To begin, Simon Cowell addressed the Virginia Tech eye roll controversy from the performance show. Cowell said "I wouldn't normally comment on a press story, Ryan, on this show about me or American Idol. But last night on the show, Chris and myself got into quite a heated debate about singing through your nose and after I finished talking I was talking to Paula, and unfortunately I didn't hear Chris mention the people of Virginia." Cowell continued "There was on camera, I gave a look, but in fact I was giving a look to Paula, and the implication was I was disrespecting the victims. And I just want to absolutely set the record straight, I didn't hear what Chris was saying. I may not be the nicest person in the world, but I would never, ever, ever disrespect those families or those victims, and I felt it was important to set the record straight." Ryan Seacrest then played a clip of Simon Cowell talking to Paula Abdul that backed up his explanation.
After a recap of the performance show, the remaining seven American Idol finalists sang "I'm Alright." Fergie made a guest appearance and sang "Big Girls Don't Cry." In a teaser for Idol Give Back, Seacrest said two of the biggest stars in music history would come together for a duet.
All seven American Idol finalists stood on stage, while Ryan Seacrest divided them into two different groups. One group was Sanjaya Malakar, Lakisha Jones, and Blake Lewis, and the other group was Chris Richardson, Jordin Sparks, and Phil Stacey. Ryan Seacrest told Melinda Doolittle that she was safe, and then asked her to go join the group that she thought was safe. Instead of joining a group, Melinda Doolittle sat down in center stage.
After laughing, Seacrest told Melinda to slide to her left and join the group of Chris Richardson, Jordin Sparks, and Blake Lewis as they were safe this week. The bottom three were Sanjaya Malakar, Lakisha Jones, and Blake Lewis. Before getting to the results, a segment was shown where the American Idol finalists went to see a sneak preview of Shrek 3. Guest star Martian McBride also sang "Anyway" from her new CD "Waking Up Laughing."
As the bottom three stood on stage, Ryan Seacrest told Blake Lewis that he was safe and to take a seat. The bottom two were Sanjaya Malakar and Lakisha Jones. Seacrest announced that after over 38 million votes, Sanjaya Malakar was going home.