Sure, I got the warm fuzzies watching Matt Giraud get saved Wedneseday night. The moment, with the contestants leading the crowd in a chant, Matt moved to tears and everybody crowding the stage to give him a huge group hug was incredible TV.
And incredible TV is why the Save exists in the first place. This week’s Save should put to reast any lingering notions that it exists to prevent shock boots, as the producers have been telling us. Matt’s elimination was neither shocking nor unexpected. And when he “sang for his life” he was only nominally better than the night before. Yet, he was saved.
I’ve always suspected that Simon knows the results ahead of time. I’m thinking there was a big production meeting earlier in the day where it was decided that, strategically speaking, Top 7 was the night to use the save. Waiting a week would have probably meant saving the less desirable (but not by much) Anoop Desai or Lil Rounds, or risking pissing off the viewers by not using the save at all (all that and no save?). Plus, saving a contestant week 6 would mean screwing up the 2 song format for Top 5.
Speaking of which, how will the producers manage 10 performances in an hour next week? Last year’s Top 5 featured Paula Abdul’s infamous psychic critique of a performance she hadn’t seen yet. This year, with 4 judges needing to speak (and the public thoroughly rejecting the judges’ tag-team strategy from last week) I can’t imagine how they plan to handle it. I won’t be surprised if we wind up with a 5 song episode anyway.
Despite this week’s fun TV, I’m still not convinced the judges save is a good thing. Next week, if Matt outlasts a favorite–Adam Lambert, for example–that warm wonderful feeling will dissipate pretty quickly. It’s all fun and games until somebody loses an eye.
Wednesday’s bottom 3, Matt Giraud, Lil Rounds and Anoop Desai are the contestants who will be fighting for that 5th spot in the Top 5, more than likely. Anoop has the least chance of nabbing it. Only because, with his triumphant save, Matt’s earned some audience good will, and I think he’ll be given a good spot in the performance order, and favorable critiques so he advances.
Not that TPTB are in Matt’s corner. I think they want him to advance to 5 just to make the Save seem worth it. And they care just a bit more for him than Anoop Desai, who no matter what he does at this point, cannot gain favor with Simon. It’s too bad, because Anoop has been stepping it up the last couple of weeks. And, looking at his finals performances as a whole so far, his balladeering has been stellar. The problem comes when he goes upbeat. Disco week could prove to be a problem for him.
But the good news for Anoop, is that Matt and Lil, based on past performances, may not fair much better on the Idol stage this week.
Lil Rounds R&B background should help her conquer disco week, but it didn’t much help her during Motown week. I’d be really surprised if she turned it around. At this point, the producers seem to have abandoned their once-upon-a-time last-girl-standing for Allison Iraheta. Because Lil probably isn’t vote splitting, she may make it to 5th, but not any further, unless she has a miraculous turn around.
Matt’s problem in this competition is well illustrated in his answer to the question Ryan posed–what would Matt have done differently–when he hit the bottom 3. The answer, “I wouldn’t have tried to make the song so much my own, ” reveals that he’s just trying to please the judges at this point, without having a clear idea of who he is as an artist.
And I would say that all three contestants–Lil, Anoop and Matt–haven’t yet developed a clear musical identity.
So, here’s my current prediction:
Adam/Danny – 1 or 2 – Danny seems to have loyal fans who vote for him no matter what. He is a force to be reckoned with. Adam is a strong contender, but he’s polarizing. It’s not in the bag for Adam yet.
Kris/Allison – 3 or 4 – Allison is the new favorite girl. Simon is paying attention–there will be no more mustache painting during her judges critiques. Kris, out of the soul boys has not only been the most consistent, but is mostly a great picker of songs (Don Henley notwithstanding) and has the chops to arrange and perform music to suit his style. He’s this season’s dark horse, galloping from obscurity all the way to the Top 5. Good for him.