Last night’s gushy balladeering won the contestants some wildly mixed reviews. Would America follow the opinions of the judges? Or, after last week’s surprise ousting of Michael Johns, make another daring decision?
The former tact won. The voters finally did what they should have done weeks ago, and booted the singer most obviously out of her league. Let’s review:
The evening began with the seven contestants uniting to perform “One Sweet Day,” mentor Mariah Carey’s hit with Boyz II Men. It was somewhat pleasant, especially as these oft-awful group performances go, but little more than feel-good filler.
Next? The usual, but with a twist. When announcing the individual contestants, Ryan didn’t immediately send the contestants to the sofas of safety or the chairs of peril. Instead, he sent them to the right or left. I’ll spare you the play-by-play; suffice to say that Jason, Carly, and Syesha stood to the left, and David Cook, Kristy Lee, and Brooke to the right. (Season 5’s third-place runner-up Elliott Yamin performed in the middle, but he barely deserves a mention: his perpetual homage to Jamiroquai is far worse than anything we’ve heard this season on Idol.)
We paused for a song from Mariah’s new album, the slow and schlocky “Bye Bye.” Mariah looks great, but this song is a snooze. Of course, Carey needn’t worry, though: she’s recently surpassed Elvis for most #1 singles with E=MC2’s, “Touch My Body,” and may well outstrip the Beatles before she’s done dropping singles from the disc.
The one remaining contestant, David Archuleta, was then brought out, assured of his safety, and asked to go to the side, left or right, with the others he believes are safe. (To further confuse matters, Ryan switched David Cook and Syesha at the last minute, leaving David, Jason, and Carly to the left, and Syesha, Kristy Lee, and Brooke to the right.) At this point, it’s clear to everyone that the right-hand group is the bottom three, but diplomatic David won’t take sides: he sits down in the middle instead. (Cue audience cooing.) You can’t outrun the reaper, however, and Ryan informs David that his fellow safe contestants are David Cook, Carly, and Jason, and the three girls on the right come center-stage to meet their fate.
Kristy Lee, Brooke, and Syesha have all had their problems lately: Kristy just isn’t as good as everybody else, Brooke’s earnestness is leading her astray, and Syesha can’t seem to get anyone truly interested.
But it’s really Kristy Lee who needed to go, and America mercifully obliged. She’s been outclassed since sneaking into the Top 10, a fact even she has always seemed aware of. It’s remarkable that she’s gotten this far. With a couple of tears, and message to the world that she just wanted to go back to riding her horse, she was history.
Next week’s Top 6 just got a lot more interesting. Who do you think is heading for oblivion? —Matthew Schneier