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Idol Watch: A Singer Goes, A Gimmick Stays

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FOX

Spoilers for last night’s American Idol final-twelve elimination last night:

So last night Lacey Brown was sent home, maybe a little belatedly but not surprisingly. The one slight surprise in the bottom three was Paige, who was disappointing in the semifinals but, I thought, not so bad on Stones night. But either she was also not so good—that is, unmemorable—or first impressions simply stuck with her. Meanwhile, Tim Urban survived his John Mayer-ization of Under My Thumb to give us his look of stunned surprise for yet another week.

Something else that unfortunately survived: the Idol “judges’ save.” I laid out all the reasons that the save is a bad idea, and bad TV, last year, and they still hold true—essentially, it’s a bogus device that doesn’t even work as drama because it sets up a weekly anticlimax. The one improvement: the performer singing for his/her life has a choice of past songs, so the show does not punish America by making it hear its least favorite performance of the night before sung again, but more desperately.

You know what gimmick I’d like to see Idol bring back? The half-hour results show! Good Lord, that hour was bloated, right down to Ke$ha‘s teen-pageant version of a Lady Gaga performance. The big winner of Idol’s results night, really, are the makers of DVRs: that’s the only way to watch one of these overstuffed hours of TV.

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