First they reveal the shocker that this year’s Top 12 is actually a Top 13. Now American Idol tells us two people will be voted off this week, and the rules of the competition are about to change.

But the show actually had much bigger surprises in store for us as they kicked off the finals of Season 8.

For starters, Paula Abdul was up to her usual loopy antics yet somehow managed to give some of the most astute critiques on Tuesday’s show.

VIDEO: Watch last night's episode of 'Idol Chatter' with Diane Macedo and her latest special guest.

When it came time to give advice to the contestants Simon actually had to steal Paula’s line telling contestants to be sure they don’t get consumed by the new big stage.

She couldn’t have been more right when she told Anoop Desai that the song “Beat It” is untouchable by anyone other than Michael Jackson “anything else sounds karaoke.”

And her line about Danny Gokee having the “true mark of an artist” because “even with your eyes closed you can hear him and know exactly who he is” was not only true but almost poetic.

And in a bit of irony, Paula even managed save someone else from saying something inappropriate as she counseled Allison Iraheta to “zip it” when she awkwardly responded to the suggestion that she lighten up by talking about how she isn’t “cutting herself” or anything.

A few of the critiques were surprising for different reasons however.

Take Michael Sarver for example. Anyone who gets the option to sing any Michael Jackson song out there and picks “You Are Not Alone” deserves to get voted off by default. The judges however seemed to have nothing to say about Michael’s horrid song choice, or the fact that he was trying way too hard on his vocals.

Alexis Grace, on the other hand, does an amazing job and gets ripped for over singing.

Then you have Adam Lambert who again tried to do too much in one song and at times seemed like he was yelling rather than singing, yet the judges all but drafted him a contract.

Still, the most welcome revelation of the night was the discovery that it’s actually a close competition, with at least five contestants –- Lil Rounds, Danny Gokee, Alison Iraheta, Adam Lambert and Alexis Grace —proving they could win this thing.