No need to spoiler-protect "American Idol" results, is there? Half the known world already knows, and the rest isn't the least bit interested.
Chris' exit wasn't as huge a shocker as it would have been without DialIdol nailing the rankings again, but given how obviously the producers and the judges wanted this guy to win, it has me questioning all my conspiracy theories. Is there a chance there's just a lone gunman here?
Even without DialIdol, I would have suspected something was up when the ex Mrs. Stamos "spontaneously" asked if Taylor could reprise "Jailhouse Rock" (and there was somehow enough time in the show for it, and the guitar player was wearing the same shirt he'd worn for the previous night's performance, and...). No way do they give Taylor that kind of showcase if he's not their horse. Maybe all the pimping isn't so much about who they want to win, but who they think will win. It's sort of like how Simon "predicted" that Taylor, Chris and Pickler would go far, when it was just him taking a look at the vote totals and trying to make himself look smart. Maybe for a long time, TPTB just assumed that Taylor was a fad whose support would fade and that Chris' obvious talent and marketability would get him the victory, and they wanted to seem prescient with all the laser shows and fog machines and mariachi men and whatnot.
But then Chris' legendary refusal to compromise turned into a refusal to do anything interesting, to do anything even a milimeter different from that Fuel performance in the semis that made him the apparent frontrunner for so long. Aside from his straight rendition of "What a Wonderful World" that landed him in the bottom two (one of his better performances, actually), he's been beating the same dead horse for weeks and weeks, glaring into the camera like he has an axe hidden nearby and he knows how to use it. Like I said last night, would it have killed him to crack a freaking smile, just once? I know he has teeth -- we saw them in his Daniel Powter video -- and I think the monotonous intensity eventually bored the audience just as much as it bored me.
And yet, he's the second bootee in a row who I think is actually better off not going any further. Chris' true calling isn't singing the latest schmoopy iteration of "A Moment Like This" and "Flying Without Wings." It's not making focus-group ideas of what a rock album should sound like like poor Bo Bice. It's being the frontman of a band, something like, oh, I don't know, Fuel? Who happen to have a lead singer vacancy? And who happen to have said Chris has the job if he wants it? If Chris had won or even made it to second place, he would have been in the incompetent clutches of 19 Entertainment for the next seven years. But even though they hold the contractual hammer over him, I don't think they'll want to bother with the fourth-place finisher, early favorite or no. Once the summer tour is over, Chris will be free to pursue his own semi-unique blend of angry rock circa 1997-2001, and I'm sure he and his fans will be much happier this way.
Right now, all my pity is directed towards Katharine McPhee, who gets the Memorial Nikki McKibbin Villain Slot as the seemingly undeserving third-place finisher. She probably deserved to go home, but the judges have been tearing her to shreds beyond a reasonable point in the last few weeks ("Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" excepted), as if she's being held to a different standard because she lacks the necessary equipment down below to make Paula happy. She's not Nikki, or Jasmine Trias. She has talent, and some of her performances ("Black Horse," "Someone to Watch Over Me," "Come Rain or Come Shine") have been among the best, most memorable of these finals. She just needs to play to her strengths (intimate and/or fun songs, not power ballads she doesn't have the range or power to handle).
But now she's going to go home next week because she's the villain, and it'll be the all-underdog final, and Taylor is going to win and Clive Davis is going to tear his hair out, and...
... it's all very strange to me. I'm glad to see the back of Chris, both for his sake and my own, but this was one of those core-shaking kind of TV moments. If I can't believe that the "Idol" producers are blatantly rigging the contest to get the winner they want, then what can I believe?