Tuned In

Idol Watch: Let's Get Wild!

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Michael Becker / Fox

Michael Becker / Fox

Spoilers for American Idol coming up after the jump:

Lil, Scott and Jorge. No surprises. Let’s move on. 

So last night the judges named eight wildcards, who tonight will sing for their lives as the judges choose three to spare from expulsion. A good performance tonight is their last best chance.

Or is it? I know that’s the party line, but it’s hard to imagine that the judges have not, to some extent or another, already made up their minds. Maybe they’re wavering in an instance or two. But at this point, they’ve heard the contestants sing, a lot. They know the other nine contestants, and thus know how they fit into whatever balance of gender, demographics or musical style the judges and producers are aiming for. What’s another singing performance going to change about that? 

For that matter, consider the rationale for having a wild-card round at all. It’s so that the judges can exercise some discretion and put through talented singers who may have been tripped up by one bad song. Well, if the problem with judging by a single performance was the whole reason to bring these people back, isn’t one more single performance actually the worst way to decide which wild cards advance? 

All of which makes me feel–as is pretty much always the case with Idol–that we’re just being set up so Fox can squeeze another night of ratings out of the show. I’ll watch anyway, of course. But I’ll be glad I have TiVo. 

(By the way, although I suspect the wild-card performances are a bit of a sham, I don’t really mind the judges picking wild cards. Maybe it runs slightly counter to the spirit of Idol, but I’ll save my outrage for actual democracy.)

So let’s handicap the eight. Tatiana—look, I’m on record as saying that she is not a bad singer, but she’s also no better than Kristen or Jackie Tohn or any number of other women; I think we can assume she’s just there to give us one more breakdown for old times’ sake. I’d be glad to see either Jesse or Megan go through, though I’m guessing Megan and her wacky arms have the edge, if only because Idol’s predilection for easy-on-the-eyes blondes may be the tiebreaker. Jasmine has a shot if the judges want to fill the could-have-her-own-Disney-show slot. 

Presumably the guys have a tougher road since there are already six in the final, but I don’t think the judges are obliged to keep the gender divide 50-50, or even close, if they believe they have more talented men this year. I don’t really see the stage appeal of Von or Ricky, but they have their fans—some in my family, so I’ll say no more. I personally would like to see Matt go through, not just because he’s a fellow Michigander but because the contest could use his personality.

Which leaves Anoop (in the Tuned In household, “Anoop” is now the official onomatopoeia for the sound the TiVo makes when you fast-forward); I’d have called him a favorite early on, but I worry that his diffident attitude last time out told the judges he doesn’t want it enough. But in my eyes, not wanting it enough is only a positive, so I’m in his corner. 

I’m guessing the judges put through two women and one dude. My hope: Megan, Jesse and Anoop. My guess: Megan, Jasmine and Ricky.

Now it’s your turn: Who should be the three wild cards, and who will be the three wild cards? Oh, and do you like the idea of a wild-card round at all?