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Goodbye, Melinda

John Maynard is filling in for Lisa de Moraes who is in New York covering the annual network upfront presentations. She's back blogging about "Idol" next week.

Melinda's gone. Blake is safe!

To quote Homer Simpson: "D'oh!"

So, how appropriate that the yellow, balding, fat cartoon character would open the penultimate results show with a not-as-funny-as-Homer-should be opening monologue. The appearance of Homer (who's got a 400th episode and a new movie to plug) is just the first of the long, long list of the Fox infomercials that litter this long, long hour-long results show.

The camera pans the finalists. Just when we thought Melinda had given up the deer-in-the-headlights, "Who, me?" look, she does it again. Maybe it is time for her to go.

Another plug: Ryan tells us to get ready for this summer's "American Idol" tour coming to a venue near you. Sanjaya, Phil, Gina, all your favorites will be back. Even Haley! (as Homer would say: "Mmmmm, Haley").

So, remember those brief video snippets on Tuesday night's show of the finalists being lauded in their hometowns. Wednesday night we get the extended versions starting with a weepy Jordin retuning to her hometown in Glendale, Ariz. The local Fox station there reports the story like a royal visit.

Same goes for the Seattle Fox station's coverage of Blake's return to that city. And wait... isn't that Jonathan Jayne in the audience who, with Kenneth "Bush Baby" Swale, got his 15 minutes of fame from that very first mean-spirited audition show.

Back live: last year's "Idol" also-ran Elliott Yamin performs a song from his new album (Warning: his tour begins Thursday night in Alexandria). We like the new teeth but he sort of looks like the Geico caveman with that that mop of hair and scraggly beard.

Paula is beyond excited to see Elliott back.

After the performance, Elliott thanks every person ever involved in the show, including the sponsors, and even makes up a sponsor: Porsche. Ryan, knowing where his bread is buttered, quickly says that's a "no-no" as Fox executives start drafting an apology letter to the show's main sponsor: Ford.

Back to the videotape for more local Fox news coverage of Melinda's teary trip home to Tennessee. One major fan who came out to see her says that Melinda "has gotten me through a lot of tough times." Really,

We're back in the studio where it appears Simon is sleeping. Hang in there, dude, just two episodes left.

Maroon 5 plays a ditty lead by the svelte, short-haired lead singer Adam Levine and backed by a bunch of long-hairs. Paula is, again, beyond excited.

Finally, it's go time. Jordin is safe. Melinda and Blake stand awkwardly side-by-side. Blake makes a lame joke about being a machine. Melinda shoots him daggers.

And then she's gone.

Editor's note: For more on last night's "American Idol," read Gene Robinson's take in the TV column.

By Maura McCarthy  |  May 17, 2007; 9:34 AM ET
Categories:  "American Idol"  
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Comments

Jordin Sparks has the "perfect teeth" factor, and will probably win because of it. If Brittany Spears didn't have really nice teeth, her popularity wouldn't have gotten to the level that it did. Elliot Yamin got the memo, he got $50,000 in porcelain veneers and other dental work.

Posted by: Irish_Ed | May 17, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Glad to see Jordin and Blake in the finale!

Posted by: Milwaukee | May 17, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

The results of the American Idol show indicates to me that either America has really poor taste or the show has tanked with such weak contestants. Melinda had a great voice but no real stage presence. Jordin shrieks and that apparently is considered singing by too many people. Blake is entertaining but doesn't have a dynamite voice.

The AI producers really need to step back and revamp their approach to the program from the auditioning process, the judges/judging, and the voting system. IMHO the show has run it's course!

Posted by: pnina | May 17, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Great, another season where an also-ran will be better than the winner. Blake will probably win -- even though he is the second most uncoachable contestant this season. Then his one album will tank and we will never hear from him again. Sadly, in a few years we will be seeing more of Jordin than we ever wanted to (please, for the love of all that is holy, keep your panties on).

Do you think the ratings are dying because 1) the winners are bleah and 2) the show is about the show rather than the competition?

Posted by: ep | May 17, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I think a big part of what has sunk this year's season is the same thing that makes the beginning of the season so watchable.

The AI producers admit that they accept the top 1% and the bottom 1% to see Simon, Paula and Randy. While this may make for some entertaining television during the first few episodes, it also waters down the talent pool later in the competition.

Maybe the show were do better, and maybe we would get more entertaining and talented competitors, if AI only accepted the best 2% of the auditioners.

The actual evaluation of true talent might even snap Simon out of his boredom.

Posted by: American Idle | May 17, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Melinda was robbed. Even though Jordin and Blake will easier to sell to the tween-teen market, Melinda was clearly the better singer and should be in the final.

