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.

Contestant Jasmine Murray gets eliminated. (Ray Mickshaw -- Fox)

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.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  March 12, 2009; 6:00 AM ET "American Idol"
Previous: 13 Unlucky for "American Idol" | Next: Idol's Twangy Grand Ole Opry Week


Please email us to report offensive comments.


Posted by: fnht451 | March 12, 2009 8:12 AM

The right people went home. Check.

The group sing looked lipsynced again. You could see some people not even singing the right words. Either they are turning off mics or it is prerecorded. Not until, say, the top 6 are at it will it sound relatively good anyway.

I think I like the Save. However, they are branding it for the viewers. Jennifer Hudson is the perfect example that you don't need to win to succeed. So I'm with Lisa, this is clearly a move not to lose money by 19 Entertainment.

If Kanye can come out there and have a computer do the work his voice should be doing, it just proves you don't have to have a great voice to win this show. (I really hate that Auto Tune crap.)

Posted by: MaltyCharacter | March 12, 2009 8:16 AM

The right two were eliminated.

Posted by: MILW | March 12, 2009 8:24 AM

A couple of observations/comments/questions:

1. Jennifer Hudson. I know she won an Oscar for best supporting actress where she played a singer. That said, is she really that much of a commercial success? I honestly have no idea. I can't say that I've ever heard a Jennifer Hudson song, on the radio or anywhere. What are some Jennifer Hudson songs? Have I heard them and just didn't know it?

2. Kanye. I am SO glad that Kanye is bringing back the denim on denim on denim, jeans, shirt, jacket look. That was my go-to, and I was realyl sad when it become gauche.

3. Kelly Clarkson. I thought she sounded great? Maybe I'm biased because I am in love with her, but she sounded miles above anyone on the show this year. And she was actually singing live...

4. Jasmine. Sorry Judges, you guys tried to get America to love her but we couldn't get over the fact that she wasn't that great of a singer.

5. Oil Rigger Guy. Not even in danger this week? Really?

6. The Judges Save. Hate it. The best part of most Idol Seasons is when the "suprise" goes home before their theoretical time. It keeps things interesting.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 12, 2009 8:31 AM

The horribly named "Judges' Save" won't be used at all unless one of their holy trinity of over-pimped contestants (Danny, Lil and Adam) gets (correctly, in one case) dumped too early. Everyone else can leave, in their minds.

It also would NOT have helped Daughtry, since he was in the Top 4, and the Save can only be used until the Top 5.

Kelly sounded fantastic last night, and it just goes to show how far this show has sunk. Were she to be a contestant this year, she'd have never made the Top 36, since she is the absolute antithesis of a "package artist".

Kanye, OTOH, would be Top 5 material, since he can't sing worth a d*mn, but he DID show his underwear a lot. The guys not a bad rapper, but as a singer, he's just awful.

Posted by: nachobizness | March 12, 2009 8:36 AM

"My Life Would Suck Without You"?!


Posted by: tomson | March 12, 2009 8:52 AM

Ok... just have to say this...

Is Ryan Seafoam getting more orange by the day? He seriously needs to lay off the mystic tan.

Second... yea, what was with the judges wardrobe last night? It was like Bjork dressed them Tuesday and a drugged Tim Gunn dressed them last night.

Tomson's comment..... HAHAHAHAHAHA!

And yes, the voters got it way right. So hilarious how Jasmine actually thought they would save her. Reason number 350 why she should be booted. She needs to grow up and take some voice lessons on how to breath properly and support a note.

Posted by: lsac | March 12, 2009 9:26 AM

Is it me or is the sound quality of the this week's shows really off? Tuesday you could barely hear the idolettes play their instruments, last night all the performances sound like some of the mics were turned down. I kept playing with the sound levels on my tv hoping to correct it.

Posted by: k-gotham | March 12, 2009 9:28 AM

Correct me if I am wrong but didn't Hudson and Daughtry get eliminated w/ only 4 left? If so teh judges save would not have worked for them. Not sure on Johns or Grey but I thought Grey was one of teh last 5.

Posted by: wmayland | March 12, 2009 9:38 AM

I totally disagree with you, Lisa - Kelly Clarkson rocked it last night! Her song was a very stylized with multiple backing tracks and synthesized music. Yet, she came out and sang the song live and still sounded great.

