Thursday, March 05, 2009

American Idol: Wild-card results

Spoilers for the "American Idol" wildcard results coming up just as soon as I change the rules...

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." -Simon
I'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?

29 comments:

Mark said...

What bothered me about tonight is that the outcome seemed very pre-determined. There was only a 3 minute commercial break before the results were announced, so there's no way the judge could have deliberated, gotten the results to Ryan & the producers, and determined how the results would be revealed.

Megan gave a less than steller vocal, and the judges went out of their way to say nice things. It seemed pretty clear they were going to put her through.

I always defend the show when people say it's fixed, but I'm convinced tonight's outcome was clearly pre-determined before anyone took the stage.

JD said...

I thought Paula said the most clear headed statement ever when she told Tatiana she'd make a great actress one day. The fact that the judges could even parody her ludicrous antics means she wasn't doing a good acting job anymore. Was it me, or did she sound like Celine Dion in her interview package instead of Latina?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Oh, it was absolutely pre-determined. I predicted as much last night, and Simon basically copped to it in the line I quoted. The only way it wouldn't have been those four was if one of them had been absolutely awful and/or one of the other four had been so amazing that it would have seemed really fishy to leave them out. Much as I like Jesse and Ricky, they didn't fit the latter category, and all four who made it were good.

Adam said...

Alan, I'll agree with you except that I don't know that the fourth slot was predetermined -- I think Anoop, Jasmine and Megan were safe, but Jesse had as fair a shot at #13 as did Matt.

Sonia said...

That was just great fun with the top 13...who cares if it was planned or spontaneous -- it was awesome! Go Anoop!!!

I thought everyone sang really well tonight -- so much so, that either of them could have been placed in the top 12 more traditionally.

The one bummer was Jesse -- she was fantastic and could have easily replaced Jasmine. But I'm not upset about Jasmine being in the finals.

Anonymous said...

American Idol ain't exactly re-inventing the wheel here. Project Runway's been doing this "surprise" game in their finals every year since their second season. Big shocker. Not.

Michael said...

If they hadn't spent so much time on frickin' Tatiana, maybe they would have been able to get the whole show in the hour that my DVR recorded. It cut off as they were coming back for the 12th spot, so I had to go online to see who got that (and was surprised to see there was a 13th as well).

I agree with Simon. It's not a pure singing competition, it's an entertainment competition. They're never shy about casting the people with personality, which they have said season after season.

Word verification: pernisms, which are Anne McAffrey's favorite sayings.

Anonymous said...

My DVR shut off at 10 ... I think Tatiana took too much time off the clock. Thanks for blogging so I know who the 12th (and 13th) winners were.

Debbie said...

My DVR stopped recording at 10:03 and I still missed the ending..so here I am, would've liked to actually see it though since nothing else as fun has happened yet this season....

Theresa said...

I tuned in just in time to hear Tatiana's new-found accent, which screamed to me, "See? I can be even crazier! Please keep me!"

I'm sad that I missed Matt's performance since I was really impressed with him during Hollywood week, but I'm glad he AND Anoop are sticking around.

Jake said...

Count me in with the other DVR suckers who missed the highlight of the night. Although, truth be told, as soon as Anoop wasn't the "last" contestant I would have figured out the "twist". But I would have liked to see his reaction, anyway.

dvlman said...

Hey, hey! Mad props to myself for recording Hell's Kitchen!

I actually like the stylized way Megan sings, but I thought her rendition on that stupid Cherry Tree song was especially hideous.

She could have sung the Birthday Song and forgot the words and she would have advanced.

they should have just put her through without singing and ended the show at 10.

Anonymous said...

Same thing with my dvr...ending at the climax of the show! With 1 spot left! Arrghh! Blame it on drama queen tatiana who took her sweet time getting more media exposure! I had to go online for the results for the last contestant or so we thought.they were all g8 except for von smith whose confidence got sidetracked when he did not get picked for the top 12 ( together with lil round and co) inspite of his g8 performane last tue.

Rob Rogers said...

Meh. I am very relieved that Anoop made it through, but found the rest of the episode frustrating. If it was all predetermined, then fine, but the judges just really to be bending over so far to sell their premade decisions that it came off very fake. Megan is pretty, but her singing was bland, her articulation was awful, and she has no clue how to move while singing. Jesse Langseth was much better tonight, but the judges' minds were already made up. And Ricky Braddy was also better and more entertaining than either Megan or Jasmine, but again, decision made. I like Jasmine, but hated her song and found it very dull.

@Michael, the Anne McCaffrey joke made me laugh.

Hyde said...

