Wednesday, April 23, 2008

American Idol: Top 6 eliminations

"American Idol" elimination spoilers coming up just as soon as I watch the "Take On Me" video on YouTube...

What's my first rule of "American Idol," boys and girls? It's always better to be bad than to be boring. Tonight brings us a slight addendum to that rule: when the number of contestants gets small enough, it can be better to be bad than good, so long as the good people aren't the best.

We have to remove Young David Archuleta from any equations, because he defies all reason and logic. He simply is, and for his acolytes, that's enough. Now, of the other five, you had David Cook going in the pimp spot and killing with an unexpectedly traditional performances. Even if he hadn't been building momentum for weeks, he'd be safe under those circumstances, as he'd be drawing on not only his fanbase, but the casual voters.

Then we had Jason, who got dog-piled by the judges and Brooke, who looked like a candidate for heavy pharmaceuticals (legal or otherwise); both were lousy but had big fanbases from week's past who knew to mobilize at danger signs like that. Meanwhile, we had Carly and Syesha each delivering strong performances and getting their best praise in a while (for Syesha, her best praise ever), but who had never really connected with the audience and had made several trips apiece to the bottom three. Their fans, whomever they may be, may have eased off the throttle, especially given all the scorn heaped on our two singer-songwriter types, and that's how Jason and Brooke wound up on the couches of safety, Carly and Syesha wound up on the seal, and Carly wound up going home.

I never really warmed to Carly, either -- largely because of the naked desperation dripping from nearly all of her performances (except, ironically, "Jesus Christ Superstar" this week) -- but I'm going to miss what I'm sure would have been her inevitable performance of "Coming to America" for Neil Diamond Night. But considering how badly she seemed to want/need this second chance in the music biz, she seemed surprisingly, reassuringly at peace with her boot. Earlier in the year, I was worried that if she went home before at least top three, she might stick a shiv in Randy on her way out. (Not that this would necessarily be a bad thing.)

One other thing to keep in mind about Jason and Brooke's survival: Neil Diamond's songbook is going to be far better suited for them than any of the last several themes have been. Barring something weird, I figure Syesha goes next week, then we lose our two coffee house types in random order, setting up the pre-destined David v. David finale.

What did everybody else think?


Alan Sepinwall said...

Also, I have to wonder whether the "Jesus Christ Superstar" song choice backfired. If you don't know the musical and know that it's Pilate's song, it could have come across as Carly trash-talking Jesus.

Mo Ryan said...

Syesha has to be next. Or possibly Jason.

In David vs David, I actually think (and hope) Archuleta will win. I don't care particularly this year, but I think David's more suited to the kind of songs/image the Idol machine likes to crank out.

David Cook on the other hand, is really talented and one of the most interesting performers in some time. I think an Idol win would be an albatross around his neck -- does anyone really want to see him singing dreck like "A Moment Like This?"

Btw, excellent "L&O" column, Alan.

Nicole said...

It wouldn't surprise me that the "Jesus Christ Superstar" song would be viewed by some as sacriligeous, but she already had the Irish thing working against her, so there was no way she was going to last more than a few weeks anyway. {just a quibble, but I think that Judas sings this and not Pilate)

I figured that Jason's fan base would save him this week, but I am surprised that Brooke didn't hit the seal again.

Barring disaster, this is a David v. David final.

I thought it was interesting that they only spoke with Clay and Tamyra and not Diana... was she too busy?

Alan Sepinwall said...

{just a quibble, but I think that Judas sings this and not Pilate)

You're right; it's Judas. Point still stands.

Jessica said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Do the contestants get dedicated lines? I tried to call about 40 times and vote for David C last night and also for Carly and only got through once for each.

If they're all on the same circuits that's not fair because then the mass number of votes for David C would prevent Carly's fans from voting unless they were impossibly persistent.

I hate the voting system. If I call, I should get through, damnit.

Eric said...

"Judas! Traitor!"

"I don't belieeeve you. You're a liar."

Really unhappy with the results, but I guess you can't get too attached to any performance, especially if you don't vote. It really does come down to a popularity contest.

Adam said...

There are people who can win this (David and David), and people who can't (anyone else). It doesn't matter what order the latter group goes in, as long as it's all before the former.

Davy said...

I'm slightly bummed, but since I like most all of the top 6, the only one I'd have a problem with leaving this early is David Cook. In this game, everyone but the winner has to go at some point.

Another thing this year is that the top six all favor very different genres and are each good in their chosen areas, making this more a battle of "what style music does your fanbase like?" But the bottom two, Syesha and Carly, while having definite genre strengths, have both veered right and left when it came to musical stylings, whereas the safe four all have pretty much staked a claim on something (alt rock, lilith fair, coffeehouse, and christian contempory). There's something to be said of establishing your fan base and pleasing them week after week.

And interestingly, the only four to have played their own instruments this season -- all still there (let's not count Chikezie's harmonica). So watch out Syesha!

Anonymous said...