I agree with previous posters that the right two people went home. Jorge's voice was soooo whiney, and his eyebrows were way too distracting. And Jasmine could not sing on key so her demise was inevitable, no matter how "commercial" the judges thought she was.

And I think I like the veto. I know the whole point of AI is to have America vote but lets be honest, sometimes America is DUMB (Sanjaya, Chicken Little). Yes, it is true that we don't get a certified mega-star after every season of AI but the show does do a fairly good job of identifying talent and helping otherwise unknowns make a name for themselves. I am all for allowing the judges to save a true talent in order for them to get one more week of exposure.

Posted by: AmuseMe | March 12, 2009 9:41 AM

Didn't Kelly Clarkson used to be pretty? I thought she looked pretty rough last night. Heard the song on the radio again this morning, not a huge fan of it.

Posted by: ArlingtonGay | March 12, 2009 9:46 AM

I don't think this does anything for 19 Entertainment, other than get more people to watch the results show. As I recall all the Top 10 (those who go on the tour) have to sign an exclusive contract with 19 Entertainment, and can't record an album elsewhere without specific approval of 19 Entertainment for a few years. That was why Mario Vasquez left before the top 12 began. How I wish I had this kind of recall for actual important things in life.

Posted by: MidwestTransplant | March 12, 2009 9:57 AM

It looks like Kelly Clarkson's butt is as big as her shrieking voice. someone's been chompin' on the donuts. she's a HUGE star. will she end up being Carnie or Ann Wilson?

Posted by: DreamOutLoud | March 12, 2009 10:20 AM

The new rule is a pathetically veiled incursion to let us know who the judges would put through if they could. It gives the producers and the judges a much stronger say in the final decision, both in terms of keeping someone alive, and subversively lobbying for their continuation. VTD- I agree. And nacho- you have it right too, especially about the big three. (see 5 below)
1) they will not save anyone they haven't preconceived should win. they must obviously save their vote for "that person" and not stupidly use it on someone not worthy.
2) the fact that they can invoke it only once is a pure testament to their preferrred choice.
3) the process is demeaning to those booted off -- to be told right away that you are not worthy of being saved. what a kick in the face! As if they would use the save right away, first time out of the gate to save Jasmine!
4) the more-proper way to handle it is to announce "next week" if they decided to bring someone back from "last week" who got booted.
5) watch - if Lil, Adam, and Danny all survive to the Top 5, then the judges will use the save on "lucky #6" at their final opportunity merely to exercise it.

My other notes:
-- I can agree with Jasmine and Jorge going home.
-- Motley Crue's version of Home, Sweet, Home is MUCH better. Carrie's is just too saccharine.
-- I was not impressed by Kanye 'Ego' West and his synth-mic. I can't imagine what us posters would have had to say if we were critiquing his performance
-- Kelly: again, I reiterate, the producers ought to thank HER for validating the show seven years ago.

Posted by: redrocket | March 12, 2009 10:33 AM

I totally disagree with you about Kelly. I thought she sounded effortlessly amazing. No one sounds that good live anymore. Girlfriend does need to shed one of those chins though.

Posted by: elle2452 | March 12, 2009 10:38 AM

Forgot to add --
1) thank GOD! for Paula's shoes, or else that desk would've floated up and away.
2) Dream- I too thought "Ann Wilson" but I remain a Kelly fan. She "had me at hello" seven years ago.

Posted by: redrocket | March 12, 2009 10:44 AM

Agree that the two eliminated were right choices. I was kind of surprised that Jorge left, because I thought he might pull in a huge Latin bloc of voters. But he was sadly out of his element and looked completely awkward. Jasmine needs vocal training.

I felt sorry for both of them having to sing for their supper. I'm on the fence about the judges save. Actually, I think there should be a judge's boot. Oh wait, that was supposed to happen BEFORE the top whatever. Neither Jasmine nor Jorge had talent or marketing readiness to move on, although I think each may have, with training and management, a small niche somewhere. I could see Jasmine as a Disney girl - she has looks and likeability, and sings better than Miley Cyrus.

