'American Idol' host Ryan Seacrest was cruel to contestants, including Scotty McCreery, tonight. He brought McCreery, as well as fellow competitors Lauren Alaina and Casey Abrams, to the podium to give them their results.

He recapped their performances, spoke to them about what they did right and what they did wrong, along with playing videos of mentor Jimmy Iovine's critiques. He then sent them BACK to their seats without giving them their results. Ouch, Ryan! WTF!

Even though McCreery was in the bottom two along with Casey Abrams, he was ultimately voted safe, if only by a thread. Whew. That was close!

As for McCreery's performance? It can be summed up by a simple adage. You take a big risk, you reap an even bigger reward.

On last night's episode, McCreery, who is country music's pride and joy on Season 10, took a calculated risk by performing 'You've Got a Friend,' a tender-hearted ballad from prolific songwriter Carole King.

During his performance, McCreery demonstrated a refined elegance we've never, ever heard from him. To be frank, we didn't know (or even think) he had it in him. It was a surprise and a song well-done. Iovine praised McCreery's work, labeling him a "phenom" and pointed out that the singer has character, strength and confidence. He also astutely observed that McCreery projected a subtlety that is magnificent while reminded viewers that "in this particular environment, subtlety can get lost!" It almost did, since McCreery landed in the bottom for the first time since the competition started.

McCreery acknowledged that viewers are often "looking for glory notes" but that "sometimes it's good to slow it done and have an intimate moment with the audience."

Additionally, in the interview portion, the contestants sat together and fielded questions posed by fans and viewers. McCreery was asked what his pre-'Idol' job was and he revealed that he worked in a grocery store and even recited the inventory code for a Granny Smith apple to prove his point. He also had a gig toiling at his mom's tanning salon, too.

McCreery won't have to go back to the supermarket or ma's business for the time being! He's safe and has made it to the final 5.