Martina McBride performs Anyway, from her newly-released album, …Waking Up Laughing…
Tonight’s super-speshul elimination gimmick as explained by Nigel Lythgoe to TV Week, …Im going to split the group into the highest voting group and the lowest voting group, and then Im going to take one of them and say, ‹congratulations, youre safe, go and join the group that is safe and have them make the decision.
Oh, and according Nigel, also from the TV Week interview, he’s going to settle the Simon Eye Roll Controversy once and for all. Nigel will be taking out “raw footage” of the exchange between Simon and Chris, and “were actually going to show it. Kill me now. Please.
And, a pre-taped performance by Fergie will be featured tonight.
Blake Lewis (Sent back first)
Who had to choose:
Melinda Doolittle (except, she sat in the middle of the two groups and refused to pick)
Who went home:
Bye Bye Sanjaya
Admit it. You all are gonna miss him. Certainly, the journalists and bloggers who made hay out of his continued survival on Idol will be lost without that easy hook to build their stories around. The producers will miss him, because he provided a harmless controversy that kept Idol in the headlines and the buzz of the watercooler talk. In fact, at work, every meeting I walked into, the first thing that came out of somebody’s mouth–no matter how critical the purpose of the meeting, was, “When are they gonna vote that guy off Idol!” No lie. What will we talk about now? Middleware and websites? That sux!
Anyway, although I made plenty of my own snarky comments about Sanjaya and his often terrible singing, his continued presence on Idol was fine with me. It was the overheated response of the media to his survival week after week that really got on my last nerve. Seriously. After 6 seasons, I learned to accept the fact that Idol democracy=anything can happen. A fantastic singer may leave before a terrible singer. That’s just the way the Idol cookie crumbles. Sanjaya stayed because he had fans. And there’s no right way or wrong way to vote. The worsters and Howard Sterners have just as much right to vote for the worst, as anyone else has to vote for the best. This is America, baby, and that’s how democracy works, dammit. Besides, I have no doubt there were folks who voted for Sanjie ’cause they truly enjoyed his Idol performances. It’s all subjective anyway, isn’t it?
So, I congratulate Sanjaya for playing an excellent game. He’s a very savvy young man. As far as I’m concerned, it’s all good. I just hope the post-boot media frenzy doesn’t get too crazy. Chris Sligh mentions in his blog that Sanjaya was shielded from a lot of the negative press during the competition. Now that he’s out of the AI bubble, all bets are off. I hope the press goes easy on him.
When the show opens, like last week, with Ryan staring down Sanjaya (“Will your favorite leave!”) I thought for sure he was safe. They wouldn’t screw around with somebody they’re about to eliminate, would they? Sigh. Even after 5 years of watching this show, I can still have my Pollyanna moments. Silly me.
First order of business: Clearing up the Simon Cowell Eyeroll Controversy. Who in their right mind could believe that Simon would diss the victims of a horrible tragedy on live national television? That’s not rational thinking, people. I was a little appalled they were even going to dignify the controversy by addressing it. But, they kept it short. The film clip they aired proved without out a doubt that Simon was doing his typical thing of ignoring the contestant–Chris Richardson, who was talking about the VA shooting–to have a conversation with Paula. Paula was trying to explain what Chris was saying to Simon, and he responded with an eye roll. Case closed. Thank Jeebus.
Sidenote: Anyone else catch that Chris looked pretty pissed every time the camera cut to him during the segment?
Second Sidenote: Bucky Covington in the house! Whoo hoo!
Of course, if it’s an hour long show, it means tons of timewasters! This week, Ryan takes a trip to the Kodak theater to talk to fans (Don’t Care). The kids watch a preview of Shrek III (Totally Don’t Care). And the kids tell us what’s on their Ipods (Chris makes a Herman’s Hermits joke–that saves the bit.)
Tonight’s group number is disappointingly free of unfortunate choreography, off key harmonizing and corpse-like contestant faces. Damn. In fact, the performance is actually…. really good. Really. The kids sound great. Good job. But please, next time, bring back the cheese, mmkay?
Some chick named Kristen is sitting in the audience tonight ’cause she answered last week’s American Idol Challenge Question correctly. This week’s question is newbie-friendly. Who is considered this year’s rocker? Not just a rocker, or a singer who happens to sing rock. But, “this year’s rocker” as in “who did we find that we could cram into this particular pre-fab stereotype?” Heh.
Ryan introduces Fergie to the Idol stage. Well, OK, not really, because the performance is pre-taped. According to someone from Popwatch sitting in the audience, when Ryan announced Fergie at the Top of the show, some in the audience nearly peed their pants in anticipation of Ms. Pee Pee Pants herself, only to find out she wasn’t actually singing live. Bummer. Besides looking like someone had just smashed her in the face with a frying pan, the Ferg actually had me humming along.