Sadly for the two of them, the pressure of having to sing to save themselves meant that they sounded worse than previous night. Not a surprise. Both had been admonished about song choice, too late now for an adjustment. Both had pitch and other vocal problems made worse by nerves. Plus the viewing audience had to listen to the most sub-par performances AGAIN. Clearly, they only confirmed for the judges that they deserved to be voted off.

Darn! And they were so looking forward to a swim in one of the pools at the McMansion. Was that tawdry or what? Eeuuww!

Btw, Michael Johns got voted off on week 8, so he would have been only one or those discussed to possibly be saved.

I also think AI was toying with us by putting Anoop in bottom 2. If you look at dialidol, he was in top 4 vote getters. This system though does not measure text votes, from what I can tell. But I have to wonder what AI is doing by making him sweat. Galvanize his support? Make him look like a loser so he loses support? This was not an incidental, just like the singing line-up. People tend to remember the first few, the last one, and a stand-out in the middle of a list of ten or so. Also, the producers want the viewing audience to remember the whole show as great by anchoring both ends with what they perceive as their strongest contenders.

Posted by: MarriedMom | March 12, 2009 10:51 AM

The Judges Save isn't going to subvert the voting process.

- They can only use the save once.
- They cannot use it within the final 5.
- They must all four agree whether to save the person eliminated.
- The following week, TWO contestants are eliminated and the judges have no recourse.

So if Adam gets eliminated in top 7 week and the judges save him, he could STILL be eliminated the following week, along with someone else.

Posted by: Duodenum | March 12, 2009 11:04 AM

Btw - I had high hopes for Kara as a judge, and enjoyed her role in auditions. But by Hollywood week she began deteriorating into the same breathless enthusiasm or weak apologetics that Randula discharges. She now takes up more time away from Simon ("the only judge worth listening to")and has become pompous. She needs a "Get Over Yourself Award." She makes Randula appear humble.

Posted by: MarriedMom | March 12, 2009 11:06 AM

FWIW, I agree that Kelly has put on some pounds. But, she was rail skinny when "Brakeaway" came out. To me, she looks best in the middle of those two extremes - basically what she looked like during Idol Season one.

My Financee has met her, and appearantly she is *tiny* - like right around 5ft. tall, so it needs to be taken into consideration that fluctuations in weight are going to be more pronounced on that smaller frame.

She can still wail though, there's no doubt about that.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 12, 2009 11:12 AM

I cant believe that nobody has commented on that supremely awkward moment between Ryan and Kelly, when he keeps prodding her to talk about why she wrote the song, and she keeps being evasive, and then, finally, and muffled into the mike just as she gets ready to sing, you hear her mumble...I didnt even write it.

better than high-fiving blind guys, i guess.

Posted by: Trogdor | March 12, 2009 11:13 AM

A couple thoughts:

1. Kara not adding much in my opinion. She's a Randy/Paula mix, so just adds to that end of the scale.

2. Kanye sounded bad and his outfit reminded me of Springsteen circa 1978.

3. Kelly Clarkson (couldn't someone do her hair nice at least?) DID look rough, as previously mentioned.

4. Jorge should never of made it through last week. Jun'ot (or however you spell it) would still be there. Jasmine either, there were about four better than her.

5. Judges' Save is bogus. The only real use in the past would have been Michael Johns, and he still wouldn't have gone much further.

This season is shaping up as dullsville. The final four will be Alexis, Adam, Gokay, and Lil Rounds. Probably Gokey vs. Adam in the final. I'm predicting Gokey will take it and be the next Taylor Hicks, much to Simon's dismay.

Posted by: idolguy1000 | March 12, 2009 11:21 AM


True, America can always vote off the "save" in a subsequent week. But . .

1) But since they only have one save, whoever they use it on is their defacto and transparent choice for who they think should win. There is no other way to look at it from their standpoint, other than to give aid to their in-house choice.
2)They can't use it on # 5 or better, and I think we all would be suprised if they used it for #s 12 through, say 8 or so. Keeping the save for #8 or better gives that person a stronger platform to pursue a career.
3) I can't name an early-week loser who ever went on to much acclaim -- another reason not to use it on #12, 11, 10, 9, etc.
4) Another way it affects the voting process is to take potential votes away and redistribute to others. That is subversive by difinition; i.e., "to unduly influence".

