The thrill of American Idol‘s first-ever Top 13 couldn’t last forever.
Wednesday’s results show produced the first two eliminations since that announcement, and neither was a shocker: Ryan called Jasmine Murray, 16, and Megan Joy Corkrey, 22, down to the stage, told them that one was doomed — then booted Jasmine. Her cover of “I’ll Be There” on Tuesday’s show had been nice, but pitchy.
Then it was time for Anoop Desai, 21, and Jorge Nu ez, 20, to be summoned to the spot of shame. Anoop may have sung an awful version of “Beat It,” but his likable persona proved enough to keep him in the competition. Jorge, who’d gotten no love from the judges for his performance of “Never Can Say Goodbye,” was the one to go.
The real upset came when Ryan explained the mysterious new rule he’d hinted at the night before. Called the “judges’ save,” it allows Simon-Kara-Randy-Paula to unanimously reverse the ejection of a singer who has lost in the week’s call-in vote. The judges can do this only once a season, and only in the weeks before the Top Five. (Also, the week following the save, there’ll be a double elimination.)
It became clear almost immediately that the save is a potentially serious new wrinkle.
For instance: After Ryan told Jasmine she was out, he also told her she could potentially be saved. And so she sang an encore of “I’ll Be There,” while the judges determined whether they should keep her. Well, she actually sang it worse, and Randy pronounced her sentence: doomed. So poor Jasmine was rejected first by the country, then the judges. Isn’t that possibly worse? Isn’t it double jeopardy?
Jorge was put through the same ritual. Simon finally told him no, and then gulped from his red plastic cup with the indifference of an emperor watching a blood sport in the arena.
Viewers will debate whether the judges’ save is worth it — whether it’s more important to keep in strong talent or roll with the excitement generated by an upset. Ryan cited the notorious case of Chris Daughtry, an Idol loser who nonetheless has had popular success on his own. One might ask whether Chris would have enjoyed less success if he had stayed in the competition and won. Or, would Jennifer Hudson ever have gotten that role in Dreamgirls if she’d won American Idol? Who knows?
There were two star performances: Kanye West sang his hit “Heartless,” and the original Idol, Kelly Clarkson, sang “My Life Would Suck Without You” from her new album. — Tom Gliatto
Tell us: Were you sad to see Jasmine and Jorge go? Who should have gone instead? What do you think of the judges’ save?
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