Thursday, April 07, 2011

American Idol Top 9 Results

If ever there were a legitimate cause for NOW to get involved in.....

Who should have been eliminated: Paul McDonald
Who I predicted would be eliminated: Haley Reinhart

Who was eliminated: Pia Toscano

I just watched this episode and talked on the phone with my distraught parents about it, so I might as well do this blog entry and get it over with. If not for the fact that it's only a tv show that I do not feel terribly invested in, and if I did not have other enjoyable things to focus on, such as politics and sports, tonight's results would really be sort of tragic.

My parents told me that they really enjoyed the performances last night, and felt it might have been the best Idol show ever and felt it would a shame for anyone to have to be cut. Since I was otherwise busy, I did not watch the results show live, but spoke to my mother after it aired, and could tell she was quite upset. Since I have amazing psychic abilities, I sort of deduced that there was a shocking Pia elimination. So, when I watched the recording of it happening, I was not as shocked as I would have otherwise been.

All in all, it was an tough to stomach episode, that a lot of people will be talking about tomorrow. With X-Factor soon to arrive on the scene, maybe American Idol will feel fortunate to have the publicity, even if it was negative. Besides for the unjust result, I could have done without the skeevy Constantine Maroulis sounding horrible and the scary Iggy Pop likely causing many families with young children to change the channel and perhaps email the FCC. I also could have done without the segment which officially came clean about the relationship that American Idol has with the gossip website TMZ. There have been rumors for three years about how Idol producers were feeding malicious and inaccurate stories about David Archuleta's father to that site during Archie's run on the show, in order to try to stop his momentum.

It might also be a bit much to believe that the show wants us to believe that Jacob Lusk really had any interest in that girl in the TMZ offices. Give me a break. Speaking of Jacob, the second time I watched his remark about how America putting him in the bottom three would be our fault, not his, he sounded even more like a jerk. Either that's really his true character (and he did not come across great tonight either) or someone from Idol made him say it against his better judgment. I I had him in my Top Three last night based on vocals, but was not at all surprised to see him in the Bottom Three.

I had Stefano Langone ranked fourth last night, but was not at all surprised to see him hit the silver stools again, nor would I have been at all surprised if he had been voted off. Pia, who I ranked second, and whom I think I probably had first or second every week, being in the bottom three, and ultimately eliminated did surprise me. I have not voted once this season, so in a way, I really do not have too much ground to complain. Since I had James Durbin ranked first based on vocals last night, had I voted, it would have been for him, so I guess I should be somewhat grateful that he is still on, and I suppose I now will probably find it easier to root for him to win it all.

The elimination of Pia, which will be considered one of the most "shocking" events in Idol history can be attributed to a few factors. It is worth mentioning that had the judges not used the "save" on Casey Abrams two weeks ago, it would have been used on Pia tonight. Considering Casey's somewhat precarious health situation and the unlikelihood that he will actually win the show, I bet they wish they would have still had the save. I really thought Pia was a strong contender to make it at least to the Finale. As a proud Republican, I stand on my anti-savery platform though.

Let's analyze all of this. After all, in my view, Pia was easily the best technical singer this season and among the top tier Idol has ever had. She gained a reputation as a somewhat stiff or boring ballad singer who stayed too close to her comfort zone. While I think she has always sounded great, I have been of the opinion that she has even more, that she was keeping in reserve. Perhaps she was trying to be mindful to not peak too soon. In retrospect; bad strategy. I will liken it to one time supposed GOP Presidential frontrunner Rudy Giuliani, who like Pia, also hails from New York City, deciding to not contest the early primary and caucus states in 2008 and instead wait for an opening in Florida. By that time, voters had decided on others and Rudy was toast. In bringing up the New York City factor, I also have to think that there has to be some reluctance for Idol voters across the country to embrace someone from that particular metropolis. There is something at play there.

However, there are more likely factors as to why Pia was voted off, in addition to the theory that people assumed she was safe and tried to "save" others who seemed to be more at risk. Frankly, the main factor that Pia is gone, like five other females before her, are female voters, who are dialing and texting with their ovaries (don't ask me how they actually pull that off.)

I have talked about this on this blog a few times before. Sure, young teenage and pre-teen girls are part of this phenomena , but I really think that it is middle aged women, who by far devote the most time and energy to voting and who most sway the results. Once again, they are not voting anymore in recent seasons for who they think might be the "best singer" or most likely future star, but for the contestants that they would most want to be their fantasy boyfriend (and in delusions of some, those who they think they can meet on tour, follow around the country, and one day actually make their boyfriend.)

The fact that Pia is frankly a smoking hot babe (who might possibly have had some work done) did not help her cause. There are just not anywhere near enough straight guys or femme loving lesbians to match the passion that middle aged women have garnered for Idols in recent years, and for those like say Paul McDonald this year. If one were to take any time to browse some comments on the big Idol blogs, a lot of those women are just frankly jealous of her and even if they thought she was a good singer, were not going to vote for her. In retrospect, it is amazing that Katherine McPhee managed to be the runner up several years back. The voting demographic (and the practice of mass texting) has really changed the whole game. I do not think it is possible at this point for a woman to ever win Idol again, or finish second as Crystal Bowersox did last year, or third as Syesha Mercado did three years ago, or maybe even fourth as Allison Iraheta did two years ago. Right now, it's not looking good for Haley Reinhart and Lauren Alaina. They may very well be the next two to go.

I now also sort of have the feeling that next year, Idol may have a completely different system. Like the way each state elects a Committeeman and a Committeewoman to the Republican National Committee, for now on, we may be unfortunately be saddled with a system that will produce His and Her Idols. The contestants will be split up by boys and girls, and though the girls aspect of the competition will get a lot less voters, two Idol winners will be crowned at the end.

Another possibility to prevent such "shock" boots might be a moderated play on what X-Factor does. Perhaps America's votes will produce a Bottom Three in the early and mid rounds, but the judges' will have a final vote on who leaves.

For now though, Pia is off the show and even though her run ended too soon, she did have quite an opportunity come to her based on all of this. I do not think anybody could seriously claim that she does not have the vocal talent to have a career in the business. Whether she is going join up with David Foster somehow and completely go the ballad/diva route or whether she can make it in the world of mainstream Pop/R&B/Adult Contemporary, she will hopefully be signed to a deal and will have a chance to live her musical dreams. It was sad seeing her eliminated tonight, and watch her video farewell piece, where she was holding back the emotions when it showed her talking about how she was hoping to honor the memory of her grandparents.

Pia has every right to be disappointed, and even pissed off now, but she should also look at the bright side. Due to the fact that she was a shocking elimination in ninth place, in a year where many thought she deserved to win it all, she is going to get a lot of sympathy, and a lot more attention on the bi-coastal media tour she is about to embark on than she would have otherwise gotten had she lasted longer. In a way, she can become an American Martyr and ride that further than the title of American Idol could have taken her. Perhaps, she can find a way to pen or perform a song encompassing this entire situation.

So Pia, hold your head up high. Stay focused on the big picture and I think good things will happen for you. I just hope the middle aged women, decked out in the tour colors of their favorite guy Idol contestants, who you will be singing in front of this summer across America, show you the respect you deserve.