Tonight’s Idol Ford commercial reaches back to the fabulous 80’s and A Flock of Seagulls, a band that featured a lead singer with rather interesting hair. Kind of like Sanjaya. The story line features the kids on some some super-sekrit spy mission involving a Ford vehicle. Or something.
More on next week’s huuuge Idol Gives Back special. Ryan announces the stars who will appear: Pink, Gwen Stefani, Earth, Wind and Fire, Il Divo, Keira Knightly, Hugh Grant, Josh Groban, Jack Black, Helen Mirren, Rascal Flatts, Quincy Jones, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Annie Lenox…
Plus a duet between “two of the biggest stars in musical history.” Hmmm. Bono and Borat maybe? Ha. Ryan asks us to join him in making Pop Music History. O Rly? No, no no. I really am going to try to set my cynicism aside for this event. Mostly. Ok, even if I’m unable to be 100% good, I will be voting and donating next week.
It’s time for the annual Top 7 split-the-kids-up-into-two-groups-of-three-and-humiliate-the-7th-by-making-them-choose-the-top-group. Such fun. Ryan calls the kids’ names one by one and asks each to take their place on either side of the stage.
Ryan explains, “I’m going to split these 7 people into two groups. One group will have the highest number of votes, one group will have the lowest number of votes.”
Sanjaya Malakar is sent to the right side of the stage. Phil Stacey is sent to the left. Jordin Sparks is sent to the left side of the stage to stand with Phil. Lakisha Jones is sent to the right to stand with Sanjaya. Blake Lewis is sent to the right to stand with Lakisha and Sanajaya. Chris Richardson is sent to the right to stand with Phil and Jordin.
That leaves Melinda Doolittle as the lucky duck who gets to choose sides. Blake looks like he totally knows he’s in the bottom. Phil and Chris stand smiling, prolly cause they are standing next to golden girl, Jordin, who was practically anointed the next American Idol by Simon the night before. Phil and Chris just might figure they’re safe.
After Ryan tells Melinda she’s safe (and we knew she was, ’cause Nigel told us so) he asks her to do “one more thing.” He says, “I want you to look at these two groups and I want you to pick the one that you think is also safe this week and will be back again next week to sing.” Naturally, the self-effacing Melinda looks helpless for a bit, and then sits down right in the middle of the floor, refusing to choose. Everybody smiles and claps. Of course Melinda is too nice to choose!
“That is fair and fitting for you.” says Ryan, “Just one more request…Just slide to your left.” And Melinda joins Chris, Jordin and Phil. “This group is safe, and is back next week, ” declares Ryan. Hugs all around before they head back to the couches to lots of clapping and cheering.
“And, ” continues Ryan “here is your bottom three at the center of the stage, America.” Randy thinks it’s “crazy” that Blake is up there. Ryan asks Blake if he’s surprised. “It is what it is, ” says Blake. Yeah, he’s surprised. So am I. (I could say more but I’ll spare you all my tin-foil-hat theories this week…) Paula understands why “two of you are up there, ” but she doesn’t say who. Simon grins as he probably thinks, “Buh Bye Sanjaya!”
Third sidenote: More interesting stuff from Popwatch: After Ryan cut to commercial, Sanjaya broke down and needed to be comforted by LaKisha and Chris. Afterward, LaKisha started crying too. Melinda made a beeline for Nigel, plenty pissed that she was put in an awkward position.
After the break, the kids sit through the Shrek 3 video and a short interview with Antonio Banderas from the audience, (wife Melanie Griffith and kids are in tow) pimping his movie. And then, Martina McBride takes the stage to sing some bland contemporary country tune. Afterward, her daughter joins her on stage and basically steals her mom’s thunder with a few cute kiddie lines.
After the break, Sanjaya, LaKisha and Blake are back on stage. Ryan, with a “Blake, you’re safe, ” sends a very relieved Blake Lewis back to the couches. The camera cuts to a smiling Simon.
“Down to Sanjaya and LaKisha, ” says Ryan. The lights dim and he starts the blah blah you sang blah blah spiel, then Ryan says, “America voted, after the biggest Top 7 vote in Idol history, over 38 million votes, Sanjaya….you are going home tonight.” The biggest, rudest cheer erupts from the audience. Bleah. “Lakisha, ” says Ryan, “You are safe.”
LaKisha and Sanjaya hug for a long, long time. Sanjaya’s good-bye video rolls, and he wipes away tears as he watches. Afterward, Sanjaya sings out, changing the words to his song, “Let’s give them something to talk about, other than hair…hair…hair…” Even Simon smiles.
Sanjaya IS love…