Wednesday, April 16, 2008

American Idol: Top 7 elimination

"American Idol" elimination spoilers coming right up...

Well, I had figured on either Carly or Syesha going home. Carly wasn't even in the bottom three, and Syesha was the first person on the seal sent to safety, with Kristy Lee sent home and Brooke sent into another crying jag. So much last night's prediction that KLC might improbably become the last woman standing, huh? Still, her tears at being eliminated were the first sign of genuine emotion she displayed this season (I loved the suggestion by a Thing Thrower that Kristy Lee was an android sent from the future to protect Young David from Skynet), and even when she was good, she wasn't memorable. "God Bless the USA" bought her an extra three weeks, I suppose.

Some other random thoughts on the elim show:
  • They've been doing the "two groups of three, and a sucker forced to choose" gag every top 7 night since season three, and it's played out. The first time, it worked brilliantly, because poor George Huff actually made a choice, and chose the wrong group. (That was the night when the three divas were in the bottom three and Jennifer Hudson went home.) The next year, Bo Bice showed the only proper way to deal with being the sucker: stay at center stage and refuse to play the game. Melinda and now Young David followed that example I can't remember what Taylor did in season five, but anyone who's on the show has been watching the show, and they know this is coming. New trick, please.
  • That said, it's always interesting to see who's chosen as the sucker. George was ideal, both because he didn't naturally fit either group (the three divas and the three teenagers) and because he was easily freaked-out. Taylor went on to win (and by most accounts was leading the voting all season), while Bo and Melinda were the "resident professionals" who were presented as frontrunners but realistically had little chance of winning. Young David fits both the Taylor and George modes: the obvious winner, but also someone ready to panic at a moment's notice. (His answer to Ryan's "Are you having any fun?" question may have been the season's least sincere moment not involving Kristy Lee Cook.)
  • Outside of digging his musical chops, I admire he hell out of David Cook for refusing to exploit his personal problems to get votes. When Ryan asked him about the heart episode a few weeks ago, he dismissed it as quickly as he could as a non-event. Tonight, when Ryan tried to get to the bottom of David's tears -- which were quite obviously connected to the presence of his cancer-stricken brother in the audience -- David again went out of his way to not discuss it except in the vaguest terms possible. I can think of a lot of contestants over the years who would flog the sick brother angle for all it was worth.
  • That said, I had no problem with Elliott Yamin's palm-print message to his recently departed mom (even though it was cheesey when Big David put "Give back" on his palm last week), both because he's not competing for anything, and because his mom did become a part of the show during his season. I like that Elliott's been able to carve out a respectable career completely outside the Idol management machine (he was pretty much the only season five finalist they didn't sign), and also that the Idol producers don't seem to begrudge that success and keep having him back on the show, even though there's no money in it for them. His return appearances are one of the few completely non-cynical moments in each season.
What did everybody else think?


Nicole said...

I thought KLC would be final three, but I can live with being wrong if she's gone.

I am also tired of the choose your group schtick. It's played out and silly. They also weren't honest about the groups when they split Castro and Cook, who were obviously the top vote getters from last night.

Seacrest should not have brought up the crying thing. Cook didn't want to mention last night and doing it tonight was just a pathetic effort to try to get Cook to talk about his brother. It's personal, he wants to keep it that way ok? This is not a pretend relationship with Teri Hatcher so drop it.

I skipped through the performances, but I really don't like Mariah Carey, but the group sing was the worst one yet.

I missed what the theme is for next week. Is it Andrew Lloyd Webber week yet? That should be disastrously fun too. ALW's been judging his only talent shows in the UK for leads in his West End show, and having seen some of it, the talent there is amazing. None of the finalists can compare. Even the Chosen One. But I suspect ALW will be nice in his comments anyway.

Unknown said...

I will miss Kristy Lee Cook.

No, seriously. She had this great doomed placeholder presence, like she was serving out a prison sentence. Every week she'd awkwardly expect to be in the bottom three, convincing herself that her borrowed time had run out. I'm shocked she didn't do every performance in a Vote for the Worst t-shirt.

She did show emotion, though. She seriously celebrated after Simon said something good about her. And her final performance, in Simon's face, with modified lyric, was basically a big sigh of relief.

Mrglass said...

So who was saying there was no vote manipulation last week? Kristy was not at the bottom on any independant website, Syesha was. But since American Idol producers need a non-white in the top5 to prevent any accusation of racism, she gets to stay a couple of more weeks.

