Wednesday, April 02, 2008

American Idol, Top 9: Elimination night

Very quick "American Idol" spoilers (basically, the bottom three and the identity of the night's boot) coming up after the jump...

Brooke, Kristy Lee and Ramiele were in the bottom three, and Ramiele got sent home, sobbing all the way. Ryan Seacrest gets made fun of a lot for his role on the show, but he's very good at what he does; Ramiele was totally wrecked by getting cut, and he managed to psyche her up enough to do an enthusiastic sing-out so she can have a better memory of her final moments on the show.

The right result, and arguably the right bottom three. Like Jason last week, Brooke needed a kick in the rear end to get out of her rut.

As always, I fast-forwarded through virtually all of it, but feel free to discuss any and all of what I missed.


Alan Sepinwall said...

Also, a product placement success: as a Bo fan, I stopped FF'ing long enough to watch his Where Are they Now? segment, and liked the sound of his new album enough to spend some iTunes credit on it.

K J Gillenwater said...

I liked the 'where are they now' segment as well and looking forward to more. That would probably be the only good thing about the longer results shows that I would watch...everything else gets a big fastforward.

Bye, bye, Ramiele! She should have gone long ago.

Glad to hear David C. brush off his hospital trip last night. Whew! Happy to hear it was nothing serious.

Anonymous said...

Brooke just needs to learn how to STFU during judges' feedback sessions. She's dull enough to stick around as long as she doesn't annoy America2Death. I suggest she spend some time studying videotape of Amanda Overmyer's tight-lipped post-performance stance.

Nicole said...

I never realized how much shorter Ramiele is than everyone else. She was a head shorter than Brooke and Kristy and they aren't that tall.

Anyway, the result was right. Ramiele hadn't really performed to her potential for weeks now.

Dolly's new Jesus and Gravity song wasn't exactly a new classic, and listening to AI covers of her good songs really made this one look bad.

Anonymous said...

Boy, for those who felt threatened by the Lee Greenwood cover, I can't imagine how you felt about Dolly's song about JC. You guys better go watch some Colbert to clear your consciences.

Undercover Black Man said...

Good on you, Alan, for tipping your hat to Seacrest. He is, indeed, very good at what he does. And not just for bucking up Ramiele.

The CineManiac said...

Yeah Ramie's gone! Took far too long. I actually watched almost half of the episode!

Anonymous said...

I've always like Ryan well enough and thought he did a fine job as host. But I was especially impressed this evening with the way he gave Ramiele the boost she needed to sing.

Was I the only one underwhelmed by Dolly's performance? I love Dolly. Seriously. Love. Her. But watching her tonight was painful. The song was just plain silly and was it just me or was she a little "pitchy" (thanks Randy!) in spots?

Nicole said...

Colbert is actually a practicing Catholic who teaches Sunday school. Faith and critical thinking aren't mutually exclusive.

Anonymous said...

I umabashedly love Seaacrest. He is really good at what he does and every now and then gives little indications that he is very self-aware. He knows that he has the cheesiest job in America and is a corporate tool. But he knows that and can poke fun at himself and that role.

bill said...

Nicole, if you remember his interview with Stanford professor Philip Zimbardo, here's how Colbert puts it: "I teach sunday school, motherfucker."

Dan Jameson said...

I know I always play devil's advocate on here, but do you really think this was the first time in all of the previous rounds that Ramiele was one of the 3 lowest vote getters? She goes from no bottom 3 appearances to The Boot in one week? It wasn't even a terrible performance.

I again have to stick with the theory that the bottom 3 are not the lowest vote getters. And whether or not Alan was making a reference to that with his Brooke and Jason comparison from this week and last, the theory holds true that Idol puts someone in the bottom 3 each week who needs that kick in the ass jump-start....even if they didn't get 1 of the 3 lowest vote totals.

Anonymous said...

Colbert is actually a practicing Catholic who teaches Sunday school. Faith and critical thinking aren't mutually exclusive.

I'm sure the same can be said for his audience, as well.

Unknown said...

Hey anonymous, you sound a little smug there. Just because a song is about JC though doesn't mean it doesn't suck. I hear the same crap every Sunday in church from the Praise and Worship singers.

Bobman said...

^ you guys may want to let it rest.

I actually agree about Seacrest; the guy seems like a bit of an insincere chucklehead, but that doesn't mean he's not good at what he does. It is a talent to corral what could be a very chaotic show relatively seamlessly into its hour timeslot, and for the guy who delivers the bad news to all the contestants, they all seem to like him for the most part, which says something.

Anonymous said...