Posted by: redrocket | March 12, 2009 11:30 AM

LdM,you're losing it. Anoop and Jorge were sent to the center to sweat it out while Kelly Clarkson sung, which sounded better than Kanye West. Should we sent you a box of Q-tips so you can clean out your ears? Really, you're sounding about as lucid as Paula did last season

But adios Jorge y Jasmine! OLE!

Posted by: SeaJones | March 12, 2009 11:52 AM

"I can't name an early-week loser who ever went on to much acclaim -- another reason not to use it on #12, 11, 10, 9, etc."

I don't know if I would call it "Acclaim," but Pickler found her little niche in the country music world and wasn't she only like final 6?

Also I think that guy...Josh Gracin? he was even earlier than that and he definitely had a couple singles that did pretty well in the country music world.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 12, 2009 11:53 AM

The Judges' Save is great extra twist fun. Now we get to see the exiting Idolette get whacked twice instead of just once. And America knocked out the correct two last night. Good riddance.

And extra kudos to ultra-cooool Alexis: she got the major Scott-tending duties during the Group Number and pulled off her role with aplomb. Jorge helped sometimes. She guided him around almost invisbly unless you watched carefully--camera mostly stayed away. Apparently she was compensated with some extra close-ups and solos, which were nice to see and hear. Go Alexis! Do they draw straws for this chore? Wonder who will be the Scott-tender next week. We should do a prediction pool here.

Posted by: Brookelover | March 12, 2009 11:56 AM

"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."

Oh, Lisa... that was too precious for words... XDDD

Personally, I like the Judges' Save--not so much so that the judges can keep their cash-machines under the "Idol" umbrella, but because the eliminated Idolettes get to, in essence, "sing for their life" (kind of like "dancing for your life" in "So You Think You Can Dance") instead of just having a throw-away, teary-sounding farewell performance. Since they still potentially have the chance to save themselves by changing the judges' minds then and there, it might make for some truly incredible performances brought on by that desperation.

Err, granted, Simon's callous "Nope, we're not saving you" to Jorge was pretty horrible... =__=;

P.S. Darling Seacrest--so *that's* why he plays "My Life Would Suck Without You" so much (here I thought it was just KISS FM beating a hit to death per usual). Guess under that polished veteran show biz hide there's still a tender, romantic tween soul who listens to love songs on the radio and sighs over his eternal crush. LoL~

Posted by: Kureno | March 12, 2009 12:19 PM

Gokey glasses watch update: 5th pair last night.

I think I like the judges' save? At least it's something else to do on results night besides Ford videos and phone questions. Speaking of which, are they bringing back the questions this year?

Posted by: pinkstate | March 12, 2009 12:24 PM

VT- do you want to make the case for William Hung too? I clearly wrote "early-week" and indicated 12, 11, 10, 9, etc. MMom posted that MJohns was week 8 or so. Still, just one or two in seven years is not a record to hang one's hat on. They can't even assure the WINNER goes on to acclaim, but it is far harder for an early round loser. I stand by my prediction -- they will not invoke except for Adam, Lil, or Danny, or (if those three make Top 5) then "lucky #6" will get the save purely because that will be the last possible week to use it. The save IS the judges's defacto pick -- whether that person is subsequently booted off or not.

DuoD - you merely recounted the rules in your 11:04 post, but did not make much defense of them. Let's use your example: "Adam is saved in Top 7". (First, it's interesting you choose Adam, and not, say Anoop, Megan, or Kris. By default, you are inherently making my point about the Vegas odds-on contestants.) By invoking their save on "Adam", the judges would have passed on any prior boots because they were "waiting" to see how far he (or whomever they saved) advanced. And if they bypassed Adam at Top 7 they clearly would be holding the save for someone else they felt deserved it more. Being that the next week would be Top 6, they would (will!) use their save on "lucky #6" only because they can't use on 5 or above thereafter. The same logic applies if/to whomever they save in round 10, 9, or 8. THEY know they only get one chance; so don't waste it on a non-worthy contestant!!!!

Henceforth, I will call this what it is; the "Adam/Lil/Danny" Rule, for I will go out on a short limb and predict whichever of those three is eliminated in coming weeks will get the Golden Save.

