While I'm slightly disappointed that the judges didn't deem Normund worthy of another performance, or didn't go back and pluck Jamar out of obscurity from the Hollywood rounds and give him another shot, I'm mostly happy with the picks for tonight's Wild Card competition. Though I really did think there would be more forgotten Hollywood people who didn't get to the semifinals... which I thought was part of the point, and I am still baffled about this whole process and why the judges didn't just randomly pick people they like and are forcing us to sit through yet another episode this week, but we're going to make the best of it. Here's who I think has the best shot.
Thanks to this new and convoluted Idol format we've found out who the first three people in the Top 12 will be, though in all likelihood we'll forget their names by the time they come back a month from now. The lucky threesome consists of Danny Gokey, Alexis Grace and Michael Sarver, all of whom were put through the rigors of a press conference call on Thursday. But not, we suspect, before some intense media training that wisely must have instructed them not to bad mouth Tatiana, or any of their other group members, lest they end up returning in the wild card round. Plus, it's not good if you are trying to get America to love you. Which Alexis Grace is certainly trying to do with her up with the people answer to the inquiry about who deserved a second chance: "That is a tough question because everybody was good in our group. I mean I would have said that could be top 12 right there." They also weren't entirely sure what was happening between now and the time that we'll see them again, and were all equally vague, but as Michael Sarver put it, "There are opinions floating around about how things should go, but they have not made it clear exactly what's next for us. So, we just kind of take it one step at a time and say, 'Yes, sir. No, sir. Yes, ma'am. No, ma'am' and go there."
I have a confession to make, one that could potentially threaten my standing as an editor at Television Without Pity. Before last night's season premiere, I had never seen an episode of American Idol. I know, I know, how could I be a TV writer and not watch the most popular TV show in America? Well, there are three perfectly good reasons: 1) I hate most modern mainstream music, especially ballads, R&B and country. 2) As a former singer myself, I hate bad singing, and the show seems to showcase a lot of it during the auditions. 3) Until last year, I worked at a magazine about action figures, and watching a show like AI could have threatened my geek status. (If there had been American Idol action figures, though, I would have been all over it. ...Hey, why aren't there American Idol action figures?) But I put aside my prejudices for one night last night, and was pleasantly surprised to see all of my preconceived notions of the show blown out of the water, making me a convert. Possibly for life.
Have you heard of The X Factor? It's kinda supposed to be like the old American Idol, but better and with more Pepsi commercials in the middle of each episode? In the off-chance the media blitz hasn't found you in your cave, judge Simon Cowell took a press call to answer the burning questions that we lowly Americans have about his new series (debuting tonight on Fox) and even took the time to trash a few of his competitors.
After only four episodes of American Idol this season, Steven Tyler has definitely turned out to be a... unique addition to the judging panel. Not only does he hit on girls who are half his age (or even younger), he also spouts some of the most inane babble I've ever heard on this show, or on television in general -- and I watch a lot of shows that make no sense at all. Hell, the women on The Bad Girls Club follow a more logical stream in their rantings. Even Camille Grammer's convoluted logic makes more sense. Here's a rundown of the things Steven said this week that still have me scratching my head:
What has six legs, three heads and destroys dreams? Answer: The judging table of American Idol. Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson have been breaking untalented American hearts for years, but now they're about to grow a new head, because four heads can break hearts 30% faster. Award-winning songwriter Kara DioGuardi -- who's lived with Paula Abdul, worked with multiple AI contestants and writes half of the mainstream pop played on radios nowadays -- is joining the judges' table in Tuesday night's premiere. To get to know this newcomer/industry veteran, we sat in on a conference call where she talked about her catchphrase, the new Cowell-centric voting system and which former Idol she'd like to work with.
All summer long I've been thinking that So You Think You Can Dance is better than American Idol, and clearly I'm not the only one. Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe is ditching his post behind-the-scenes on Idol in order to focus more on his gig exec. producing and judging the summer-long dance competition. One might think the man is crazy for leaving his presumably well-paying job on the insanely highly rated singing show, but maybe he'd just had enough of Seacrest. Plus, this is the guy who willingly sits next to scream queen Mary Murphy on a regular basis so he's got to be more than a little nuts.
AMC recently cancelled the glacially paced Rubicon, but at least their new show The Walking Dead is off to a great start, with ratings that dwarf anything in the network's history (not to mention plenty of shows on bigger channels). Perhaps if they'd tossed a few undead characters on to Rubicon, it would have gotten a second-season pickup. In fact, almost any program could benefit from an infusion of zombies. Here's our wish list:
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