For those of you in a hurry, the wild-card selections are Jasmine Murray, Megan Joy Corkrey, Matt Giraud... and Anoop Desai. Yes, the much-discussed (for the last afternoon, anyway) twist was that we're doing a top 13 this year. The screen capture above was Anoop's priceless reaction to finding out he had made it in after there were already 12 finalists.
Now, before I discuss the rest of the show, I want to first include this line from our favorite judge, in explaining the criteria they'd be using to make their picks:
"We've gotta cast this next stage. We're not just going to put the boring singers through. We're going to put some personality through as well." -SimonI'm glad someone on the show -- Simon, in particular, since he's the designated truth-speaker -- finally just came out and admitted what the show is about. You've said it, embrace it, good. I just don't want to hear the hypocritical whining from the judges about how this is a singing competition, when it never has been and never will be. It's a fun show, a show I get a kick out of watching and blogging about, but it ain't no voice contest.
What was funny was that he said it near the end of a night that was almost uniformly strong with its vocals. Other than Von Smith, who makes my ears bleed, there was no one who, based on their performances tonight, would have angered me had they made it through. If anything, a few people who got cut (notably Ricky Braddy and Jesse Langseth) were better than several of the people who advanced in previous rounds, and this was by far the best night of the semi-finals. Hell, even Tatiana was quite good (on a song I hate), though she had no chance because she was just there so the show could get its sadistic little rocks off by making her cry one last time. (She not only cried, but knelt and wept against the judges table.)
Once I guessed that it was going to be a Top 13, I figured this would be the four. Megan was a lock going in, as they needed women and the judges all have the hots for her, and her Elaine Benes-style spastic dancing is still mesmerizing. Jasmine also seemed likely, for gender purposes but also because the judges liked her and she wasn't like any of the other finalists. Matt went back into his blues box with a rendition of "Who's Loving You?" that would have gotten him into the finals in Group Two (likely over Kris Allen) if he had done it then instead of that wretched Coldplay cover. And 'Noop-Dogg gave us a full version of the awesome "My Prerogative" cover we glimpsed during Hollywood week, and it was every bit as fun as I might have hoped.
(And to top that off, the show then gave him some major bonus pimpage by making him the subject of the Top 13 surprise. People are going to remember that reaction, and they're also going to believe, rightly or wrongly, that he only barely made it into the finals, and so I imagine his fans will e extra-motivate to vote for him next week.)
After three weeks of mostly snooze-worthiness, this episode made me happy -- except whenever Tatiana was around, and then I just felt disgusted with the whole franchise. I still don't know how wowed I am by this group of finalists as a whole, but at the very least I could see myself backing several of the wild card'ers.
What did everybody else think?