My alternative idea? Let the dearly departed pick a lucky save ticket from a Wheel of Fortune spin. That's fair to all! (unless they rig the wheel with "no saves" or "all saves" just prior to wheeling it out.)

One last thing. Kureno, you dear but naive thing; the booted contestants (e.g., Jasmine and Jorge last night) are not singing for their lives "one last time". Trust me. The judges will have long since colluded how/whom to use the save on prior to showtime. (If they are truly debating right then/there to save -- which I don't believe -- then they are hardly listening to any "save me" final performance.) I've also never believed they don't know the result prior to showtime anyway.

Posted by: redrocket | March 12, 2009 12:31 PM

While the public "votes" on popularity, the "Judges' save" will relate to marketability. The two are entwined. While the judges wanted to shove Jasmine down the public's throats, she just wasn't popular, and therefore isn't commercially viable, and consequently wasn't saved!

Jennifer Hudson is an interesting case - because I think her niche is not radio Top 40. She's been very successful - but in areas non-record contract oriented. So if the main idea of this show is still radio/record contract - I don't think she'd be saved either.

Those who have other avenues open for them will manage to be successful anyway - like Clay Aiken on Broadway. But you just can't "save" somebody to be a Top 40 recording artist if that's not their avenue. That would seem to apply to the oil rigger, the blind guy, Quirky McTwisty and several others.

The only recording contract I hear is Allison. I think she would be saved if her hair makes her "unpopular" with voters.

Posted by: jqw3827 | March 12, 2009 12:38 PM

Apart from the puerile title, Kelly Clarkson's new song sounds exactly like "Since You've Been Gone."

Posted by: tomtildrum | March 12, 2009 12:52 PM

"Jennifer Hudson is an interesting case - because I think her niche is not radio Top 40. She's been very successful - but in areas non-record contract oriented. So if the main idea of this show is still radio/record contract - I don't think she'd be saved either."

Thanks, this was my original point. Jennifer Hudson is a bad example that they keep bringing up, because it's assumed that the point of this show is still to find a Pop Music Star.

Hudson has won an Oscar under arguably dubious circumstances (I still scoff at awarding people for what I consider to be "playing themselves" in movies).

That's pretty much it, IMHO Hudson is dangrously bordering into the "Famous for being Famous" category.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 12, 2009 12:56 PM

What about Melinda Doolittle? She has a new CD out and is incredible!! If the judges can save someone like that and let the viewers know they believe she's talented and needs help (votes!) - then it's worthwhile.

Kelly Clarkson has through-the-roof talent but, girl, you have to stop indulging - you couldn't even move around the stage last night!! You're too young to let yourself go like this. When are you going to stop? When you hit 250 or 300 pounds? As you get older, it's going to get harder to lose all that weight -

Can we please get rid of Ryan and bring back Brian Dunkleface? Unbelievable when he told Tatiana to stay on her knees in front of him. His comments are outrageous and he really thinks he's funny. Also, can someone please tell Randy to stop booing Simon when he's introduced at the top of every show? It's not funny - just really, really annoying.

Posted by: ryjus | March 12, 2009 1:01 PM

Why all the obsessive commentary about Kelly's weight? If she can sing, it makes no difference what she weighs.

One of the positive elements about AI is that people of all shapes and sizes are able to compete. Harping on someone's weight is just moronic.

Finally, I gotta say, I just don't get what's supposed to be so great about Anoop. There's nothing original in his style; he bounces around onstage like an idiot; and his voice is completely mediocre.

So, what's the deal? Why do the judges keep saying, "Everybody loves you, Anoop"?

He may be a friendly guy, but as a singer and entertainer, he's a wash-out. His performances are high-school cabaret caliber.

What am I not getting?

Posted by: kjohnson3 | March 12, 2009 1:07 PM

Really, RedRocket? You think the judges will only save a "worthy" contestant? Well, no sh*t, Sherlock! AI is about finding an undiscovered TALENT. Fox TV, 19 Entertainment, and partnering record companies are not going to waste time and money promoting a person they do not feel is going to produce a return on investment. The judges have always been the "voice" of the management company - critiquing contestants in the hopes of swaying votes toward the most talented of the 12 to ensure a quality winner. This does not always work as likeability sometimes factors in (Sanjaya, Anoop) but it is not rocket science!

