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Idol Elimination Night: Take It Easy, Chikezie

Lyndsey Parker
Reality Rocks

Wednesday is lovingly known as "Hump Day" to most, but is dreaded as "Dump Day" on American Idol...for it's the day when one of the finalists sadly gets, well, dumped.

Now, the AmIdol producers COULD rip off the proverbial Band-Aid quickly and mercifully, by just gathering the remaining singers onstage, then having Ryan Seacrest cut to the chase. You know, Ryan could just point to one of them and say, "Yo, buddy, you got cut. Bye."

But then, of course, each elimination episode would be about 30 seconds long. And that wouldn't please advertisers like Ford and Coke, who expect plenty of bang for their buck.

And so, the show's producers draaaaaggggg out the contestants' (and the viewers') misery every week, peeling off that Band-Aid sllloooowwwly during the course of an HOUR-long episode. This means about 59 minutes and 30 seconds of filler. 59 minutes and 30 seconds generously padded with redundant recaps, dinner-theater musical numbers, "in the studio" segments (i.e., glorified five-minute iTunes ads), woodenly rehearsed softball questions from carefully prescreened callers, and obligatory performances from Idol veterans (tonight's Kimberley Locke indeed looked and sounded great, but her performance was still a stall tactic).

Really now, this show should have a new sponsor besides Ford and Coca-Cola: Lee Press-On Nails. Because by the time this hour is finally up, everyone in the studio--and at home in front of their TV sets--has most likely nervously gnawed their nailbeds down to bloodied stubs. Nigel Lythgoe, why must you torture us so?

(Oh, and speaking of iTunes "in the studio" segments--did you get a load of Carly Smithson tonight, acting like she'd never been in a big studio with big producers before, playing dumb as she blathered naively about all the mysterious and confusing knobs and recording equipment? Puh-leeze. Back when she was signed to MCA for $2 million, she worked with some of the biggest names in the biz!)

Anyway, somewhere amid all of tonight's filler and fluff, the ultimate cruel game of musical chairs was eventually played it was revealed just who got a coveted spot on that comfy couch, and who had to sit on one of the bottom-three's rigid, uninviting stools.

So, the three that got stool'd tonight were Chikezie, Syesha Mercado, and--surprisingly--onetime frontrunner Jason Castro, making his first appearance in the bottom three.

Well, I didn't do such a fantastic job with my predictions this week (Chikezie was the only one I got right), though I was semi-correct by assuming that perennial bottom-three contestant Kristy Lee Cook would be safe this week, thanks to her heartland-pleasing song choice of "God Bless The USA." And Jason was only in the bottom three for maybe 14 seconds before Ryan Seacrest sent him back to the safety of the sofa. With mellow Jason's slow reaction time, he didn't even have a chance to get upset.

I'm personally upset, though, because there's one particular prediction I made last night that I really wish had come true: that Chikezie would ultimately be safe. Because he wasn't. Yes, tonight, Chikezie got cut. It's too bad. I didn't think he had what it took to win, necessarily, but I did think he brought something different to the competition (based on his fab Beatles performances). Therefore I wanted him to stick around a little longer and get back into "vibey" mode. that Chikezie's gone...anyone notice how under-represented soul/R&B is this season? Before Chikezie's ousting, Asia'h Epperson, Alexandrea Lushington, and Joanne Borghella were all eliminated in short order. Now only Syesha is left. Compare and contrast this R&B dearth to last season, when LaKisha Jones and Melinda Doolittle were in the top four. Or to season 2, when the top five included Kimberley Locke, Trenyce, and Ruben Studdard. Or to season 3, which featured soul-sista powerhouses like LaToya London, Jennifer Hudson, and Fantasia. Season 7 is comparatively a pretty whitewashed affair. I have no theory as to why this is, but it does have me scratching my head.

Let the conspiracy theorizing begin anew!


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