I was very surprised by the vote -- I wonder if Brooke got "feel sorry for her" votes from people who don't actually think she's that talented but don't want her to feel bad, either. Meanwhile, Jason probably gets caught up in the wave of preteen girls who love voting for cute boys.

But it really was time for Carly to go. For someone who looks like a rocker and sings like a rocker, she doesn't really rock very hard. (Fake-rock showtunes don't count.) She can have a career, but she'll need some really good songwriters behind her.

Undercover Black Man said...

I see what you're saying, BigTed, about Carly not really rocking very hard. BUT... she blew that song out tonight even better than last night.

Too bad to see her go out on a strong performance.

And, uhhh... Neil Diamond? Are they trying to kill this franchise?

I dig "Cracklin' Rosie" as much as the next 46-year-old music nerd, but has he been discovered by a new generation?

I guess it's no worse than Neil Sedaka night... and that gave me Kimberley Locke's "Where the Boys Are," so who knows?

The CineManiac said...

I guess this is what happens when I don't vote!
I was really convinced in the beginning it was going to be an Aussie/Irish finale. Then Archuleta came out and became a star, but still thought they'd make it to the final 4.

Bobman said...

Do the contestants get dedicated lines? I tried to call about 40 times and vote for David C last night and also for Carly and only got through once for each

The conventional wisdom is yes - this is how DialIdol works I believe, by calling each number, and guessing the safety of each contestant by how "busy" their line is.

Anonymous said...

I was disappointed. I had just come to the conclusion yesterday afternoon that I wanted to see a Carly and David C finale, as unlikely as that would be given the David A mania. I don't get that at all.
But more than anything I just wanted to see Brooke go home. She looks like she's in pain up there, and she's causing me pain!

Joe said...

Maybe, just maybe, looking death in the eyes and surviving will help Brooke relax.

At this point, I think it's set blocks of fans voting whether their person was good or bad. Probably voting more aggressively if a bad performance (Brooke) believing their person is at risk.

Logic would have put Dreadlocks and Goldilocks on the stools of shame last night.

A funny thing re: Broadway. They used a clip of Simon mocking someone's past performance as "Broadway" before cutting to the past-Idols on Broadway package. Funny.

Anonymous said...

I agree that song choice may have been a strong determining factor for Carly's departure. I was young when Superstar was released and loved the music. Now many years later with Christian faith a large part of my makeup, my TiVo fast forwarded through Carly's performance. I have enjoyed and looked forward to Carly's performances, but after the chorus of Superstar kicked in, I couldn't take it.

I wonder how many "middle Americans" had a similar response to this boy from Ohio. Having been a former listener of the brown album, I understand the context of the song. But I was still offended by it. My feeling is that if that Irish beauty had stayed with her original song choice, I would be looking forward to her performance next week.

mackenzi said...

There's been quite a few comments about Carly's choice of song is what brought about her trip home. I just don't want to believe that people are so willingly deaf to the song's meaning that they voted en masse for someone else.

Judas sings the song, after all. Has his status changed since last I checked? Is Judas a really popular figure in Christianity, and people are upset that he's being portrayed so negatively?

It's not like she performed the Kids in the Hall's Dr. Seuss Bible. That might have warranted some backlash (it's not their best work).

That being ranted, can't say as I'll miss her. She bored me.

K J Gillenwater said...

Carly was never going to win. She's never been a particular favorite of the overall voting audience as she has been in the bottom 3 before...Plus, I agree with Alan's consistent comment about the WAY she sang. Always like she was wringing every little bit of energy out of her soul. Painful look on her face. And, sadly, I also don't think Tattoo Face husband helped either. He was just scary!

These last weeks are always strange. It's when those who are pretty good but won't win get put out to pasture before some of the truly awful. Need we go back to Tamyra Gray?

There's always a contestant or two who defies the odds, sings poorly, and still remains. But those singers never make it to the end. They always get the boot when the field gets narrowed to the final three.

It will be David Cook, David A., and probably Brooke as the final three. I don't think 3 men will dominate all the way to the end. And I would say Brooke has been way more consistent and entertaining than Jason Castro.

Oh, and we all know Syesha has one foot in the grave. If they didn't like her Tuesday night performance which was one of the best of the night, they aren't going to like her next week.

Matt said...

I actually thought the song choice might help her, because she was the only one who did something upbeat rather than a big soaring ballad. Of course, the ALW catalogue doesn't offer much in the upbeat category.

Anonymous said...

"...but the casual voters"

Honest question here: is there such a thing with Idol as a casual voter? I've watched the show every season but one and have never been compelled to vote; I've always just assumed a certain % of the audience voted and voted hard every week, and the rest watched and waited and shrugged when it was over.

Have I been wrong all these years? Are there times when people who don't vote are so moved by a performance, good or bad, they suddenly feel the need to call?
I really want to hear thoughts on this, thanks....

Joe said...

Good question, Jimmo.

I believe once you vote, the term casual doesn't fit.

I watch each week but never vote. That's level of involvement that I haven't jumped too.

Another question: if you text a vote, does that open you to text spam from Idol or ATT?