Jordin Sparks wins AI, and in six month lose 30 lbs and goes shopping with Nicole Richie on the cover of US Weekly.

Posted by: Lisa1 | May 17, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Far from a teenager, I've enjoyed this program since the beginning, but it's worn thin. I don't enjoy the mean spiritedness of poking fun at the country's most UNtalented, and I'm tired of being told that what's a popularity contest is anything else.

To keep any audience in the future, I think the whole format needs to be revamped including the silly rule that there "have" to be exactly half males and half females in the finals. Without that rule, Beat Box Boy would have long ago been history and we would never have had to endure the excessive "15 minutes" of Sanjaya.

Clearly the two best looking and youngest competitors won. But not the best singers. Never the best singers. So stop trying to sell me that line along with the Coca-Cola and Ford already. Just don't even go there. It insults what little intelligence I've got left after 5 years of this drivel.

Posted by: Jean | May 17, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

This is silly. I knew there'd be backlash about last night's results, but puhleeze. This is American Idol! Where is it written that the best singer should win? That's not the show. Yes, Melinda is the best singer, but is she a pop idol? Not really. She'll go on to great successes and this show gave her recognition. I think it's the best thing that could happen to her. Now the two who remain are entertaining for different reasons, especially to the gaggle of 13-year-old girls who will be following Jordin and Blake's careers, whatever that is. Get over it, people. This is not the Grammy Awards or a Julliard audition. It's American Idol.

Posted by: Jen | May 17, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

i·dol (īd'l) Pronunciation Key
n.

1) An image used as an object of worship.
A false god.
2) One that is adored, often blindly or excessively.
3) Something visible but without substance.

Nowhere in this definition does it say best singer! Taking a name literally, no wonder the show is no longer about singing alone.

My question is this. As long as the results are not rigged, what was Melinda's downfall? I see it as being twofold. First, Simon stated "My melinda" at the end of Tuesday night's show. Second, I think people expected more out of Melinda with her final song. Not necessarily the singing and performance, but the song choice. Heck, if a "non-professional" like Blake can learn a new song, I think Melinda could too.

Honestly, I think it should have been Blake and Melinda in the final.

Jean-There is no requirement that the final be between a male and female. Take Seasons 2 and 3 for example - Reuben and Clay, and Fantasia and Diana. The other seasons always have a dominating number of one sex in the final 4 - Season 1 - 3 girls/1 guy, Season 5 - 3 guys/1 girl, and this season - 3 girls/1 guy. I see it solely as the majority sex votes get watered down due to their numbers. So if half of the voters like male singers and the other half like female singers, the male gets a full 50%, the females split the 50%. Simple!

Posted by: VA AI Watcher | May 17, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

John -- your post is so much better than the article by Gene Robinson that appeared in the paper.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | May 17, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Joe Nash, at least learn how to spell before posting your asinine and most likely racist comments.

Posted by: st.louis | May 17, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

VA AI Watcher - when I referred to the "finalists" - I meant the Top 12 - where, in fact, it is some "rule" that there have to be an equal number (6/6) males/females. It's at that point that I don't even think half the males (including Blake) would have made it this time around had that not been a requirement. I realize that the "final two" could be any combination.

The Top 12 are "finalists" to me because they get to go on the AI Tour. That's a pretty big consolation prize since I'm sure they get PAID.

Posted by: Jean | May 17, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Look, we knew Melinda was doomed when her appearances were bookended by Shrek III commercials. Don't tell me that was a coincidence. She'll do great in Vegas -- unless one of those crazy tigers gets on the loose.

BTW, anyone else notice that Blake looks like a young Robin Williams -- who is also overrated.

It's time to admit that this season's competition jumped the shark when Sanjaya got the boot. By my count, we've been deprived of at least 5 stellar hairdos, four Simon meltdowns, three "that was a'ight"s and two nutty-eyed "the girls love you Sanjaya"s.

Posted by: Grady | May 17, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Umm...Blake is not entertaining. Melinda should have won hands down. Her voice was poised and brilliant, and she had a true stage presence. Melinda is a class act. Jordin is great, but Melinda was excellent. American Idol has always been about "image", but voting off Melinda for Blake should just be illegal.

Posted by: profyle424 | May 17, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Too bad Joe Nash's mommy didn't give him more love, else he wouldn't have to post his racists ramblings here five times a day in order to troll for attention. He could just spend the time getting fitted for his new designer KKK hood, the one with eye holes so his ass can see.

What is killing Idol is not the contestants but the show's insistence on making the kids sing songs by groups from the 70s-80s that were never meant to be sung by soloists, and by the ungodly filling of hours upon hours with crap.

