Thursday, March 21, 2013

American Idol Top 9 Results

Who should have been eliminated: Lazaro Arbos
Who I predicted would be eliminated: Amber Holcomb
Who was eliminated: Paul Jolley

So, there we have it, times really are changing on American Idol. The only "white guy" in the Finals is now "Gone, Gone, Gone", before we even got a chance to know whether or not he played the guitar.

I was somewhat surprised that Paul Jolley found his way into the Bottom Three, let alone at the very bottom. I had him ranked as high as fifth for his performance last night. Maybe I need to re-watch it. It seemed to me like Paul always played it a bit safe, and did not all exhibit star quality, but that he was a passable, competent singer, at least compared to the other guys, who are more apt to make vocal mistakes. America agreed with the judges though and Paul joined Devin Velez and Amber Holcomb, the two singers I thought would be at the low end of the vote totals.

Of course, Paul had to sing for the save on the same evening that the last two AI singers, who were "saved" had returned as performing alumni. Singing "Alone", which he had done two weeks ago, when he made it into the Top 10 on Results Night, was certainly not enough, and he would not share the fate of Casey Abrams and Jessica Sanchez (both of whom are much better singers.)

I thought Paul's performance of Alone was again passable enough, but it is also a song that is far out of his league, as it relates to the original version, and covers of it performed by some really great past female Idol contestants.

What can we learn from his ouster? It says to me that this season, it is not enough to simply be a white male who looks good on tv. The kind of female Idol voters, who have dominated the past few seasons really have been voting for who they want to be their fantasy boyfriend, and this time (perhaps unlike Adam Lambert), they accepted the fact that Paul would just never really be that into them. I think also that is quite likely that those very females are just not watching or voting in heavy numbers this season, considering the absence of straight white guys on the show (not counting Keith Urban, Jimmy Iovine, and potentially Ryan Seacrest.)

He also was less vulnerable and less sympathetic than Lazaro (who Idol threw under the bus tonight by pointing out that he was dishonest about having claimed to have just learned his song the night before.) Additionally, while Paul was given a plaque from his hometown tonight, he had to split the Volunteer State vote with two other Tennessee residents, Kree Harrison and Janelle Arthur. 

Mr. Jolley is never going to be a country superstar, but as I said last night, there is no reason why he cannot use this experience to make money as a singer, even a background vocalist. If he stays as a solo artist, I think he is more likely to be headlining clubs and cruise ships, rather than arenas. It will be interesting to see if he gets a particular question on his post-elimination media tour and how he answers it. Paul seems like a nice person and he should be proud to have gotten as far as he did, having decided to try out this season as a tribute to his recently passed grandfather.

We also learned that next week, the Elite Eight, will sing the "Music of Motor City." Nothing about Motown Records,specifically, but just Detroit I assume. Will somebody dare take on Ted Nugent?