I have to wonder if the judges essentially admitting the artifice of tonight's competition is going to hurt the show in the long run. As can be seen from the audiences for things like The Hills and The Bachelor, there are fans of reality TV who don't mind some scripting and even expect it.

But when Megan is given extreme praise for a performance that had as little range as any I can remember on the show, people are going to notice that something is amiss. And as irritating as Tatiana is, she clearly outperformed Jasmine tonight as well as their first time around. Frankly, one can make a case that Ricky bested Anoop both times also.

There's not always a correlation between how well someone sings and whether they advance on AI, but at least before now it was always in the hands of the voters, so there was no one to blame but the American people collectively. But now, the judges have seen fit to impose some real mediocrities upon us, singers rejected by the voters once already. I think there's going to be a backlash.

Mike F said...

for awhile now, the judges and the show itself have indicated that the judges form their opinions during the dress rehearsals each week hours prior to the show...this gives them time to prepare what to say and allows them to apparently spend the time during the actual performances tickling each other and whatnot...last year, Paula ootably slipped up giving Jason Castro a critique on his 2nd song of the night before he even sung it

practically, I understand why they do it...but I think the show would be better and have more integrity if the judges were only able to see the live performances...their reactions would be fresher and more accurate in judging the actual performances that we all see

Granola Mom said...

My DVR shut off early, too. My 10 year old daughter who was rooting hard for Anoop Dog (and has already named a stuffed animal for him) will be glad to find out that he's going through.

Mary Ann said...

I really hated the format. It's absolutely pointless to have the judges choose both the wild card contestants AND the people who advance. It made the outcome really predictable.

lungfish said...

Is there anywhere I can see the clip of Anoop's reaction? I buffered the recording by a few minutes and still got the end cut off.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I don't know how long before Fox issues the cease-and-desist order, but for now, you can see Anoop's reaction here.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Alan - glad I got a chance to see both Matt and Anoop's reactions....soooooo glad Tatiana is gone.
Hope to never see her again - anywhere.

Joe said...

Anoop was going to get in. Call it the Slumdog Factor.

He is a good singer, has some stage presence. And he will be packaged and marketed like crazy by Simon to the large world music audience.

Anoop will be conveniently voted out of the competition where the contractual obligations to the show won't interfere with someone's profits.

Since they are not running an election or sweepstakes, I will always suspect the fan voting and actual results don't always jive.

Linda said...

"He is a good singer, has some stage presence. And he will be packaged and marketed like crazy by Simon to the large world music audience."

Anoop is an R&B singer who sang in an a cappella group at UNC-Chapel Hill. I can't understand how he would be sold as "world music."

Davy said...

Hyde wrote:

There's not always a correlation between how well someone sings and whether they advance on AI, but at least before now it was always in the hands of the voters,

Not exactly true. In the Season 2 and Season 3 wildcard rounds, four contestants made it through from Wildcard night to the finals: three chosen by judges, and one chosen by America. So the only real difference this time is the judges chose all four, instead of three out of four. True, they've not done it this way since then, but considering Kimberly Locke (Randy's choice, season 2) and Jennifer Hudson (Randy's choice, season 3) both came from the judge's choices, I don't have a problem here.

Karen said...

Randy chose Kimberly Caldwell, not Kimberley Locke, as his wild card choice for season two

Alan Sepinwall said...

Yeah, the judges made some good wildcard picks in the past (Jennifer Hudson, George Huff, Trenyce), but they also prolonged the runs of people like Kim Caldwell, Carmen Rasmussen and (briefly) Leah LaBelle.

Lily White said...

Anoop was going to get in. Call it the Slumdog Factor.

He is a good singer, has some stage presence. And he will be packaged and marketed like crazy by Simon to the large world music audience.

Anoop will be conveniently voted out of the competition where the contractual obligations to the show won't interfere with someone's profits.

+++++++++++++++++++++
LOL! and I thought I was cynical. and her's my bit of cynicism from last night. Ryan was noticeably taking the mickey out of Tatiana, both before the ad break preceding her performance and after she sang. It occurred to me that, for them to do that, maybe she is not as unstable as she appears. She wouldn't have been a 'talking point contestant' planted by the producers, would she? They wouldn't, ..... would they.......?

coffee said...

poor Tatiana, but it was inevitable that she would be cut anyway; I just hope there aren't any more "wildcards"

Anonymous said...

Yes, definately no more wildcards. america should vote for all of the contestants, not just some! I too am a DVR user as I work nights, so big thanks to the person who posted the youtube link! I agree about Tatiana.... my husband and I call her the singing hyena!