The annual "OMG!" moment of American Idol
has arrived. This week
the Top 7 performed songs from this decade and the singer with the
lowest number of votes was Jessica Sanchez, who the judges frequently
praised as having the best voice in the competition.
Results Recap: The Save Is Used>>
It was reminiscent of last season when early favorite Pia Toscano was eliminated in ninth place, only this time the judges had their Save and used it so quickly that they actually saved her before she was even in danger (thanks to Steven Tyler's comment that the judges would save anyone from the bottom three).
But how did this happen? Randy Jackson took the microphone at the end of the episode and chastised America for not voting for Jessica Sanchez because she's the best, but are we really to blame? Or is the show itself, the people involved behind-the-scenes, the judges and Sanchez herself all at fault for the shocking results?
Here are just five possible reasons Jessica Sanchez received the fewest number of votes this week.Online Voting
When American Idol allowed viewers to vote online last season, the show had to know it would cause trouble. The people who will power-vote online are young and this alienates almost everyone over 30. If Norah Jones and Ke$ha were both competing on this show, Jones would be eliminated first. No one on Earth could possibly argue that Ke$ha is the superior singer, but you need to appeal to the younger demographic of online voters to win. Sadly for her, Jessica Sanchez is more Norah than Ke$ha.The Pia Toscano Factor
The Jessica Sanchez situation will inevitably draw a ton of comparisons to the fate of Pia Toscano from last season, and with good reason. Pia was perhaps the most talented actual singer of the season, but all she did was slow ballads and that wasn't enough. Jessica was amazing with her rendition of Jazmine Sullivan's "Stuttering" this week, but it was too low-key. She just sat there and sang a pretty song. We all know this is not just about who is the best singer, so Jessica should've known better than to keep going back to the slow, quiet ballad well.The Judges Criticized Her
The judges put the blame on America, but some voters may have taken their cue from the judges themselves. While there was some praise for her performance this week, they also criticized her lack of enthusiasm, telling her to be more like Joshua Ledet. I realize they were trying to give her constructive criticism, but it felt like they were holding her to a higher standard, and as a result, the slight criticism may have turned some people off.The Judges Give Out Too Much Praise
On the flip side, the judges this season have been almost universally nice. Except for Hollie Cavanagh, everyone got positive reviews this week. When Steven Tyler says "You're just so good" to every single person after every single performance, it becomes impossible to tell if it's actually true. I understand the judges don't want to be mean, but they need to be honest with everyone and hold them all to the same standard. This is what Simon Cowell did so well, and it's why the show desperately needs to find another Simon. Instead, we have three judges who all seem terrified of getting booed by the audience, so they refuse to say anything remotely negative.It's All About Tween Girls
On Wednesday's performance show, Jimmy Iovine essentially told the whole world that Colton Dixon and Phillip Phillips are going to be in the finale and that they need to fight to the death in order to be the dreamiest dreamboat of the season. While I actually agree with his assessment, you shouldn't say it. By playing into the notion that tween girls run the show and control all the votes, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. That's why the last four winners (and 75 percent of the finalists in the last four years) have been guys. No one will vote for the pretty girl with the great voice when you reduce the competition to who would make the best Tiger Beat poster for girls to put in their junior high lockers.
So sure, the judges will try yelling at America to keep Jessica Sanchez safe, and I'm sure she'll get to perform last next week just to ensure her safety, but let's not pretend she has a chance of winning. It's a battle between Colton and Phillip. Jimmy Iovine knows it. Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe knows it. Now it's time to accept it. They're all responsible for creating this Frankenstein monster of a singing competition that only rewards cute boys, so now they have to learn to live with it.(Image courtesy of FOX)