After the usual "shocker" last week. And the sequence guy/girl/guy/girl... is continuing perfectly. Of course it is impossible to know what the votes really were, you just have to trust the integrity and honesty of a few reality show producers.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Two other notes:

1)Vote For the Worst is, as always, useless.

2)DialIdol is also, apparently, useless. It was one thing when Michael Johns went home even though he seemed far from the bottom, as he was still within their margin of error. Kristy Lee had the green "safe" light and still went home.

Anonymous said...


I don't care for Syesha though I have some things in common with her (not the baby cry) She is a fake diva who gets on my nerves. Last night was the first performance of Kristy's that I liked but Syesha has out shone Kristy throughout this season. American Idol practices many things but affirmative action is not one of them.

K J Gillenwater said...

Oh, so we should believe what websites say and not the actual vote itself? That's how we ended up with "Dewey Defeats Truman"!

You keep forgetting that Idol supposedly weeds out the autodialers...which could possibly skew website *guesses*.

Once again WHY would the AI people want someone like Taylor Hicks to win? They *don't*. In fact, I seem to recall hearing about freak outs behind the scenes about what to do if a commercially unviable candidate won.

Stop the conspiracy theories already!

Anonymous said...

Also, as others have pointed out in the past, half of this show's previous winners are African-American. So the producers could easily defend the racism argument.

And while the show could certainly survive a "race" controversy, it couldn't survive a vote-rigging scandal, so it's hard to believe the producers are fudging with the real results.

Anonymous said...

Dialidol also can't measure texted votes, right? So, if KLC's voters were largely phoners, but others had more texters, that would explain it.

I totally agree with Alan on David Cook refusing to play along with the producers' apparent desire to get him to use personal issues for his benefit on the show.

Anonymous said...

-- Isn't it possible that these "independent websites" themselves alter the votes? Someone sees that a contestant they like is ranked at the bottom, so they call in and vote for him or her. Or they see that someone they like seems to be safe, so they don't bother voting.

Anyway, no one had to dislike Kristy Lee for her to be sent home. They just had to not care about her one way or the other.

-- Alan, I love the screen shot you posted from this episode. Cook seems to be telling Archuleta, "Man up there, little buddy."

-- Was Elliott Yamin wearing a scarf under his jacket, or tallit?

Mrglass said...

Oh, so we should believe what websites say and not the actual vote itself?

You are assuming you know what the vote is, and you don't. No one does, or can verify it, except the very producers of the show. I trust independant data-mining websites a lot more than 19E and Freemantle.

And once again, American Idol is classified as "entertainment" and not "game show", just like wrestling, so they don't even have any legal obligation whatsoever.

Undercover Black Man said...

Am I the only one who wanted to see Kristy Lee and Brooke make out a little bit? There was some heat there, wasn't it, as they stood on the precipice of elimination?

I liked how Brooke stood up to Simon on Kristy Lee's behalf when he made his harsh remark.

Anonymous said...

i can't believe that you continue to blog about this worthless show. someone who is so insightful and relevant when it comes to discussion of 'the wire'. how can you not see this show for what it is? an enormous and disgusting distraction from the actual problems that plague the country. this is bread and circuses at its most banal and obvious. shame on everyone who gives a sh*t about the vapid karaoke singers that this turd of a show promotes.

KrisMrsBBradley said...

Without a bit of mindless fun, we'd all just be bitter people sitting around blogging nasty comments on threads that we don't really care anything about.

Who cares if other people spend a little bit of their free time watching a show that brings them a bit of enjoyment? Should we spend every second of the day on serious endeavors without a spark of fun or frivolity?

It's not like we are here to discuss Hollywood celebrity skanks running around without their underwear.

Matthew said...

And once again, American Idol is classified as "entertainment" and not "game show", just like wrestling, so they don't even have any legal obligation whatsoever.

Do you have to pay to vote on AI? If so, surely that would have to establish some obligation that people weren't wasting their money voting on a pretermined result.

Anonymous said...

I liked how Brooke stood up to Simon on Kristy Lee's behalf when he made his harsh remark.

Did Brooke not realize what the *other* answer would've been?

She sasses Simon way too much. It's tiring.

Bobman said...

Am I the only one who wanted to see Kristy Lee and Brooke make out a little bit? There was some heat there, wasn't it, as they stood on the precipice of elimination?