We are over it, and tuned in for the final ten minutes last night figuring we really wouldn't miss anything. I mean, the results shows really aren't even worth Tivo-ing at this point.

Simon and Paula wrestling with each other has also gotten pretty stale. And Randy's "dawg" and "check it outs" really should be laid to rest. It's as if he thinks he will make money at some point licensing his catch phrases. God help us if he does.

Melinda will have a fine recording career but having said that, they got the final two right.

Jordin will be able to record everything from Kelly Clarkson-Avril Lavigne styled stuff to Fergie to J-Lo.

And it's nice a fresh young face like Blake has a shot after the domination of the show for years by Southern voters.

Criminy, they foisted Taylor Hicks upon the world, who last week couldn't even fill the House of Blues in Hollywood, where most of the audience was 30 years older than he is, and he put everyone to sleep by performing stuff off his new album. Taylor, meet Rueben. The South will not rise again, if these guys are any indication.

Posted by: filmex | May 17, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Hello, Joe Nash?

KKK called. They want their white hood back.

Posted by: blog reader | May 17, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Puh-leeze. Melinda will get a recording contract, don't worry. Yes, she is the best singer. Just because someone 'loses' on AI, it doesn't mean we'll never hear from them again. Actually, I think it's better to not win AI but still get that recording contract.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 17, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Melinda was the best singer, and that getting voted off last night will not in any way hurt her career. Except for Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, most Idol winners aren't doing all that great. Meanwhile, the "also-rans" Jennifer Hudson, Chris Daughtry and Clay Aiken are enjoying much more success than the people who actually won the seasons in which they competed.

Posted by: Amanda | May 17, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

For all those saying Melinda was robbed: how many of you called in to vote for her? I think people figured she had it in the bag and became complacent and didn't vote for her. I know I didn't. (Of course, I also didn't really care that much either....)

Posted by: DC | May 17, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

For what it's worth, my parents, ages 68 and 82, both like Blake a lot and they really don't listen to pop music -- they either listen to jazz standards or opera. (Of course, they like Melinda, too.) When I asked my son in high school who his friends like best on the show (who pretty much listen to hip hop and alternative rock), he answered Blake. So is it all about appealing to 13 year old girls? I don't think so.

I don't think it's it's fair to either him or Jordin to say they got here on looks -- there were a number of guys and girls who were more conventionally good-looking than they are, including some who got eliminated early. I think Blake made it this far because he's entertaining, spirited and creative, and although his musical ideas don't always hit the mark, it made the show more interesting that he dove in and dared to throw in more complex rhythms or an unfamiliar interpretation. And when he did pull it off, like Bon Jovi night, it came across as joyful. I think he was uneven over the past several weeks because not everything he was called on to sing was really his style, but if he works with a good producer and gets the right material I think he could develop into an excellent live act.

Posted by: Hellion | May 17, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Hellion,

I think you are very right about Blake - his style is not something that I usually like, but wow, does he make me want to sing along and get moving. He is original - more so than he is given credit for. And more than being able to sing, I think that he is a musician - someone who can write the stuff he does. I don't get that feeling about Jordin or Melinda. If Jordin wants to win, she has to do something besides the ballads she has come to rely on so heavily. She has been BORING the last couple of weeks. Blake's Bon Jovi was excellent, as was the stuff he did the very first week - I can't remember what it was but they played it in the background while showing him at home. He is good - and will most likely will be my first American Idol CD purchase - even though I am SO NOT the demographic he should appeal to.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 17, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I hope Blake Lewis wins. At least, unlike Jordin, he's normal and talented. He deserves to be American Idol.

Posted by: Joe Nash | May 17, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Yeah Blake...you da best

Posted by: LA GOP | May 17, 2007 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Oh my god, Joe Nash, are you on this blog because the Aryan Nation felt your views were too disfunctional and kicked you off? I am sure there are other racist blogs for you to be on, please go...YOU ARE NOT WANTED HERE.

Posted by: st. louis | May 17, 2007 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Joe Nash - what is your PROBLEM?

Posted by: ditto St. Louis | May 18, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Joe Nash's problem is clearly what happens when you let a third grade child have access to a computer and the Internet.

Oops...I apologize. I didn't mean to insult school age children.

Joe Nash is someone that is so imbred due to his fear of other races that his intelligence is plummeting. Don't worry, people like him get weeded out of the gene pool because they only breed with like minded people and their successive generations get weaker and weaker. Darwinism will deal with him if we just ignore him. Just look at his posting and you'll already see signs of the low mentality and stupidity that signals how week he is genetically. By his grandchildren's generation, they probably won't be able to feed themselves without help.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | May 18, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

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