Wednesday, February 18, 2009

American Idol Group 1 Results

I have decided in order to save time in my performance show recap posts, to do a much shorter review of the results sometime after they are given.

This first results show had me go two out of three as far as predictions were concerned, but there was still a surprise nonetheless.

However, it was only a modest surprise, as the infamous Dial Idol indicated the result would take place and I heard so late last night. I guess Dial Idol really is pretty accurate after all, so I am going to have to really try to make all my predictions and post them here before I check that website or discussion about what they are saying.

Who should have advanced: Anoop Desai, Ricky Braddy, Alexis Grace

Who I predicted would advance: Danny Gokey, Anoop Desai, Alexis Grace

Who did advance: Danny Gokey, Michael Sarver, Alexis Grace

For starters, congrats to Alexis. She went into the evening with not many people believing she was a frontrunner to make the Finals. But, she outsang all the other girls and deserved to be where she is.

Danny was the last to be informed of his place in the finals, matched up against the controversial Tatiana Del Toro, and thus, the producers managed to place their "redeemer" in the role of "Hero", as perception was that he was the one that prevented the advancement of Tatiana.

I think Tatiana sang well last night and might deserve a wildcard audition spot, but I do not know how many will be invited back for that honor. Ricky Braddy certainly deserves another chance to make the Finals.

Now, the surprise to me and many others was that one of the front-runners, Anoop Desai, failed to win a spot in the Finals. Apparently, he missed out by 20,000 votes out of 24 million cast. Wow, that is pretty close. Hopefully, Noop Dogg will get a chance to be a wildcard, but whatever happens there, that's a pretty tough pill to swallow to fall so short of such a potentially career making position because of song choice and perhaps complacency.

I really thought that Anoop would be safe (likely as the next highest vote getter after Gokey) no matter what song he did. I just never saw this stealth vote for Michael Sarver coming. Was it a Don't Mess With Texas thing? Did Simon Cowell seal the deal by literally asking America to pick up the phone for Sarver?

Like a surprise result in a political primary, this one has to be considered a big upset. Sarver got his vote out and the Noop Dogg fans either were lulled into complacency or are not as numerous as perhaps thought.

Michael Sarver is quite lucky and I think he knows it. He was not terrible last night and I am fan of the song he did, but he was far from the best and to think that such a performance automatically puts him in the Top 12, and just two spots away from going on a summer tour and earning a massive salary for that is really pretty amazing. Also, how is a Texas roughneck that much shorter than some preppy graduate student? So congrats Michael. Either you have a fan base that we have all misunderestimated (and I do not at all discount the Texas Pride voting thing) or you will be the next Matt Rogers.

For Michael though, the most irony is that there was a bit of a technical glith (perhaps) that got conspiracy theorists to take notice when he was suddenly removed from Group 1 and replaced with another contestant. Then, a few hours later, his name and face were back on the AI website for Group 1. That was considered to be too bad for Michael as few thought he had a chance to beat either Danny or Anoop.

As for Anoop, this has to be considered a big missed opportunity. I thought he sounded really good, but the song was just not that memorable or filled with enough energy to get casual fans buzzing and motivated to pick up the phone for him. Apparently, during the rehearsals there was all sorts of drama with the band messing the song up and Anoop having to keep re-starting. Some have commented that he was done a disservice during the actual performance by the back-up singers.

I very much expect Anoop to be invited back to compete for a wild-card spot, and if he sings as he is capable of doing, and if AI recognizes his fan base and likeability factor, he still has a very good shot at making the Top 12. He needs to really lay it all on the table though and every other cliche you can think of. He did not take a big enough risk last night. He needs to do something uptempo and edgy. Then, people will remember him, and with a performance coming right before the Finals begin, it could even turn out to be a good thing to break through in the public consciousness at the right time.

And if that happens... he still might very well win. Under the format of the last few seasons, he definitely would have been in and if he gets to the Finals, it is really hard to imagine him being the lowest vote getter for some time. Perhaps Gokey and some others may have more fans to start, but Anoop is not really that polarizing and he is thus going to be the second or third choice of a lot of other fans, and then as other contestants fall by the wayside, he could benefit by avoiding the "backlash factor" and thus come out at the end with the title after all.

In so many ways, this format is reminiscient of Presidential primary politics, where a frontrunner can stumble in Iowa or New Hampshire, and then find a way to make it all happen nonetheless.

As for next week, we saw the dorky dances of the contestants who will be performing and I do not know if I remember them all off the top of my head, but I would keep an eye out for Jasmine Murray to be the top female vote getter (although she may not be helped by the fact that there will be another African-American female competitor in her group). As for the males, frontrunners Adam Lambert and Matt Giraud will get a lot of attention.

Will one of them be pushed aside though for an automatic berth by Normund Gentle? I would not be surprised at all.