Wednesday, April 22, 2009

American Idol Top 7 Results- Part II

Who should have been eliminated: Lil Rounds and Matt Giraud

Who I predicted would be eliminated: Lil Rounds and Matt Giraud

Who was eliminated: Lil Rounds and Anoop Desai

There was no sort of official mention as to who finished last and who finished next to last in tonight's Double Elimination Spectacular. Lil was the first to be eliminated, quite early in the show, so the impression will probably be that she finishes the season in 7th place, although her and Anoop may formally be referred to as finishing tied for 6th place or something dumb like that.

The overall results were not a huge surprise, although I did think that Matt Giraud would wind up in the bottom three. Instead, a week after being saved by the judges, and delivering what I believed to be a flawed performance last night, Matt did not even manage to hit the bottom three. If there is such a thing as Idol Survivor Guilt, he ought to have it. Now, the lone remaining Wildcard contestant has cracked the Top Five and will live to sing another week. The final slot in the Bottom Three was once again unfortunately filled by Allison Iraheta. While I do not think her performance last night was her best, she might have been more hurt with the voters by the fact that she is only 16 and sang a fairly risque song with a bit of a wild outfit on. Allison sounds and seems older than her age though, it might be easy to forget at times that casual voters, the kind that might have really liked the uber-wholesome David Archuleta last year, could be a little put off by such choices.

Looking at the entire bottom three this week, it was a really bad one for the People of Color. Perhaps Jesse Jackson and Rainbow/PUSH should consider a protest.

So, Lil and Anoop are headed home, after of course hitting the talk show circuit. I think one thing is almost for certain; had the judges not used the save on Matt Giraud last week, Anoop would not be leaving this week, and would have had his rightful place in the Top 5. Lil almost certainly would have formally finished in 6th place, but a lot of Matt's voters would have probably then crossed over to save Noop Dogg. It became clear a few weeks ago that Anoop was not going to win this season, but Matt G.'s save certainly screwed him over more than anyone.

Both Lil and Anoop were very dignified and gracious in their elimination tonight and both, particularly Lil, sounded much better in their Idol sing-off performance, perhaps because the pressure was no longer on. At the early portion of this season, both singers were considered front-runners, especially Anoop who quickly drew a very large contingent of online fans. Back then, I would have pegged Lil for a potential third place finish and as mentioned back then, Anoop was my early favorite to win it all. Lil never had a great performance on the big stage though, and while Anoop had a couple of stellar weeks, he just never really connected for some reason, the way that dark horse contender Kris Allen has managed to do.

Anoop has a great voice but did not really manage to showcase vocal versatility. In addition to his singing, his stage presence, body language, and at times perceived arrogance probably hurt him as anything. I think he is one of the contestants though that has the chance with the right career choices to have a chance in the music business. That might involve becoming the lead singer of some sort of vocal group or perhaps going the adult contemporary ballad route, instead of his preference to do R&B/Brit Rock. If all else fails, he would almost certainly be able to become a big star in Bollywood, but that's probably far from his mind now. I just do not want to read about him running for Congress in a few years or something.

So, while Anoop was one of my early favorites and while I do not think he should have left this week, I was mostly relieved that Allison and Kris were safe. I am going to continue to root for them to advance, as I have found them more compelling this season than the pre-ordained favorites of Adam Lambert and Danny Gokey.

I suppose there will be a theme next week, but I do not yet know what it is. This is the phase of the competition though where the Final Five should be set to sing two songs each. Last year, that featured a wildly disjointed 60 minute broadcast that barely managed to finish on time. If American Idol has less confidence in the efficiency of their four judges, maybe the kids might only have to sing one song.

At this stage, I think only Adam and Kris are certain or close to certain to be safe next week. Neither has yet to appear in the Bottom Three. Neither has Danny Gokey, and his stealth base of what seems to be the sort of Evangelical Christians, who may be quietly organizing behind the scenes (much the way that Mike Huckabee was able to surprise in the 2004 GOP primary season), but in a larger sense, I am starting to really think that Kris could outlast Danny. Most likely though, Danny will survive next week, and it will be a battle for survival between Matt and Allison.

As mentioned earlier, had Matt been eliminated last week, his voters could have gone heavily to Anoop. Will Anoop's loyal power-callers now go heavily to Matt? I sort of doubt it. Whether those types wind up personally mad at Matt or not, they are going to feel a sense of injustice and I think are going to be more likely to throw their votes to Kris. So, I think Matt might finally run out of breaks next week, and once he is gone, I think his voters are going to go to Kris as well.

Thus, while I am holding out hope for a potential final two of Allison and Kris, I am getting somewhat of a hunch that it might all come down to Adam vs. Kris. Then, that would be quite an interesting cultural moment for the country.