I'm not smug; the song was terrible. Dolly is a pandering fossil using JC to sell records. No doubt. I just wondered if the same people who were so threatened by the Lee Greenwood cover a few weeks back would be equally threatened by this tune.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous:

I don't agree with your assessment that Dolly was pandering in that song. Not only is her faith genuine, but this is not the first time she has recorded and performed a song about Jesus.

The difference between Dolly's song and Kristy Lee's decision to sing "God Bless the USA" last week is a simple one -- sincerity. I'm not inside of Dolly's head, of course, but I suspect that she wrote(?), recorded, and sang "Jesus and Gravity" for no better reason than she means it. On the other hand, I'm sure that Kristy Lee loves this country, but I'm equally sure that she was playing for votes when she sang "God Bless the USA." Why? Instinct. You can smell a liar, and Dolly doesn't stink. Kristy Lee, on the other hand, reeks of calculation.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, what do you mean "threatened" by Lee Greenwood? The song bugs me and her use of it to pander to people who see blind patriotism as a virtue seemed calculating and vaguely creepy. But I don't think I found it threatening. I just didn't like it.

As for Dolly, she has been singing about Jesus forver. So not sure what is new there.

Anonymous said...

forever I meant.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you're right. I can't imagine why anyone would accuse an aging has-been with a brand new album out this week catering to Middle America on a national television show popular in red states as a panderer.

I stand corrected.

Anonymous said...

Geez, I can't believe all this support for Ryan Seacrest. I really can't stand the guy. I would say he's too much of a contestant's advocate at times, questioning the judges on any sort of negative criticism they give. I honestly think Dunkleman or anyone else could do as good of a job. The only positive thing is at least he dropped the "Seacrest out" schtick he was using as a signoff a couple seasons ago.

Anonymous said...

I again have to stick with the theory that the bottom 3 are not the lowest vote getters.

Then what are they?

aging has-been with a brand new album out this week catering to Middle America on a national television show popular in red states as a panderer.

Playing the tired and tedious "red state" card isn't helping your case. Dolly isn't doing anything she's never done before.

And she's not a has-been; she's a still-is and an always-will-be.

Anonymous said...

The only positive thing is at least he dropped the "Seacrest out" schtick he was using as a signoff a couple seasons ago.

Around the same time he did the voiceover spot on "Robot Chicken" (a Seacrest doll in a dress looks in the mirror and says, "Seacrest, out!")? :-D

Alan, you better pledge your allegiance to God and country quick before the angry trolls take over your blog!

For those Seacrest fans not in the L.A. area: There are billboards advertising Seacrest's radio show, with a picture of him sporting a five o'clock shadow (actually, more of a "full moon" shadow). I suppose the facial hair is supposed to make him look more manly,, it's the opposite of macho :-D

Bobman said...

Oh God, I have no doubt his radio show is intolerable, but for keeping a show like Idol rolling along, he's good enough at what he does.

Anonymous said...

Alan, you better pledge your allegiance to God and country quick before the angry trolls take over your blog!

It's not about who waves the flag or believes in God. It's about the need for some people to incessantly mock, impugn, disparage, and caricature the people who do.

Give it a rest once in a while.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Okay, I let this particular discussion go again this week in hopes that it would peter out after a few posts, but it hasn't, and both sides are getting increasingly strident and hostile, so once again, we're done.

No Jesus, no Lee Greenwood, no politics -- no matter which side of any issue you're on -- in this thread. Any comments with that stuff, either pro or anti anything, will be deleted by me.

Anonymous said...

Brooke just needs to learn how to STFU during judges' feedback sessions. She's dull enough to stick around as long as she doesn't annoy America2Death. I suggest she spend some time studying videotape of Amanda Overmyer's tight-lipped post-performance stance.

I love Brooke, but I couldn't agree more about her talking over the judges. Brooke, stop yapping and just listen. Please.

Ramiele got worse as the weeks went by, and her time was up, but I still hated to see her go. Poor kid.

Bobman said...

I literally cringe when I see Brooke go in front of the judges because I know she'll start her yappity yap with them, and I know it doesn't help her. She is very much my type of contestant and musician so I really want her to stick around (even though I know she almost can't win).

Dan Jameson said...

Mark B - the bottom 3, in my opinion, consist of the person getting The Boot, and two others of Idol's choosing. In all likelihood, the two lowest vote getters are there. But my theory is that the 3rd person is put into the bottom 3 for a kick in the ass.

I don't want to argue about this b/c I had to defend this theory 5 times last week (though I don't mind defending it). I've just never heard Idol refer to the "bottom 3" as the "3 lowest vote getters" - Ever.

Anonymous said...

-- Am I the only one who was freaked out by the commercial in which the Idols played tough urban street punks who dominated in a game of pickup basketball? (With the girlier ones, including Archuleta, left on the side to act as cheerleaders.) It was like a cross between the world's worst Nike ad and "West Side Story."

