'American Idol' Results: Time Vs. Expectation
'American Idol' Results: Time Vs. Expectation
Bill King
Bill King
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
There's really no way around it. At one point or another this season on American Idol, there has to be a week in which no one goes home. It was expected that the judges' save would play its way out in normal fashion, where voters would unjustifiably send a singer home somewhere between the top 10 and the top 5. Our four judges would unanimously agree that America got it wrong and invoke their save privileges, everyone would be happy and the show would be on track to end on the date its finale is set for -- May 16.

But then American Idol went and shot itself in the foot.

Producers and judges stacked the deck so as to ensure a female winner (because they've been just ACHING for one after five straight guys), and He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named Arbos was put in the top 10. It quickly became clear that 1) The guys were nowhere near the class of the girls, and 2) Lazaro was getting the vote-for-the-worst crowd AND the sympathy vote.

That double whammy meant there was no way they could risk saving a subpar guy, as they had to hang on to it in case a girl was sent home, and it otherwise couldn't be used unless Lazaro was already gone. But, almost by design, America more or less kept getting it right.

That brings us to this week, with Lazaro gone and an all-girl top five. It is technically the last time the save is in play, and therein lies the conundrum. After five weeks of entirely predictable results, American Idol has to decide whether to once again give viewers exactly what they expect or mix it up a bit. I don't think it's by coincidence that the save was not mentioned one single time during Wednesday night's show or in the week leading up to it, as if they were hoping we'd just forget about it and then be SHOCKED when it reappeared. 

But everyone's logical thinking is that the judges will save whoever gets the fewest votes, likely Janelle Arthur, meaning this week was a total waste of time. Or they could do something crazy like change the rules and extend the use of the save, letting Janelle go home and using it next week. Either way, by incorporating the save into the schedule, producers both tied their hands AND painted themselves into a corner. Please tell me that you are now imagining a group of people with bound hands backwards-painting their way into a corner. Or maybe even VARIOUS corners! C'mon, it's hilarious!

Okay, enough with what I'll call the "Diatribe of the Save," because we've got American Idol "results" to get through! Former winner Fantasia and runner-up Clay Aiken are set to perform in our weekly version of Idol roulette, and I worry they're almost out of past champions. They still have a few good winners left (Kris Allen, David Cook), and certainly Daughtry could be a headliner, but does anyone else think it'd be just awesome if they saved Ruben Studdard and Lee DeWyze for the finale? 

What do you think is going to happen? Will this be week six of predictable results? Or will they try and do something, anything to keep us interested? Let's find out!

A Tribute to Donna Summer

The intro montage says "Whose dream will go on?" not "Whose dream will end?" which is yet another clue that the answer is all of them. The top 5 ladies are kicking things off with a medley of Donna Summer hits, I guess cause she's a diva? Okay, I'll nod and play along.

While the highlight of the performance is clearly the all-male backup singers/dancers (the only way they could be more distracting is if they were all dressed in pink), I'll also give props to Amber Holcomb's legs and sparkly studded silver heels. Janelle is rocking cowboy boots with a long dress, which is also pretty hilarious. And if I see leather pants (Angie Miller), they are always worth a mention. 

The Ford Fiesta Scavenger Hunt

These Ford missions really are the worst. It's sad when the group videos are the better alternative. This week, they're driving around in their Fiestas, following clues to a famous celebrity. They get some cupcakes and a clue about hair gel, and they're all like, Oh! It's the barber shop! Like there's only one of those in Los Angeles? Somehow they find the right one, and there's Matthew Morrison waiting for them. So glad we saw that. They really should make the missions involve giving back to the community or something. 

Jimmy Dissects the Ladies

I love that heading, because it sounds so creepy! The Following? Or American Idol? Of course no results yet, but Angie Miller is up first. Jimmy Iovine says she always feels the need to prove to us she can play the piano and stand up there and sing, as well. He found her piano performance believable, but NOT her rendition of "Halo," which is the opposite of how most people felt. Nicki Minaj says "Jimmy has no idea what he's talking about," and Ryan Seacrest sends Angie back to the couch. 

Candice Glover is up next, and Jimmy was worried about her after she did so well with "Lovesong." Then, after "Straight Up," he was REALLY worried about her. Some people really loved the Paula Abdul performance, but I'm with Jimmy. Still, after her second song, Jimmy was really impressed with her. She's a great singer AND she's really smart.

Ohhhhhh, and Paula Abdul is back, y'all! Looking good, too. Nice stems. I felt old on Wednesday night, but it's gotta make you feel really old when your hit came out the same year the person singing it was born. Paula seems as out there as ever, and she praises the judges for successfully plotting an all-girl top 5. She also loves Candice. Who doesn't? 

