Tuned In

Idol Watch: The Singer Not the Song

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Ray Mickshaw / FOX

Ray Mickshaw / FOX

Spoilers for last night’s American Idol elimination coming up after the jump:

“You were the one we were thinking about saving,” Simon Cowell told Alexis Grace after she was voted off American Idol. “So it’s all going to come down to this performance.”

Oh, come off it, Simon–no, it isn’t.

There may have been a number of factors behind the judges’ decision not to save Alexis last night: her general performance, her realistic chances of winning Idol, or their desire not to use their one get-out-of-jail free card—and more to the point, deprive season 8 of its gimmick—too early. (Which would have created an interesting complication next week. With 11 singers going and two being eliminated, presumably the bottom finisher of the two would be shut out of the Idol tour—and if it wasn’t Alexis, would be rightfully pissed off.) 

Either way, I have a hard time believing that the decision wasn’t already made, that Alexis had any chance of saving herself with a second rendition of “Jolene,” even if she crooned a song so magical it gave Scott eyesight on national television. And if that were the case, then the save would be kind of pointless anyway, since the very idea behind is to take into consideration a singer’s performance over time and not eliminate him or her on the basis of one performance. 

The notion of having contestants “sing for their lives,” then, shows the save to be mainly a cynical stunt—a twist designed to inject a little more drama into the results shows. (And a pretty sadistic twist at that, not least when you have a pleading before the judges with a song whose lyrics actually include “I’m begging you.” Hard to argue she “wasn’t feelin’ the song” last night!) If the judges played it too early, the producers would lose their gimmick. So although the judges seemed to like Alexis from early on, seemed to think she had a strong chance, and might have liked to save her, in the end it was more important to save the save. 

Meanwhile, Michael—whom the judges flatly stated was not even worth considering saving—stays on. 

In other news, it was not a good night for the Tuned In Index: only one of the bottom pageview-getters here, Michael, finished in the bottom three in the voting. I did slightly better in my predictions, guessing Allison and Michael but missing Alexis altogether. How did you do? And would you have used the save?