I just got an email from a friend who could not make head nor tails out of this confusing article from the Associated Content.
The “wildcard round” is one show, scheduled for next Thurday. During the episode, the judges will add 3 more contestants to the 9 contestants already voted through to the Top 12 by viewers during the 3 previous semi-final weeks.
This Reality TV World article, from December, provides a clearer explanation of what will go down, straight from Ken Warwick’s press conference:
Then on Thursday, March 5, Fox will air a special “Wild Card” performance episode that will feature each semifinalist group’s highest remaining votegetter who didn’t already get to automatically advance to the finals will get a second chance to perform along with several additional semifinalists that the judges will select.
“They [will be able to] make that fourth show up to probably about nine or ten people, we haven’t quite decided yet, ” Warwick explained.
After all the “Wild Card” semifinalists perform, the judges — not the show’s home viewers — will immediately select three of them to complete the season’s twelve finalists.
The Associated Content article claims that 12 contestants will compete in the wildcard round.
But it would be impossible to have 12 contestants sing plus the judges choose their picks, all within a 1 hour show. Unless they assemble 12 contestants, but only allow 8-10 perform. That’s how the wildcard operated during Season 3.
So I’m thinking there will be 9-10 contestants performing next Thursday, made up of the 3 next-highest vote-getters from the semi-final rounds, with the producers/judges choosing the rest. Already, we know that Anoop Desai will compete, as he was the next-highest vote getter after Michael Sarver last week.
Also, I’m hearing that the wildcard contestants will sing the same song they performed during their semi-final week, but that’s still a rumor. Makes sense–without a week between the last semi-final round and the wildcard (like in season’s past) there is no time for the band to work up new arrangements with the newly chosen wildcard picks.