Wednesday, March 18, 2009

American Idol Top 11 Results

Once again the new "judge's save" is preserved for another day, the contestant who was at the bottom on Dial Idol has been sent home, and the ten remaining contestants live to sing another week. Perhaps more importantly for many of them, have now earned their place on the Idols Live tour this summer and the paycheck that will go along with it.

Who should have been eliminated: Megan Joy

Who I predicted would be eliminated: Michael Sarver

Who was eliminated: Alexis Grace

The bottom three of Alexis, Michael Sarver, and Allison Iraheta did not come as much of a surprise to me, even though I did not have any of them ranked in my bottom three last evening. (I did happen to find Kris Allen better than I first did upon another listen to his performance and he has indeed received all sorts of plaudits for it).

I was very relieved when Allison was the first one sent to safety in the bottom three. She just is too good to lose this early in the competition. Hopefully, she will pick up the support of whatever fan base exists of the newly eliminated Alexis and that Allison's own fans will have a fire lit under them to really not take anything for granted and to keep voting for her. The committed Idol fans all seem to really respect what Allison is doing, but her style may not be as palatable to the older or more casual Idol voter. Also, it would be great if the judges were to give her the pimp spot next week. She could need it. And there sure were a lot of Idol wannabes whose first name started with A this year.

If Michael was indeed in the bottom two, that is not exactly what Dial Idol predicted, but my own iffy (once again) prediction of Michael being sent home was incorrect. Already, this is very much resembling the Kristy Lee Cook saga last year, of country music fans rallying to save one of their favorites. He really is on borrowed time, but he lives to sing again.

So, when all was said and done, Alexis had the lowest vote total, and considering that she was compared to Kelly Clarkson during the semifinals and because a gossip report this very week claimed an "Idol insider" said she was a favorite to make the Finale, her ouster in 11th place has to be considered at least a little shocking to some.

She had an off night last night and failed to live up to expectations, though I thought her performance was still decent. Earlier on though in the season, she proved she has a ton of talent, and hopefully will see avenues opened up to her, once her contract with 19 Entertainment expires.

Alexis just ultimately was not able to overcome her lack of a passionate fanbase. The males obviously have the most die-hard fans once again this season, while Lil is likely being strongly backed by African-American watchers of the show, (who tend to be less visible on Idol blogs and message boards), Megan Joy has developed a sort of cult following because of her uniqueness, and Allison's successes are causing her to pick up some fans that might have otherwise gone to Alexis. Mostly though, Alexis was hindered in building a strong fan base by American Idol, and in particular Kara DioGuardi, who had some odd fascination with the still unmarried 21 year old mother being "dirty" as part of her musical persona. When she first auditioned, Alexis came across as sort of the sweet, "girl next door" type. If she would have been true to herself, she might have then been able to warrant some more comparisons to singers like Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood, who also had a wholesome demeanor, but let their voices speak for themselves. When Alexis dressed provactively or tried to seem like the 2003 version of Christina Aguilera, it just did not seem very authentic. When she deviated from that a bit last night on "Jolene", she was criticized for it by Kara. She certainly does not seem like a horrible person to me, but as I said last night, I think there is something about her personality that makes her come across as a little too aloof as well.

After she was given the bad news for Seacrest, Alexis was told she had a chance to save herself, and unlike last week, there was some suspense over what might happen, considering the judges had previously proclaimed her a front-runner and because the show probably really wanted Alexis on the tour. It was a tough spot for Alexis to be to sing for her future, while the judges huddled around in a obviously fake confab. Vocally, she was a little worse on "Jolene", at least technically, than she was last night, and her nerves and desperation looked pretty obvious. While Kara last night stupidly said the song was not "angsty" enough, and should have sang a Carrie Underwood "dirtier" song instead, and Simon foolishly said she sounded like the Dolly Parton original, the irony of such a song about desperation and wanting to hold on to a man seemed more profound as Alexis seemed to literally be begging the judges please to not take away her dream. Some might have found it compelling television, but I just felt bad for Alexis. I did not think they would wind up saving her, and ultimately they did not.

Alexis will now be off to do the talk show circuit for the next week and to lament what might have been. If there is a silver lining in it though for her, it should be that she will soon be able to spend a lot more time with her young daughter and will not have to miss her over most of the summer as she travels from city to city.

For the Top 10, next week will bring about Motown tunes, which should be right in the wheelhouse of many of the remaining singers. The pressure will once again be on Michael Sarver and now Scott MacIntyre though if they want to continue. The two of them, along with Megan Joy, have no real chance of winning American Idol. However, of the other seven, one can at least now make a case as to why any of them could and/or should actually win the whole thing.

But wait.... there will once again be no show on Tuesday evening, because once again, Barack Obama's teleprompter has scheduled a prime time press conference. So, check back again on Wednesday for Top 10 night and then I suppose the results on Thursday will conflict with the NCAA Tourney.