Contestant Aaron Kelly arrives at Fox's Meet the Top 12 "American Idol" finalists held at Industry on March 11, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
So I’m thinking maybe it’s time that people got a refresher course on this whole “American Idol” voting thing.
The point of the competition is to vote for the very good singers and send home the ones who aren’t as good. If you don’t, there are two problems: The first is that you stop hearing the better singers because they’re gone. The second is that you hear more from the inferior ones because they’re still there.
Seriously, what was the point of sending home Lilly Scott and keeping, say, Lacey Brown? I like Lacey’s voice and hope she finds herself soon, although her rambling answer to Ryan Seacrest’s question about what kind of artist she is did not exactly fill me with optimism. But if you had to pay a $5 cover to hear one or the other perform a set, who would you pick?
You’d really rather hear Paige Miles try her hand at a Rolling Stones song than Scott? Or to have Didi Benami give it a shot? Because that, my friends, is what you are going to get next week. Don’t complain to me when you do.
That was the biggest disappointment of the last semifinal round. Well, tied for the biggest disappointment with the Randy Jackson bikini photo. Seriously, guys, you had 24 hours to come up with an image for the obvious riff off of Simon Cowell’s comment last night, your show makes a bazillion dollars a year and the best you can do is crop Randy’s head onto a bikini body? An 8-year-old with Photoshop could do that. Heck, it looked like an 8-year-old with Photoshop did do that. Where was the CGI?
Anyway, it wasn’t just a sad night for the Scott fan club — three other singers got the unkindest cut of all. The other woman to go was Katelyn Epperly, with the surprise being that she and Miles were both up onstage at the same time, meaning one was assured of sticking around. Paige got the reprieve, a fair result for someone who was solid for the first two semifinal rounds before laying an egg Tuesday.
There was less outrage among the men, mainly because aside from Michael Lynche, Lee Dewyze and Casey James, they’re all pretty much the same right now. I’ll miss Todrick Hall, and I wouldn’t have sent Alex Lambert home yet, but will I remember that either was on “Idol” in a month? Well, yes, because I write about the show. But most people probably won’t.
Or they might remember Lambert because he looked so completely heartbroken that everyone who didn’t call in and vote for him felt guilty. If not, they should have. How could you look at those red-rimmed puppy-dog eyes and not say, “In hindsight, his voice is way better than Tim Urban’s. We should have kept him around!” Unless you didn’t vote for him because you were afraid that Ellen DeGeneres would make more banana jokes, in which case, I can respect that decision.
But Urban … it doesn’t take a genius to see that he’s a better bet to be this season’s Sanjaya than he is to win the competition. From barely slipping into the Top 24 to performing poorly the first two weeks of the semifinals, he’s parlayed one decent week into a spot in the final 12. I credit the mop-top haircut, and also that people were pleasantly surprised that he sang “Hallelujah” without imploding that they felt he deserved to stick around.
And how fortunate is Andrew Garcia that his performance of “Straight Up” in Hollywood made the broadcast? In a way, it stinks because the judges won’t let him move beyond that, and Garcia must be tempted to erase that from their memories, but it’s what got him a spot in the final 12. Well, that and the neck tattoo.
At the end of the night your final 12 are Aaron Kelly, Andrew Garcia, Casey James, Crystal Bowersox, Didi Benami, Katie Stevens, Lacey Brown, Lee Dewyze, Michael Lynche, Paige Miles, Siobhan Magnus and Tim Urban. I hope you’re proud of yourselves, because those are the people tackling Mick Jagger and friends next week.
Craig Berman is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/craigberman.