And by the way, Allison and Alexis both would be saved should they get the early boot. The judges see them both as marketable.

Posted by: AmuseMe | March 12, 2009 1:20 PM

"What about Melinda Doolittle? She has a new CD out and is incredible!! If the judges can save someone like that and let the viewers know they believe she's talented and needs help (votes!) - then it's worthwhile."

Melinda Doolittle made it to the final 3, she wouldn't have been helped by something like this.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 12, 2009 1:32 PM

Definitely understand why the Judge's Save (not another Taylor Hicks) but agree with most that it won't work and I don't have to like it.

Looked like the judges deliberated hard on whether to save the poor ousted singers (Paula, being the Merry Widow, mulls while dancing---ROLF).

Missed yesterdays post but I have to mention Lil failed to deliver (don't smirk VT), Adam was waaaay over the top. I really like the red head girl (is that Allison?). Alexis was ok. Gokey, pretty good.

Suprised Jorge going home before Anoop but they both deserved the boot. Anoop #4 in dialidol??? That is where the Save is going to be used, when Anoop's legions of dialers out-dial Gokey's, Adam's, Lil's or the redhead.

Missed most of the show, mercifully. Saw the end. So someone tell me, how did they choreograph Scott MacIntyre?

Posted by: hodie | March 12, 2009 1:43 PM

"don't smirk VT"

Me? Never.

"Missed most of the show, mercifully. Saw the end. So someone tell me, how did they choreograph Scott MacIntyre?"

Someone mentioned it above, but it looks like they basically assigned him a "Handler." This week it was Alexis, we'll see if it changes week-to-week or not. Alexis made sense because she's so tiny, easy to hide/miss. It looks like they compensated her with extra solo/camera time.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 12, 2009 1:49 PM

True, the 'Judge's Save' will only be invoked to save one of their Holy Trinity. But most people are mistaken about the true identity of the Trinity of Marketability. Danny Dorky is emphaticically NOT the "Marketable Package Product" the Idol producers-executives want. His early pimping is really a deceptive curveball thrown by the the show: they know that Dopey Dorky would be a Marketing Disaster as AI. The judges will probably turn on him after Round 6 or 5 to make sure he doesn't ruin Season 8 by actually winning. They probably wouldn't even save him in Round 7 or 8, since they want to hold the save for the Trinity if necessary in later Rounds. Danny Dokey-Dopey-Dorky will be gone by Round 4 at the latest.

The Real Holy Trinity is Adam-Lil-Alexis. Look how they put Alexis in the #13 Pimp Spot and shot her performance with flashing lights, gorgeous color highlights, flattering close-ups etc. And no doubt ulra-cool Alexis deserves to be there. And Alexis was alone with Seacrest on Center Stage for about 4 minutes at the end of Tuesday show, prettily mugging for the adoring cameras all the while as they discussed the new Judges' Save.

Contrary to Paula, I see an All-A Finale: Adam and Alexis. It may be the best yet. The winner will be very good and an ultra-marketable Package Artist, as Kara would inevitably put it. Lil will finish 3rd, unless Alison catches fire and beats her out for tertiary honors.

Posted by: Brookelover | March 12, 2009 1:52 PM

thanks VT. Good points Brookelover. I personally like the redhead. She could be another Kelly if she is smart but probably not yet mature enough for it.

Posted by: hodie | March 12, 2009 1:57 PM

VTDuffman: >Someone mentioned it above, but it looks like they basically assigned him a "Handler."

That was me. Please see my 11:56 post for amplification. Alexis did it pretty invisibly (she also sat next to him on the bench and hugged him after Seacrest declared Scott safe--Danny Dorky had already awkwardly reached in front of Alexis to give Scott a congratulatory arm-grab). I've watched the replay 3 times to note the choreography and camera tricks utilized for Scott-handling. Jorge did some secondary handler work. The deal apparently is that the Scott Handler gets extra close-ups and solos in compensation. My pick for next week's Scott Handler: Matt.

EW reports that after the Group Sing ended, the other Idolettes all rapidly exited the stage and left Scott standing there alone and helpless. Some AI employee had to come out and rescue him.

Posted by: Brookelover | March 12, 2009 2:16 PM

So, does no one here know how to use Wikipedia?

