Tuned In

Idol Watch: The First Cut

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Brief spoilers for last night’s American Idol elimination after the jump:

The first round of eliminations were both surprising and not: surprising because the people I thought would leave didn’t—a shocked Tim Urban seemed to think his own survival was ridiculous, and I’m sure he was not alone—and not surprising, because the ejectees (Janell Wheeler, Ashley Rodriguez, Joe Munoz, and Tyler Grady) were people I’d have picked to walk the plank before the final 12 anyway. (The possible exception was Janell, who I thought might stay not for her talent so much as for the prettyprettypretty—but there are easily six more deserving girls in the lineup.) I agree with HitFix’s Dan Fienberg that Urban was probably saved by his pre-semifinals screen time, but that will only salvage him for so long with performances like this week’s.

As for the non-elimination filler last night: could there be anything more awkward than  Kara mashing on Casey James Wednesday night? How about bringing her husband on to recap it in front of him! Meanwhile, it was nice to see Allison Iraheta—even singing a pretty awful power ballad—and to see that her post-Idoldom fame training hasn’t entirely professionalized the personality out of her. As for Kris Allen, he never did a lot for me as a contestant, but he comes across sincere and humble in trying to do some good for Haiti. I find I’m liking him better as a former Idol than as an Idol: he’s like the Jimmy Carter of American Idol.