Friday, March 25, 2011

American Idol Top 11 Results

This Thursday's American Idol Results Show will certainly generate a lot of water cooler talk across the country and very little of it will have anything to do with Sugarland or Jennifer Hudson. I did make a mental note out of the fact that George Huff, who finished a few places ahead of J-Hud during their season, is now her background singer.

The episode was filled with surprise guests, birthday cakes, violence, profanity, tears, near vomiting, and dramatic twists and turns.

After the show aired live, I received a call from my mother who knew I was planning on watching a recording of the procedures late in the evening. She insisted that I watch it as soon as possible and contact her to discuss what happened. I really did not want to know what could possibly have happened in regards to a dramatic elimination or anything like that, but I asked her, "did someone die on stage or something?" She replied, "not quite."

So, when I finally went to watch, that had me anxious for every moment. Something was going to happen. Numerous thoughts ran through my head. Was Stevie Wonder having a medical issue when he could not remember the words to his own song? Was Haley Reinhart going to have a wardrobe malfunction? Did Hulk Hogan accidentally injure Ryan Seacrest? Was aspiring pro wrestler "Crazy James" Durbin going to pass out from the excitement of fanboying over the Hulkster or if one of his male buddies was a surprise boot? Was Jennifer Lopez going to serve divorce papers on Marc Anthony on live tv?

The suspense continued to build, but one thing we learned by the end of the night was that these kids have potty mouths and lack of verbal restraint on national tv. At least, three of the contestants had to be saved by the seven second delay. Apparently, the profanity laced vocabularies of Steven Tyler and Marc Anthony are a bad influence. That was never a problem for Idol when David Archuleta or Brooke White were contestants! Heck, even foul mouthed Allison Iraheta kept it family friendly when the cameras were rolling!

Who should have been eliminated: Thia Megia
Who I predicted would be eliminated: Haley Reinhart
Who was eliminated: Nobody (judges saved Casey Abrams)

I was not at all surprised with Thia being in the bottom three and I feel sort of bad for her when she watches the video and sees the not exactly thrilled response from many of her fellow contestants when she was sent back to the couches, leaving the surprise stool dwellers Casey Abrams and Stefano Langone at risk.

I was surprised they were there too, so let's briefly analyze why they may have been in that position. Casey went first in the night, was perhaps over praised by the judges, and many of his fans probably assumed he was safe and did not need their votes. They did not know he would wind up receiving the lowest number. Much of that has to go back to the his previous performance of the Nirvana song, which may have been a risk too much. He has wanted to do things on the Idol stage his way but his antics almost cost him dearly. There was probably some over confidence at play with Stefano's supporters as well, but the conventional wisdom after his performance was that he most failed to live up to expectations out of anyone else and in a close competition, even one missed opportunity could be fatal. Also, could the DUI revelation have suppressed his vote among conservatives, a la GWB in 2000?

After year's of watching Idol, I am pretty good at detecting Seacrest's intentions. I usually always see the surprises coming and considering this was the final cut before the tour slots are nailed down, the thought ran through my head that if one of the guys were the surprise elimination, the save would be used, and it would be a Top 11 going on tour. Does that mean that the kids will get a somewhat smaller paycheck though this summer?

Before that was announced though, Casey went through the procedure of "singing for the save" and did about ten seconds of "I Don't Need No Doctor" before he was cut off in what I am pretty certain was a choreographed move before the show went to air (Idol really is like professional wrestling.) He did not sing much, but I guess I am forced to grade it, so I give it a B-.
I was mostly thinking of the irony of the song title considering Casey's colitis sent him twice to the hospital in recent weeks.

I was really scared that Casey was about to lose his dinner or worse when he was informed that he had been saved. I will assume it was genuine shock, especially since he dropped the "OMFG" bomb on live television. Emotional or not, that was in pretty bad form and is not going to win him any fans. In the drama of the moment though a lot of people may not have caught that non-mensch moment. Casey would also swear again a few moments later, as both Lauren Alaina and Stefano Langone had earlier in the show.

All this made for dramatic and exciting television, but it really did look like a few people came close to passing out on Thursday. Now, all eleven will be back next week, with two being eliminated, but all with the security of having their summer plans "signed, sealed, and delivered."

After this scare, there is probably little chance that the talented Casey will be in the bottom two of the voting next week, since his fans will be highly mobilized. So, as in the past two seasons, at least one of the other contestants will find the save of a fellow contestant hurting them in the long run. I sort of wonder if there is any possibility that Casey performs next week, and goes on tour of course, but uses his health as a reason to bow out in 11th place. Yeah, probably not. I like Casey on the show, did not think he should be cut, but I am also not a fan of the save rule for fairness reasons, so I would not be crushed if he did gracefully leave after next week.

The tour roster is set though, and I am sure it means they will be coming to the Allstate Arena or the United Center for a Haley Reinhart Chicagoland Homecoming. I like some of the eleven more than others, but they are talented, interesting, and diverse enough to probably put on a good a show.

If they really want to increase the tour attendance from last year's sagging numbers, they will allow various audience members the chance to get in a wrestling ring with Pia Toscano.