday with a country-fied take on Billy Joel's "You May Be Right." However, Janelle has the bad luck to be stuck in the same category as fellow Nashville upstart Kree, this season's one to beat.

In a new twist, the panelists were asked to submit their picks for the top three: while Nicki, Keith Urban and Randy Jackson agreed on Angie, Amber and Kree, Mariah opted for Candice instead of Angie. (Let's face it: Candice, like Jennifer Hudson before her, is just too damn good for the show. If she gets the boot, probably because Lazaro stuck around for another week, then she'll be singing circles around her castmates in no time.)

Thursday's episode featured super-foxy piece of eye candy Casey James, another Idol alum who made good, crooning "The Good Life," and Carrie Underwood sang something but I forget since I am still swooning over Casey.

MOVING ON: Did America get it wrong -- or right -- by voting off Burnell? Am I being unfairly harsh on Lazaro? And in your opinion, which of the girls stands the best chance of becoming the first female to win Idol since dinosaurs roamed the Earth? Sound off in the comments.

Twitter: @ErinLCarlson

Email: erin.carlson@thr.com