-- It's true that Dolly Parton's voice isn't what it used to be. That's what happens to people when they get old. (And she's older than she looks, for obvious reasons.) The chirpiness that's always been in her singing now sounds like that of a little old lady -- if you closed your eyes, you could imagine it was Granny from "The Beverly Hillbillies" doing that song.

-- As so often happens on this show, Ramiele sang better in her post-booting performance than she did during the competition. That's because most of these kids sing technically well but without much emotion, and getting kicked off forces them actually to feel something. If they could figure out how to do that in their regular performances, the show would be a whole lot better.

Nicole said...

If Dial Idol is accurate, then the bottom three should have been Ramiele (she had the lowest totals) and then Jason and Kristy Lee. Brooke was further up the list. I'm inclined to think that there may be some manipulation but since they never release the votes totals we will never really know.

Alan Sepinwall said...

The DialIdol numbers show that Brooke and Carly were also within the margin of error, and close enough to Jason and Kristy Lee that any of them could have wind up on the seal with Ramiele.

And, again, this all assumes we should put any stock into DialIdol. Given how often I mention it, I guess that means I do.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Bo's album, by the way, is quite good. Just listened to the whole thing while working on my Battlestar Galactica post for tomorrow night. I don't know how it fits into today's commercial marketplace, but if you liked the stuff he was doing on the show in season four, you'll dig it.

Mrglass said...

It is well known votes don't decide the bottom 3, or even the person eliminated. First, even Idol producers admit they filter the raw numbers to eliminate serial-dialing programs.

Second, no one independant has any control over the voting process; notice the lack of a lawyer that some game shows have. That is American Idol is not classified as a "game show" but "variety". It means Nigel can do whatever he likes and he can't get sued for cooking up the results.

In my opinion the loser is selected among the contestants who got the lowest number of votes, but is not necessarily the lowest. And the "bottom 3" has nothing to with the 3 lowest votes.

Bobman said...

I never understood that mentality. Idol ultimately is looking to get ratings and they want the person who wins to be the most popular and marketable. Isn't the vote-tally the best way to get both of those things? The people who are most voted for are the people that the viewers most want to see and will most tune IN to see next time. The person who wins is the person who got the most votes by the end, and therefore the person who the public wants the most, right?

If it was all fudged and Idol producers just wanted someone who was marketable but not necessarily the most popular, Taylor Hicks certainly wouldn't have won last year.

Mrglass said...

Bobman: they don't manipulate votes to boot fan favorites (those with the highest number of votes), but to keep some commercially promising second-rate contestants on the air a few more weeks, or on the opposite eliminate good singers (but in the bottom half of votes) who don't fit into the Idol model, or have been affected by various scandals that could compromise the family-friendly image of the show.

Also, the contestants as a group need to appeal to the largest demographic possible. And once again, no one has any oversight of the voting process, left entirely to the discretion of the producers.

If you are still sceptical, consider this: every single year, the top10 (selected for the tour) had 5 girls and 5 boys.

Alan Sepinwall said...

As I say whenever this topic comes up -- including last week -- I believe a lot of conspiracy theories about this show, but I refuse to believe that Nigel and company would be so stupid to risk killing the golden goose for the sake of improving the finishing position of Kellie Pickler or something. There may be no oversight, but there are also enough people in the loop that, if they were cooking the numbers, it would get out. The public has put up with a whole lot of scandals related to this show, but the one thing they wouldn't tolerate is finding out they were lied to about their votes.

And, again, for counter-evidence to any theories of vote-tampering or ignoring:

-Taylor Hicks winning

-Nikki McKibbin outlasting producers' favorite Tamyra

-Charles Grigsby making the finals at all, and over producers' favorite Kim Caldwell

-Jasmine Trias ruining a potential all-diva final by outlasting La Toya

-Did I mention Taylor Hicks winning? If the producers were really as manipulative and savvy about manipulating the vote as you suggest, no way in the world would they have allowed that guy to win that season, nor would they have allowed Daughtry to go home two weeks before the finale.

Mrglass said...

There may be no oversight, but there are also enough people in the loop that, if they were cooking the numbers, it would get out.

Once again, since we don't have a clue what is exactly the "loop" and how all phone/text votes are compiled, nor how and when the anti-dialing programs filters are applied, that leaves a lot of room to manipulate the votes.

No oversight means exactly that. If (a certain 2000 national election) can happen, it is hard to believe the votes of a variety show designed to manifacture pop stars are counted with perfect rigour and probity.

As for Tailor Hicks, once you get to the final rounds, the potential for fan backlash and outrage is much greater. And third-party things like DialIdol get much more significant statistically, and ignoring them more difficult. But who really cares in what order Amanda and Chikezie get eliminated?

