There was muchIdol-centric watercooler chit-chatthis morning, as there is every morning after an American Idol episode, particularly at this stage in the game whenit's down to the finals. But todaythe Idol chatter wasn't just about last night'sperformances, but also about this mysterious, ballyhooed change to the rules, aswitch-up announced tonight thatwould apparently change the show forever.
I had myown semi-educated guesses about what this big announcement might be. My prediction wasthe elimination process would be changed to be more like how it is on So You Think You Can Dance or America's Best Dance Crew, shows on which the outcomeis determined by a combo of viewers'votes and judges' expertise. On thoseshows the public does get its say, but the professionals possess ultimate vetopower--and therefore can rescue any of the undeserving bottom three (who "perform for their lives" to escape elimination) on thosenights when Americagets it wrong.
Some fanswere angered by such a possible rule revision on Idol, but I actualy thought it would be the right way togo. The only thing fans should be angered about, in my opinion, is the factthat such a policy didn't exist inpast seasons, when promising contenders like Michael Johns and ChrisDaughtry slipped through the cracks.
Of course, the "big twist" everyone was talkingabout today wasn't quite that big ortwisty. Instead, at the beginning of tonight'sdouble-elimination results show, Ryan Seacrest announced, and explained inmind-numbing detail, a new rule this season called the "Judges' Save." One time--and ONLY one time--thejudges will be able to save one contestant that they think deserves to escapeelimination. It's sort of like a GetOut Of Jail Free card for the judges. They can only use it once; the week theysave that one contestant, no one will go home, but two singers will go home thefollowing week; the decision to implement the Judges'Save must be unanimous among all four judges; and finally, it can only be usedup until the top five.
OK, got all that? Good.
This of course will ensure that a marketable (i.e."commercial"), and more importantly talented, singer will probably win that BMG recordcontract. That's a goodthing, I suppose. But it might also mean that this season will be really, really dull. Because aren't the controversial shocker eliminations part ofall the Idol fun? Every season has atleast one such shocker, and it's justthat sort of suspense that keeps people tuning in (and keeps people voting,actually, out of fear of future unjust eliminations). Will the voting processseem as important, and will the show be as interesting and unpredictable, nowthat the judges are working with a safety net?
I predicted it as such, in last night'sblog: Yes, I was wrong about Kris, but I did correctly forecast that Jasminewould be in the bottom and Megan would be "in trouble." And that's exactly how it panned out: Megan rebounded fromher decidedly non-rockin' cover of"Rockin' Robin," andJasmine got the ax.
Jasmine was then forced to go through the motions reprisingher losing song, "I'll BeThere," while the judges supposedly deliberated over whether or not theywanted to use their one Get Out Of Jail Free card this early to save Jasmine.The judges mimed their way through a fake discussion while Jasmine did nothingto convince them with an off-key performance that was even worse than last night's limp version.
"Jasmine, we discussed it," Randy Jackson told her(LIAR!). "And sorry, baby, you'reheaded home."
I guess Jasmine WON'Tbe there, after all. She exited the stage to the strains of Carrie Underwoodcovering Motley Crue's "HomeSweet Home" (really!), and then it was all over.
That left...Anoop Desai and Jorge Nunez.
Last week, I would have never guessed that these two wouldhave been in the bottom, especially so early in the season. Both put on greatperformances last week that made them seen like real possibilities for the top five. Butoh, what a difference a week--and a couple of really weak Michael Jacksoncovers--can make. Both Anoop and Jorge were bad last night (and I DON'T mean Michael-Jackson-bad), and both deserved tobe up for elimination based on those performances alone.
But before Ryan announced tonight'sfinal cut, out bounded Kelly Clarkson, surely not coincidentally only a dayafter her fourth album, All I Ever Wanted,hit stores. She described the album as a mix of "dance to urban to a littlebit of country"--conspicuously failing to mention "rock 'n'roll" in her description, lest anyone mistake this new effort foranother dark and edgy creation a la MyDecember. (I personally really liked MyDecember, but apparently it put some people off, especially Clive Davis ather label, who launched a vicious and somewhat successful smear campaign against it.)
And then finally, Ryan announced that Anoop Dogg was out ofthe doghouse and Jorge was the other eliminated singer this week. Jorge unenthusiasticallysang bad again--and by that, I mean he reprised "Never Can SayGoodbye," in an attempt to win that Get Out Of Jail Free card. But it wasno use, of course. And Simon was (surprise!) not quite as nice as Randy was toJasmine when delivering this news.
"Are you going to save Jorge?" Ryan asked. "NO," Simon answered, without missing a beat orcracking a smile. Well, I guess Jorge CAN say goodbye, after all .
So tune in next week to see if Megan and Anoop rebound, ifAdam and Danny continue their winning streak...and if that all-important Judges' Save card gets utilized. Seacrest out!
- Ryan Seacrest