Can The Judges Save "American Idol?"
"American Idol" introduces -- The Judges's Save!
"Tamyra Grey, Michael Johns, Jennifer Hudson, Chris Daughtry -- what do these people have in common?" show host Ryan Seacrest asks at the top of the show.
And no, "They mercifully got cut free of the 'American Idol' Muzak Machine and instead of going back to flipping flapjacks, as Seacrest once suggested was the fate of all non-winning Idolettes, went on to have brilliant careers in the music industry" is not the right answer -- we draw your attention to Michael Johns and Tamyra Grey.
The correct answer, Seacrest says, is that there was "an uproar" when viewers cut these Idolettes from the competition by giving them the fewest votes some week or another, some season or another.
Yes, viewers let it be known in no uncertain terms how outraged they were that they had cut their favorite Idolettes from the competition too soon.
"And in response to that we're introducing a new rule this season -- The Judges's Save," Seacrest says emotionally. It's the change in the fabric of "Idol" that Seacrest promised to reveal tonight.
Once, and once only, from now until the Idolettes are whittled down to the Top-5, judges Randy Jackson, Kara DioGuardi, Paula Abdul, and Simon Cowell can unanimously decide to veto the viewers' decision and save the Idolette who got the fewest votes that week.
Never again will the "American Idol" producers be forced to let money-printing machines like Jennifer Hudson or Chris Daughtry slip through their fingers just because a few million lousy viewers cast more votes for some lame-o like Taylor Hicks.
Is this new gimic undemocratic? Seacrest wonders.
Quite the contrary, Simon says, because they're only performing a service for all those outraged viewers.
Sitting next to Simon, Paula and Kara have changed roles from when they showed up in costume several weeks back. This week Paula is the Merry Widow -- her shoes are absolutely spectacular -- and Kara is Jane Eyre, in some drab black silk pleated number. At some point in the season, we hope this will be explained to us.
This week, the judges have two chances to use The Judges's Save. That's because the previous week the judges had also voted to give themselves four wild cards instead of three -- kind of like Congress giving itself a raise. So now the show has one too many Idolettes.
In a few minutes we will know who is the first person viewers have voted to cut this week. But first, we get to see that they are living in some big ol' gaudy McMansion in Los Angeles that appears to have a basketball court, a screening room, a bowling alley and a multitude of swimming pools -- and yet, they have to share bedrooms. Hmmm.
And, of course, no Results Night on "American Idol" would be complete without Group Sing. Since this week is Michael Jackson week, it's an MJ medley. We're not proud of the fact we watched, riveted, to see how they would choreograph the virtually blind Scott MacIntyre.
Plus, don't forget the Hidden "American Idol" Audition during the commercial break. This week, it's the since-booted Nathaniel, singing "Proud Mary." Only he sings:
"Left a good job in the city,
working for myself every night and day."
Hahaha! Hidden "American Idol" Audition -- another of the fantastic changes the producers have made to "American Idol" this season.
And, before the voting, Seacrest of course wants to chat with the Idolettes. Oil rigger Michael Sarver, for instance, who says he's living the dream because he got to be in an honest to gosh actual music video -- a Ford Music Video to be exact. Cut to Ford Music Video.
Time to whack some Idolette.
Ironically, the first person viewers have voted to cut this week is pretty teenager Jasmine Murray -- one of those four Idolettes the judges brought back during last week's Wild Card Night, despite the fact that her performance was weak. Apparently viewers have more sense than the judges. Does not bode well for The Judges's Save, does it?
While Jasmine re-sings her song from Tuesday's Michael Jackson performance show, the judges "mull" her performance. Paula, being the Merry Widow, mulls while dancing. After the song, the judges will announce their decision.
So far as we can tell, the only upside to The Judges's Save is that the producers can never cut the whacked Idolette's final performance on national TV. In previous seasons, the whacked Idolette sang the results show out and, as a result, that performance was often cut in half, sometimes cut entirely, once the results show product placement really got rolling. Now, the final performance has to be followed by The Judges's Decision as to whether they will invoke The Judges's Save.
On the other hand, it means the Idolette who gets the week's fewest votes gets to be humiliated twice in one night. Like little Jasmine, who begins weeping when Randy tells her, after her song, that they've decided to toss her overboard.
Now it's time for Kanye West to sell a few CD's. Nice to see that Mr. West got dressed up for the occasion. Mr. West is not rapping, he's singing. He sounds heavy on the Auto Tune. Auto Tune is supposed to be pitch correction software -- the kind of thing that made Paula's singing passable -- but in this case it appears Mr. West may have possibly tweaked it so as to make himself sound like a Speak-and-Spell submerged in a bathtub. Or, he just has a really unusual voice. Mr. West grabs his crotch a few times in honor of the fact it's Michael Jackson Week, which is very touching, so to speak.
After that, it's time for America's first Idol, Kelly Clarkson, to sell some CD's. Kelly is dressed as Bill the Lizard on his way to the Queen of Hearts's fancy dress ball. She doesn't sound too good.
An eternity later, Seacrest toys with a few more Idolettes and finally sends Anoop Desai and Jorge Nunez to the center of the stage. Anoop looks very very annoyed. Jorge looks very very sad. After the national vote, but before the judges's save, Jorge is revealed to be the night's other low viewer-vote getter.
Jorge sings his Michael Jackson tune one more time, then looks hopefully at the judges. Will they save him?
Nope, says Simon. Jorge looks devastated. Viewers cringe. This is going really well.
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