If you want to see the sales of Idol alumni, you can go to:

On the list, the highest non-top-5 alum is Kellie Pickler (Season 5, #6) at 9th with 979K sales for 2 albums. After the alumnae with RIAA certified albums (15), comes the uncertified albums. Bucky Covington (Season 5, 8th) rings in at #16, tops on the uncertified list with 403K sales of one album. There are only 7 out of 41 listed alum that have placed 8th or lower in their respected season. And together, those 7 alum have sold 1.62M albums (1.38 of that is Pickler and Covington).

For the record, Gracin was 4th, Doolittle was 3rd, Hudson was 7th, Daughtry 4th, Gray 4th, and Johns 8th (hasn't put out an album yet).

The judges save is supposed to save someone from a genre that is particularly wrong for them (say Country for more than half of the contestants). That way, if someone has a bad week in a genre that ill-suits them, hopefully they'll do better with a genre that works better for them. Yes, it is only likely that they'll use it for one of the chosen few.

I personally think that the audience got this wrong. Jasmine and Megan should have gone this week. Megan tortured Rockin' Robin and Jorge will be HUGE in the Latino community. If AI was staged, they would have pulled Jorge out of the bottom-2 because he will make a boatload of money for 19 Entertainment in the Spanish speaking market. My wife said last night as soon as he was canned "Make an album fast while you can still capitalize on the'll hit the top of the Latino charts" and I think she's right. If BMG knows what they're doing, they'll fast-track his album since all contestants are under contracct with AI until 3 months after the final. That's probably worth a good half mil to mil albums right there.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | March 12, 2009 2:26 PM

Correction in the Idol alum.

There are only 6 of 41 alum who have released albums who originally placed 8th or lower and they have combined sales of only 977K (403K of which are Bucky Covington's). So 8th and lower have only sold 574K albums so far (although Doolittle's album just came out a month ago and is still selling about 5-10K per week and should last at least a few more months).

Posted by: DadWannaBe | March 12, 2009 2:29 PM

I agree with you brookelover. I think we are headed to an Adam-Alexis final. Lil will be top five, and follow in footsteps of Melinda, and other semi-finalists. I really like her, but she is not top AI. And Gokey will start to be criticized for his style in a few weeks, especially if he hits top five.

I think Gokey is this season's Elliot Amin - strong voice, likable nerd-type with potential for minor success. Nerds seem to be in - witness Seth Rogan's success (and Scrubs' Zac Graff, etc.)

I enjoy Allison too, because I enjoy rock style performers, especially women, perhaps influenced by my teens' music choices.

And yeah, the judges will not invoke their option until rounds seven or six. I think the unanimous vote part may be b.s. I think it will be a producer's call, probably influenced most by Simon. I mean really, would Randy, Paula, or Kara's opinions really count here?

I really feel sorry for the losers having to sing for a save. That was PAINFUL to watch. And it is fiction that the judges mull this over in a 2 minute commercial break. They know what they will do, and it was obvious in the way that both Randy and Simon delivered the "news" to the losers. I really hate the torture of making them sing again when it is so obviously pointless at this time. This silly exercise is designed to keep audience tuned in to see if they can do it. But of course we know they won't, and instead witness a sad, sad, exit. I'd like to see next week's loser hand the mike back to Seafoam and say, "I'll accept the vote as it stands. If judges want me back, they don't need for me to sing again."

Simon seems more peeved than usual, probably because of 4 judge panel which has turned out to be useless and annoying. It was supposed to rein in Paula - I think - but Kara has succeeded in mainly being a burr under Simon's saddle making no contribution.

Posted by: MarriedMom | March 12, 2009 2:29 PM

To Brookelover - your sign off says it all. Like you'd know who's marketable and not.

Posted by: MILW | March 12, 2009 3:19 PM

MILW: Some ineffably alluring singers like Brooke White have certain qualities that transcend mere marketability. I would rather see or hear Brooke White than Kara ("marketable commercial package product") Diogiardi any and every day of the week.

Posted by: Brookelover | March 12, 2009 3:44 PM

Redrocket, I don't think it's so much that the judges have already made up their mind on an eliminated Idolette regardless of their performance--I think it's just they *are,* at this early stage (as many people have said), planning to save the Judges' Save for one of the people they actually think stands a chance of winning/being commercially successful. Obviously, anyone eliminated at #12 and #13 (or even up to #8) isn't going to be that person, so of course they wouldn't be swayed by the "sing for your life."