I can tell you right now, that would not only boost Idol's ratings, but be the number one YouTube clip for the next decade.

Tom O'Keefe said...

@Kristin: Oh, so we should believe what websites say and not the actual vote itself? That's how we ended up with "Dewey Defeats Truman"!

Yes, I remember my grandmother telling how the blogs went crazy the day Drudge ran the "Dewey Defeats Truman" headline. The last time she was that shocked was when she got texted about Japan bombing Pearl Harbor. ;)

@matthew l: You don't have to pay to vote. They are 866 phone numbers and texting is free from AT&T phones but standard text messaging rates apply. (Texting is blocked from non-AT&T phones.) But AI doesn't make any money off of those texts or phone calls.

Joe said...

That pix of the Davids looks like a still from the fourth part of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

No surprises last night.
They even used David Cook as a decoy in the bottom 3 group.

Here's hoping for a better group of songs next week.

Mike said...

Am I the only one who thinks Young David should be kicked off the show? Don't get me wrong, the kid can sing, but he's a one trick pony. He sings one style, and one style only. He had a difficult time with the Beatles songs (tho a lot of folks did), but he has no depth.

He's going to make a great Christian singer (along the lines of Michael W. Smith), but as far as "American Idol"? I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

you heard it here: KLC will have the 2nd most successful post-Idol career of this group (after Cock-Rock Cook).

She is made for the pop-country sound. Sepinwall's distaste for her singing notwithstanding, she has a very good voice. Think how odd and exacting the Idol process is: I would bet if you subjected successful country pros (I don't know, a Faith Hill or something) to the weekly rigor, they would often sound less than stellar.

Is KLC a bad singer? Come on. Sanjaya and Haley Scarnato were bad singers. She is a milquetoast, but with top songwriters, a svengali producer, and top session musicians, she can easily have a Pickleresque career.

Idol Math: David Archuleta + 8 years = Elliot Yamin.

Anonymous said...

Idol Math: David Archuleta + 8 years = Elliot Yamin.

No way. Elliot always felt real and genuine. David feels preprogrammed and robotic. Plus he already has nice teeth.

K J Gillenwater said...

Tom, so sorry I have to explain myself to you...I'm sure most understood...the "Dewey Defeats Truman" statement was referring to media reporting winners and losers (any type of media you want...newspapers, tv, internet) without proven facts.

Is that clear enough?

Matthew said...

Tom - Thanks for the clarification. I know that you had to pay to vote on NZ Idol, so I was wondering about AI - I know Ryan always talks about 866 numbers, but was never sure about the meaning of that.

Anonymous said...

I was not aware of the situation with David Cook's brother. It's has to be extremely stressful for him. As for the contest, I think it will come down to the two Davids. I don't know if I'm getting too cynical, I probably am, but Brooke is getting to be a bit much. Get a grip!

Anonymous said...

What a relief. Now you all can stop pretending that Kristy Lee Cook has been improving from week to week. Good riddance.

Anonymous said...

Wow Alan-I just logged on to your site and the first 3 entries are all American Idol. As someone who does not watch this horrible show it's depressing to see a person who writes as well as you do and who has the taste you have waste so many words on this show. I know it's a pop culture phenomena and blah blah blah but do you really have to further the insanity that much. Or is it just that there's nothing else to write about. If that's what it is I would understand and not really get crazy over expecting more from this site (but then again who the fuck am I as far as your concerned)

Anonymous said...

I know - how about a preview of Lost- I've listened to a podcast where cuse and lindelhof talk about the upcoming "Shapes of Things to Come" and the rest of the season. They don't give any major things away but I'd rather read you muse about the best show on TV for pages instead of one sentence on the show that has effectively destroyed popular music in the united states. American Idol is a harbinger of the End of Days and we should be very afraid.

Sam Kim said...

When Taylor Hicks was given a choice, I remember he took a step in the wrong direction before Ryan redirected him.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Wow Alan-I just logged on to your site and the first 3 entries are all American Idol.

Unless "Let's Go To The Mall" and "Dick in a Box" were originally performed on "American Idol," I don't know where you were seeing the first three items as being Idol-related.

Beyond that, I'm tired of defending the Idol thing from people who are somehow offended that I could like both it and The Wire, and so I'll just say this: I will blog about Lost again when there is an actual episode of Lost to blog about.