(I'll dispense with the "Idol" results right now, since they're freshest. I've also now seen "Gilmore" and "Veronica," which I'll get to blogging about ASAP; "House," "South Park" and maybe "Alias" to come later today or tomorrow.)
The identity of last night's "American Idol" boot wasn't a big shock -- I had feared for Elliot, but Ace has been living on borrowed time ever since Lisa Tucker went home (time to think about "Yvan eht nioj") -- so the more interesting thing to talk about is the annual time-wasting game at final 7 where Seacrest sets up two groups of three, then tells the seventh person (George two years ago, Bo last year) to go stand with the group he thinks is safe. This year's stooge was Taylor (it's the part he was born to play, baby!), and he eventually sided, correctly with Kat/Elliot/Pickler over Ace/Paris/Chris.
Several things we can take out of this: 1)Paris has been in the bottom three far too much at this stage for someone with her talent. I just don't think she's connecting with the audience, and could even wind up going home before Elliot. 2)Chris, who seemed destined to sail to the win without ever having to sweat through one of these farces, will no doubt decide that Simon is full of crap when he talks about showing another side of himself and that, like Taylor, his best bet is to one-trick pony his way through the rest of the finals. and 3)Pickler could win.
This wouldn't be a huge upset. I half-jokingly predicted her as the winner before the finals began because she was such an obvious Carrie clone, and Simon has so consistently talked up her, Taylor and Chris as the final three that I have to assume they've been outpolling the field by a wide margin for a while now. She'd never been in the bottom three before, and she was so obviously the worst on Tuesday that I'm sure it sent her fanbase into a panicked power-voting frenzy to save her annoying ass. (Say it with me, folks: On "Idol," it's better to be awful than mediocre.)
But if Kellie seemed like a deserving front-runner going into the finals (based mostly on her strong Melissa Etheridge cover in the semis), with each passing week it's become more and more obvious that she's thriving on personality, not performance. And let me just say that I am shocked -- shocked! -- to see that there's gambling in this establishment... er, I mean, shocked -- shocked! -- to learn that people aren't voting on this show based purely on singing talent. It's never been that way before. Never, never! Not when Nikki outlasted Tamyra, or when Carmen outlasted half the season two finalists, or when Jasmine outlasted La Toya, or when Savol hung around and around and around....
... but I get an invincibility vibe off of Pickler that I've rarely seen in previous seasons' token controversy-starters. Nikki went much further than she should've, but she still finished third. Ditto Jasmine. For all that the show drives people nuts about the boot order, it's fair to say that each season's winner has been either the best or second person in the group. (Carrie bored me to death, but girl could sing.) If Kellie made final three or even two, but Taylor or Chris won, people would deal. But what the hell happens if she wins? I'm sure they can put together a passable country album for her with a little Studio Magic help, but the larger "Idol" audience -- the people who create those enormous ratings but don't power-vote or buy records -- are going to know she didn't deserve it. Simon and Nigel and Ken like to say that controversy is good for the show's ratings, and they're right, but it's one thing to be mad when someone finishes fifth when they should have finished second, and another when somebody wins who should have gone home in seventh place or lower.
Ahhh, what the hell do I know? Much like Pickler, "Idol" is invulnerable until proven otherwise.