Our gut reaction to this new Idol rule where the judges get to save one person a season from certain elimination was "Hell No!" It takes away the whole premise of this being a contest that America gets to have a say, since ostensibly America is the one that is going to be buying the albums of the winner at some point down the line. But then we got to reflecting and thinking about how sometimes, America is just stupid and succumbs to the whole thing as one giant popularity contest keeping less talented people (Sanjaya) while others with actual singing chops get sent home. Or the pity vote (and don't even pretend like that wasn't why Anoop got saved this week) where America feels bad for someone because the judges reamed them out and voted. Or because America is just a bunch of lazy asses and didn't vote because their person was safe. Basically, the American Idol watching/voting public kind of sucks, and if once in a while the judges who have a knowledge of what might actually sell in the world (by which I mean Simon and maybe Kara), get a chance to override their hastily made choices, it might not be an entirely bad thing.
1. We might actually get a good winner for a change
Well, given the lackluster Top 13 this season, the likelihood of this one happening is pretty minuscule. But we'd be happy if someone like Adam Lambert or Lil Rounds gets an extra pass on a week when they have a bad song choice and the voters turn against them. It might help them rise to the top over the somehow popular Matt Giraud or Scott MacIntyre, because who would want to own album from either of them?
2. Can make up for over-enthusiastic fandoms
Think of Sanjaya's crying girl, or all those little tweens who were obsessed with David Archuleta. They've got nothing better to do with their time than text message or sit on a phone hitting redial for hours voting for Danny Gokey or Kris Allen because they are cute and non-threatening. If their fast fingers put someone talented in danger, its nice that the voice of reason (or adulthood) might get a chance to weigh in.
3. Makes those stupid final songs somewhat more relevant
God, we always hate when Seacrest hands a newly eliminated person the microphone and tells them to sing to show America how awesome they are by making them sing a song that (in most cases) wasn't their best. But now, at least there's the front that while they are singing the judges are haggling over if they should get a second chance. We're not naive enough to believe they actually do it on the spot, but at least it is nice to pretend.
4. Less griping afterwards about how America got it wrong
The judges and Seacrest always admonish the voters when someone who is talented goes home before their time. And then the judges (mostly Simon) whine about it because they didn't have a say. Well... now they do. So they can just shut it.
5. Singers can't rely on that stupid, "It's not what the judges think, but America" fallback
There's nothing we hate more than a petulant person who just turned in a tone deaf performance talking back to the judges and belittling their opinions. They are judges. They are supposed to judge. Playing to America alone isn't going to work, because Paula's proven that she's got a memory like an elephant (or at least an assistant who gives her really good notes) and Simon can be vindictive, so this stupid retort could really come back to haunt them.
6. Gives Seacrest something new to say
After seven seasons of breaking the hearts of contestants and sending them on their way from the bottom two or three, now he at least gets to give them some sort of glimmer of hope. That must make his freakin' day. Then of course he can always blame the hardened judges for not using their super saver power for someone and he comes out looking like the good guy, instead of the grim reaper.
7. Takes away from some of the annoying padding on results night
The only reason to ever watch results night was to see what ridiculous cracked out thing they came up with for group sing and Ford commercials, and then for the last two minutes when someone gets axed. Now at least they can't save the bottom two for the very last minute, so one can only hope that this means less time spent on ridiculous banter between Seacrest and the contestants. Probably not, but we can dream.
8. The judges will actually have to agree on something
You know that every week Paula would be like, "I would love to save that person." At least forcing this to be a unanimous decision and puts the onus of keeping or chucking someone on the entire group. Given how much they like to squabble, getting them all to vote together and focus on one thing, might be the greatest achievement of this show.
9. At least it isn't a sing-off
When we first heard about there would be a twist, we were concerned it would be a dreaded sing-off. Yuck. This would put power in the judges hands on a weekly basis and that's not entirely fair. Plus, we'd have to start watching more than five minutes of the stupid results show. And we can't handle that.
10. They can only use it once per season
It isn't as if they are going to be using this every week. So it will likely be saved for those jaw-dropping egregious votes that elicit audible gasps from the crowds. It isn't as if America's vote has become totally irrelevant. It is a matter of just how much the judges liked someone. Are they willing to stake their one and only claim to relevancy on results night on their critiques from the night before?
What do you think? Is it the greatest thing to happen to this stale format yet, or is just another needlessly stupid twist?
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