Last night we said good-bye to two finalists on American Idol.
The results were based on 33 million votes, a record for this stage in the competition.
Jasmine Murray and Jorge Nunez
Host Ryan Seacrest announced a twist to how this season's eliminations will work.
The new rule is called the judges' save. From this point up until the top five, the judges can save one contestant from elimination. They can use this power only once, and the vote has to be unanimous. If they save someone, they cannot use the power again the entire season. The week they use the save, no one will be eliminated. The next week, two will go.
Since they only get one shot at it, the judges are likely going to hold out until they hit a result similar to the shockers of Jennifer Hudson or Chris Daughtry leaving. Of course, even so they couldn't have saved Chris under this new rule, since he was in fourth place when he was booted.
Then Ryan introduced a video showing the finalists' new digs, which looked a lot like the first episode of a typical reality show. I wonder if they'll be showing more behind-the-scenes videos as the season continues, showing the inner dynamics between the contestants.
Next was the obligatory medley of Jackson 5 hits. This time, blind finalist Scott MacIntyre was on his feet, and the choreographers found creative ways of working with him, with other finalists smoothly guiding him to his new marks. This was almost unnoticeable, since the finalists were paired up. I'm not surprised that Scott did so well, since he's also done ballroom dancing. Speaking of dancing, amusingly, Danny got a dance solo in the middle, a clear reference to the criticism he got for his awkward dancing during this week's performance.
Following a video recap of the previous night, we saw the first Ford video of the season. The finalists' images were projected on buildings as they sang Queen's "We Will Rock You" in a nighttime city landscape. "You look so aggressive," Ryan said with a laugh afterwards. As Simon might say, like kittens trying to be tigers.
Then, Ryan started working through the finalists, declaring Michael Sarver and Allison Sarver safe before pulling Jasmine Murray to center stage. Matt Giraud was told to stand up next and, confused, tried to go to stage, but was pulled back by fellow finalists. Honey, don't go until you're called! He was safe. So was Kris Allen.
Megan was called to the stage to sweat it out with Jasmine, before being declared safe. Ryan told Jasmine to sing her song while the judges talked about whether to save her (um... right). She wore a big smile as she treated us to one more taste of her poor mike technique and wavering pitch.
No surprise, the judges decided not to use their Deus ex Machina power yet, and Jasmine seemed shocked. Ryan comforted her, telling her that she "really is tremendous" and, after her good-bye video, that he's always been struck by her "courage and poise." I don't know what he meant by courage, but she's definitely got poise. It's nice to see someone eliminated who doesn't make a huge scene (hello, Tatiana!).
Then, the self-absorbed Kanye West performed, using so many voice modifications that he sounded machine-like at times. I found it amusing that his background singers were all in shadow, which is testament to his massive ego. Don't believe me? Read this article. Perhaps not the best role model for our superstars in training.
Back to the eliminations. Scott MacIntyre was declared safe, as were Alexis Grace, Danny Gokey and Adam Lambert (shock! surprise!).
Anoop Desai is brought to center stage. Jorge Nunez and Lil Rounds are asked to stand, and Ryan declares Lil Rounds safe.
Anoop and Jorge had to wait for results, not just for a commercial break, but also for Kelly Clarkson, the first American Idol winner, to perform. She admitted it was a little nerve-wracking to be on the show again, because she thought she'd be judged. No need to worry; she showed everybody just how it's done.
Finally, after waiting patiently, Anoop was declared safe. His Number 1 fan, judge Paula Abdul, danced as Jorge sang "Never Can Say Good-bye." Behind him, Randy and Simon talked, although I doubt they were talking about anything beyond, "Who's going to deliver the bad news?" There was very little time left after Jorge finished, so Simon kept it brief when delivering the judges' verdict. Ryan asked, "Are you going to save Jorge."
"No, sorry," Simon said, arms crossed, shaking his hand.
Poor Jorge looked deflated as he thanked them. During the good-bye video, his fellow finalists surrounded him with hugs. Too bad he can't stay in the house with them a little longer; I'm sure he's nice to have around.
All video clips come from mjsbigblog.
Singing a song about saying good-bye is bad luck on Idol.