Thursday, April 12, 2012, Fox, 8 p.m. (ET) Elimination night on “American Idol” was a cliff-hanger not unlike the season that Casey Abrams was saved by the judges. Only, this night, the once-a-season save was used to rescue Jessica Sanchez, who, although being the best singer in the competition (arguably) has no noticeable fan base and isn’t male.
Jessica has stood out as one of the most truly talented singers on season eleven of “American Idol” since the beginning of auditions, but, then, so did Pia Toscano, and she was shown the door in a similarly unceremonious fashion last year. The judges didn’t even allow Jessica—who was in the bottom three along with Joshua Ledet and Elise Testone—to perform her entire song before all three of them stormed the stage and declared Jessica to have been “rescued” by the use of the Judges’ once-a-season save. As Randy Jackson said, “This girl is one of the best singers in America!” He went on to exhort voters to vote for excellence, not just their favorites. Steven Tyler, seeing the bottom three, had said, “We’re gonna’ use our card tonight.” The three who got the fewest votes were Joshua Ledet, Jessica Sanchez and Elise Testone, who are, arguably, the top three in the entire competition.
While it wasn’t incorrect to have Phillip Phillips be declared “safe” had he been in the lowest three, Hollie Cavanagh was the one singer whom everyone expected to finish in the bottom three. After that, Phillip Phillips was a close second, as he had an off night singing Maroon Five. I had predicted that a girl would be the third person in the bottom three; that girl could have been either Elise Testone or Skylar Laine.
As the tension built, Jimmy Iovine was shown repeating his opinion that the bottom three should have been Hollie Cavanagh, Phillip Phillips and Elise Testone.
Jennifer Hudson appeared on Thursday night’s show with Neo, projecting a totally new image. Her short hair and dark black short skirt seemed more reminiscent of some phases of Janet Jackson’s career, with a touch of Rihanna’s short hair-do. Jennifer was introduced as the only “American Idol” alumnus with both a Grammy and an Oscar. She showed off her admirable Weight Watchers’ figure, although her song, [delivered while wearing a short, dark leather skirt reminiscent of one I owned during the sixties mini-skirt fad days], was forgettable.
Less forgettable was the drama of arguably the 3 best singers in the competition (Joshua, Jessica and Elise) being named the 3 lowest vote-getters. This is the point where I repeat what I said in a previous article: this is a popularity contest. It is not a talent competition, unless the talent resides within one of you “favorites.”
From now on, it’s anybody’s guess who will win. Certainly not necessarily the most talented singers, as we saw tonight. Probably the most popular contestant…the one with the highest “Q” factor. Who is that? Is it Colton Dixon, who seems stuck on himself? Is it Skylar Laine, who sings country songs in a peppy manner? Is it Hollie Cavanagh, who has been off-key the last two performance weeks, but still managed to evade elimination?
Only time will tell.