I know there’ve been a lot of criticisms of American Idol Season 12, but none of its results shows up till now have driven me into a homicidal rage. (Okay, Breanna Steer not cracking the Top 10 came pretty close, but we haven’t had a moment where I’ve been on the brink of spouting “THAT’S IT! I’M DONE WITH THIS SHOW 4EVA!” nonsense.)
And I guess that’s why I approached Top 7 Results Night with a mixture of paranoia and dread. Okay, yeah, Lazaro Arbos got saddled with the most ominous lyric from the group performance of Queen’s “Somebody to Love” — “I got no rhythm/ I just keep losing my beat” — but there was a sinking feeling in my gut that reminded me how Jessica Sanchez, Jennifer Hudson and Matt Giraud all (unjustly) received the lowest number of votes at this point in the competition in their respective seasons. Yeah, two of ’em got the “Judges’ Save” while one of ’em went on to get the Oscar, but still, the message kept flashing in my brain: You can’t get this far into the competition without bad things happening. Verrrry bad things, in fact.
Of course, it took almost a half hour before Ryan cut to the chase and started getting down to the business of results. But before he’d even had a chance to tell us what the speed-dialing nation had done with its great responsibility, I found myself with that familiar feeling: Fury in my gut, expletives on my tongue, and a “HULK SMASH!” vibe percolating in my nonexistent pecs.
What had me so hopping mad? Idol mentor Jimmy Iovine and three out of four judges naming their personal Top 3 lists and failing to include the season’s most talented, most consistent competitor — Candice Flippin’
Flover Glover (see how angry I am?)
Welcome back, unrelenting anger, my old friend. Shall we cut to the proceedings? Might as well!
JIMMY’S/JUDGES’ PICKS FOR THE TOP 3
JIMMY: Amber, Angie, Kree (but he also loves Candice)
KEITH: Kree, Angie, Amber (did dude forget Angie’s Top 9 and Top 8 performances)
NICKI: Angie, Amber, Kree (ditto!)
RANDY: Amber, Kree, Angie (not that anyone cares what Randy thinks)
MARIAH: Kree, Amber, Candice (well, THANK YOU, Mariah, for being the sole voice of sanity)
Then it was time for actual votes — from America — the ones that count.
AMERICA’S TOP 3 (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER)
That Dude Who Forgot His Lyrics the Past Two Weeks
SINGING FOR HIS LIFE
Burnell Taylor: India.Arie’s “Ready for Love” | Burnell sang with great intensity and heart — hitting most of his notes, albeit with a slight case of mushy-mouth. But after his absolutely lame Wednesday cover of “You Give Love a Bad Name,” I’m not sure he’d have scored the save even if he’d levitated up and over the judges table and into the VIP seating where The Mindy Project stars were enjoying some cross-promotional synergy. Nope, the Save carries into next week, and it probably should, just as a final defense against the Lazaro Epidemic.
A few additional thoughts:
* Perhaps Janelle’s Bottom 2 placing is a classic case of vote splitting: Country fans are gravitating to Kree, and she’s the one losing out. Ditto for Amber and Candice, who may be sharing the R&B Diva fan base — and unable to crack the Top 3 as a result. Depressing, but it might explain Lazaro’s Top 3 placing: He’s got the “tone deaf” and “loves cute boys” voting blocs all to himself!
* Listless as that group performance of “Somebody to Love” was, Candice’s final epic solo run made it all worthwhile. Even if she’s destined to finish the season at No. 5 or maybe No. 4, she’s made my first half of 2013 a better place to be.
* Let’s hope Fox releases those Ford “Who’s Your Idol?” photos for sites like TVLine to publish! The Top 7 was lookin’ fly. That said, would you have ever guessed ballad-crazed Burnell would choose someone as edgy as Pharrell Williams as his main inspiration?
* Casey James’ “The Good Life” felt a little hook-free to me, but he won me over with his sheer enthusiasm for being back on the Idol stage with an original track — and his thoughtful personalized gifts for the Top 7.
* Footage from Carrie’s pre-audition farm life never ceases to amaze me. I thought her voice sounded a tad war-torn on new single “See You Again” (and I prefer the monumental “Two Black Cadillacs, persoanlly), but it’s always great to see a reminder of the power this program holds. They really don’t get more powerhouse than The Lady Underwood these days, do they? And her journey started right there on the Idol stage.
I’ll be back shortly to update this post with more info on guest performers and other deets, but until then, it’s your turn. What did you think of Season 12 Top 7 results night? Did the right person go home? And did you dig Carrie Underwood and Casey James? Sound off in the comments, and for all my Idol-related news, recaps, interviews and videos, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!