But I get the feeling that anyone who seriously stands a chance of winning will be eliminated before #4 anyway, as past history has shown, and by that point, they won't be able to use the Save anymore. So I think it's entirely possible some time around Top 7 or Top 6, when the choices are getting a little tougher, that the judges will actually listen to the performance, take an extra moment to mutter to each other, "Okay, maybe we'll use the Save on this one--our Holy Trinity is in good shape and will make it beyond Top 5 on their own." So I do think if someone REALLY "blows it out 'the box" during an elimination performance later down the line, they'll get the Save, Holy Trinity or not. After all, a sudden turnaround/second wind for a dwindling Idolette would shake up the status-quo and upset the early favorites' fans, frightening them into voting more. It would make for great TV, but will probably only come into play if an eliminated Idolette really "brings it," unlike Jasmine and Jorge last night.

Posted by: Kureno | March 12, 2009 4:46 PM

"Marketable" means more than moving record albums. It means starring in cosmetic ads, films, made-for-tv movies. It means "multiple threat" - acting, singing, dancing, posing, speaking/announcing, whatever. For most of that, you simply have to look pretty good. Taylor Swift? On CSI this week. Julianne Hough? Oh so she thinks she can sing, too! This is the niche I think both Clay Aiken and Jennifer Hudson found themselves in. And in a "down economy" (whether it's performing arts or oil rigging), the more versatile you are, the more likely you are to remain employed.

I'd look at these 11 for "versatility" - which I'd argue is a little bit different than sheer "talent" - and those are the ponies 19 will back and/or "save". After all, as agent or manager, they will have their hooks into them for a percentage of ALL the deals for a certain time.

Posted by: jqw3827 | March 12, 2009 5:43 PM

Jorge was a better singer than Michael Sarver. Terrible song choice, sung in corny fashion, but he has a nice voice and could've been coached to do better. If the judges had more sense they'd've been nicer to him and tried to keep him around to capitalize on the Latin market.

The worst thing about the four-judge panel is that they are agreeing with each other too much. Seems like the first person to speak gets to make the decision, and the others just chime in. It's boring to hear them repeat one another.

I thought Scott did well with the dancing. Lots of smiles and good movement. It'll be interesting to see which folks the producers can trust to help him out on stage.

Posted by: antelope1 | March 12, 2009 6:58 PM

What I loved is that Jasmine got to sing "I'll Be There" to commemorate that she would, in fact, Not Be There.

And they couldn't have had Anoop re-sing "Beat It"?

Posted by: jp100 | March 12, 2009 9:17 PM

All these numbers are making my head hurt! Can't we all just agree that the judges will use their to signal who they want to win and leave it at that?

I agree with brookelover that there is a deceptive curveball brewing but I think it's Adam, not Gokey. Gokey's much more marketable.

And to ryjus' suggestion that we get rid of Seacrest, that's just silly -- the show would be unwatchable without Seacrest. (And telling Tatiana to stay on her knees was the highlight of that show!) But I totally agree that Randy booing Simon got old a long time ago.

Posted by: pinkstate | March 13, 2009 12:47 PM

Does noone think that Kelly Clarkson is pregnant? She even did the "pregnant lady hand on the belly move" at 49 minutes into the show. She did look like heck, but if she is pregnant, it is totally understandable.

Also, didn't she used to have a southern twang?

Finally, didn't anyone catch the extremely clever camera angles, so you could NOT EVER see her tummy?

Oh, I felt terrible for Scott, who was about two moves behind in their line dance. I give him an A for effort, though.

Posted by: Iteachmusic | March 13, 2009 3:20 PM

I never really got the Jennifer Hudson love. I thought that she was flat/off-key a lot. And I think that I am not the only person who HATES the over singing - I call it beating the h-ll out of a song. If a line has four notes or 10 syllables, we really don't need 8 notes and 30 syllables.

Also I don't get the Alexis love - even by Simon?

Posted by: Justice26 | March 17, 2009 7:02 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.


© 2009 The Washington Post Company