A Clay Aiken Trip Through Time

Before Clay finished second in Season 2, he was a special ed teacher. He has since started The National Inclusion Project to help kids with disabilities, and he's traveled around the world to further his cause. It was different the usual montage that shows us the singer's path to success, but since he's giving back, it's a nice change of pace.

He's singing "Bridge Over Troubled Water," and while he's clearly still got it, I don't know if he's even in the same class as these top 5. Not like he cares much, but he was never a superstar or anything. That's why he's the opening act. 

More 'Results'

Ryan tells us that tonight is "all about results," which is the biggest overstatement since people argued the WWF was real. Jimmy thought Janelle Arthur's first song was a snoozefest, and she needed to hit a home run with "Dumb Blonde." Instead, she struck out. Dolly Parton sent in a statement because apparently she's just too damn old or busy to record a message on Skype. Maybe she knew she couldn't sound believable praising Janelle with spoken words. 

Amber is under the microscope next, and Jimmy wonders why she always delivers and ends up in the bottom two. He thought she took two big risks singing Mariah Carey and Barbra Streisand, and she did both brilliantly. He thinks she'll be rewarded. I'm not as optimistic.

Jimmy thinks Kree Harrison made bad choices and didn't show her off her soul. Then he focuses on how Keith Urban and Randy Jackson looked like deer in the headlights when Mariah and Nicki bicker. 

Fantasia's Trip Down Memory Lane

First, we're taking a look back at LaToya London and The Three Divas. There was a shocking elimination night back in season 3 when London, Fantasia and Jennifer Hudson were all in the bottom three. J-Hud, who was sent home that night, is a superstar and an Oscar winner. Fantasia is a "powerhouse in the R&B" world (like Donna Summer is a superdiva) and a Broadway star (I'll give you that). But what about Latoya? What ever happened to her, American has (not) been wondering for years and years. Apparently she was in The Color Purple with Fantasia and no one noticed, but she's finally getting back to her music and recording an album. Good for her. 

Fantasia is performing her new single, "Lose to Win," and it's weird we didn't get anything about her path to success on the show. She must've tried to pimp out her friend in exchange for coming on. She sounds amazing, reveling in all the glory that won her this competition. She, unlike Clay, would win if she were in it today. She does a bizarre thing though, walking us through the structure of the song, saying things like, "On to the bridge!" before the bridge. It's like singing by numbers.

In a touching moment, her lip shakes after her performance, and she's still emotional about Idol even after all these years. But there's only 10 minutes left, so no time to talk to her about any of it! We still need two more commercials before we find out who's not going home!

Rapid-Fire Results!

No time for filler now!

Candice Glover is safe
Angie Miller is safe
Amber Holcomb is safe

Kree Harrison and Janelle Arthur are the bottom two. Which one will be singing for her life? Yes, folks, that's THE FIRST OFFICIAL CONFIRMATION that the save is still in play!

I can't imagine we're in for any surprises here.

Kree Harrison is safe
Janelle Arthur is "singing for her life"

The only question now is if Idol will change the rules to send Janelle home and hold on to the save. Janelle is singing her very original version of "You Keep Me Hanging On," which was obviously her highlight of the season. I almost can't believe how ho-hum this is going to be. It's like there's a script. 

Wait, what? The judges are NOT using the safe on Janelle.

Janelle Arthur is eliminated

Oh well, I guess they're changing the rules. Now the save is for use "only once" this season, and there's no longer a time frame set to use it. At least we get to hear "Gone, Gone, Gone" again, which is always one of my favorite parts. 

Ryan definitely said a few weeks ago that there was a time limit on the use of the save, but he never mentioned a change in the rules. I think that's all a bit shady, but I also predicted this was a possibility, so I'm not surprised. Still fits the script. 

Now they'll use the save next week, probably on Amber Holcomb, because the Top 4 is pretty clear cut. Janelle was the only one who didn't quite fit. Still, I feel a bit put off by the format. Weaksauce all around!

What did you think? Were you shocked by how things played out? Do you feel cheated by the undeclared rules change? Do you just shake your head and shrug your shoulders and get back to whatever you do after an uninspiring Idol results show? Gee, I wonder what we're in store for next week? I wish tonight made me feel like I didn't know what was going to happen next, but I still feel like it's going to be pretty predictable. I can only hope you'll stick it out with me to find out for sure! See you then!

You can watch American Idol every Wednesday and Thursday at 8pm on FOX.

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