Michael Slezak
March 09, 2010 AT 12:00 PM EST

Eight women enter, six women leave! Not to go all Mad Max on you so soon after listening to the mellifluous sounds of American Idol‘s eight remaining female semifinalists, but in the immortal words of Bruce Hornsby, “that’s just the way it is.”

Yep, thanks to Ken Warwick & Co.’s obsesh with gender parity, we must spend the next 48 hours agonizing over the prospect of Tim Urban possibly stealing a place in the season 9 finals that ought to belong to Katelyn Epperly or Didi Benami or Lacey Brown. [WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD, west-coasters!] Before we dish the Six Most Likely to Succeed, though, can I just point out how freakin’ provincial Simon Cowell’s tastes can sometimes be? I mean, seriously, whenever a performance takes a dark and stormy turn — as Siobhan Magnus’ “House of the Rising Sun” did tonight — you can bet your Coca-Cola cup that Mr. Cranky won’t be able to handle it. As if music can’t (or shouldn’t) go deeper than Il Divo covering “Unbreak My Heart”!

Anyhow…deep breath, Slezak!…breaking it all the way down, we all know that Crystal Bowersox, Siobhan Magnus, and Lilly Scott locked up their Top 12 slots last Wednesday night — and none of ’em did anything this evening to put their dates with destiny in jeopardy (even if Lilly experienced some pitch problems that went suspiciously unnoticed by the panel). I was prepared for Katelyn Epperly, who’d been at or near the top of the ladies’ pack after her formidable one-two punch of “Oh Darlin'” and “The Scientist,” to also sail through to the top 12, but tonight’s major misfire — and the judges’ failure to acknowledge her prior accomplishments — puts her at risk.

So after you reserve a silver stool of doom for Katie Stevens — because I fear her moist-eyed innocent act is going to take the already lukewarm hearts of sentimental voters and microwave them into goo — that leaves Katelyn, vastly improved Didi, Lacey, and Paige “ice-cube’s chance in the oven” Miles scrapping it out for positions No. 5 and 6. How can Idol math be so simple, and yet so painful?

Should go home: Katie and Paige.

Will go home: Paige and Lacey or Katelyn.

Anyhow, while I forge ahead with my full TV Watch recap (look for it early tomorrow morning on EW.com!), why don’t y’all head on down to the comments and post your own strongly worded theories about which half-dozen ladies are destined for the season 9 finals. When you’re done, press play below to view our latest episode of Idolatry (with special guest commentary from God!), then sign up to follow me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak! (I promise nothing but up-to-the-minute Idol news, and occasional retweets of Jody Watley wisdom!)

Tonight’s set list:

Katie Stevens: Kelly Clarkson’s “Breakaway”

Siobhan Magnus: The Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun”

Lacey Brown: Brandi Carlile’s “The Story”

Katelyn Epperly: Carole King’s “I Feel the Earth Move”

Didi Benami: Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon”

Paige Miles: Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile”

Crystal Bowersox: Tracy Chapman’s “Give Me One Reason”

Lilly Scott: Patsy Cline’s “I Fall to Pieces”

Related: The (Sometimes) Surprising Story of 20 Shows Fox Tried to Launch After Idol

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