K J Gillenwater said...

I don't quite understand why there would be a need to manipulate anything to this extent?

If it's confusing to some how Ramiele ended up in the bottom 3 (which I really think is the 'bottom 3'), then I'll explain:

1) She's not very good
2) She's had relatively the same amount of voters all along and as other contestants have been eliminated, her vote getting didn't change much at all...whereas some other idol contestants split up the rest of the votes that may have been going to the eliminated contestant last week.
3) She's not very good.

That's about it.

I don't see the point in needing to create a fake bottom 3 at all. I would say, most of the time, one of the better contestants win. If only the most marketable were the winners, then we wouldn't have had a Taylor Hicks or a Ruben Studdard win.

Dan Jameson said...

Thanks Kristin, but I think you are missing the point. We all know why Ramiele was in the bottom 3. She wasn't good. She should have been in the bottom 3 for the past 3 weeks.

My theory is that she probably was one of the 3 lowest vote getters. But, because Idol likes to throw in a contestant who is "in a rut" - like Brooke this week and Jason last week - Ramiele doesn't show up in the bottom 3 until this week.

Hence, the bottom 3 aren't the 3 lowest vote getters. But rather the person going home, usually the other person who is on the fence (Kristy basically every week), and then someone Idol chooses to make things interesting.

I don't think I'm with the theory that Idol "jukes the stats" ("The Wire") to the extent some have suggested, but they definitely do what they want with the bottom 3.

And to whoever responded last week regarding the final 7 and how Idol splits the stage into a safe group of 3 and the bottom 3 and makes the odd man (or woman) out choose a group, again, Idol never said the bottom 3 group was the group with the 3 lowest votes. Just that they were the "bottom 3"

Froggie McFrog said...

I am a genius.
I see a way for "Idol Gives Back" to raise a record amount of $$$:
Ten words:
twenty minutes, Charlene Amoia, Ted Mosby Is A Jerk, live.

Bobman said...

Well, objectively, there's no actual evidence that they're lying, nor is there any proof they're not, so each is equally plausible. As with most conspiracy theories, I'm inclined to go with Occam's Razor and assume the simplest answer is the true one. The simplest answer is that, aside from the fudge factor with the anti-dialing, there is no tweaking or lying. The biggest show on television has way too many people involved, even in the "inner circle", that this could go on for seven years with no one ever even accidentally hinting in public.

But there's no real proof either way unless they release the numbers, so believe what you will.

Anonymous said...

I can't feel too bad for Ramiele, she got to bury her face in Kristy Lee's bosom. That would cheer me up more than any pep talk from Seacrest.

Unknown said...

I think Brooke being in the bottom 3 with a lackluster performance and an early performance makes perfect sense.

But I don't like her, so maybe that's why.

Same with the crunchy muppet sad time last week.

dark tyler said...

The funniest thing over at! They're actually wondering if Carly will ever get any love from the judges.

Carly. Smithson.

This is LOL-erific.

Anonymous said...

I don't get the conspiracy theories. Does it really have to be that complicated---one of the bottom three is a fake to motivate them? C'mon. Actually, Alan called it in his post earlier in the week when he said Randy and Simon went easy on Ramiele to prevent a backlash from her fanbase. Her fans didn't vote like in past weeks and she went home.

Generally, the mediocre and boring end up in the bottom three, while the "bad" that week can escape it if they get beaten up by the judges because it makes their fans believe they really need to vote. I like conspiracies too, but why would the powers that be at Idol have a conspiracy to have someone finish sixth instead of ninth?

And yes, Taylor Hicks winning does kill any conspiracy theories dead.

Dan Jameson said...

Don't mix the crazy conspiracy theory suggested by mrglass with my theory about the bottom 3.

One of the bottom 3 is not "a fake". They are the "bottom 3". The question is: what is the definition of the "bottom 3."

In my opinion, the bottom 3 are not the lowest vote getters. Just the person going home and then whoever else.

I don't think it's a conspiracy. They've never said they are the 3 lowest vote getters, so they can do what they want.

Mrglass said...

"Crazy conspiracy theory"? It is a silly TV show, not the JFK assassination... I don't know why you find so hard to believe that Idol producers sometimes change the results when votes are close, since they have some motivation to do so, and once again no one controls the voting process.

From Idol's website:

What's being done about power dialing?

A weekly monitoring procedure will be in place to prevent individuals from unfairly influencing the outcome of the voting by generating significant blocks of votes using technical enhancements. The producers reserve the right to remove any identified 'power dialing' votes. Note that this applies to both toll-free and Text Messaging votes.

So they may for example "remove" a larger number of votes in this way for a contestant they don't like due to a scandal or a non-commercial attitude.