American Idol recap: St. Pete's Big Mike survives another week; Siobhan Magnus not so lucky
American Idol's fickle voters struck again Wednesday, sending home punky screamer Siobhan Magnus, despite a powerful performance the night before which impressed the judges mightily.
Her ejection also leaves just one woman standing -- longtime favorite Crystal Bowersox, who again looked like she'd just been sucker punched as host Ryan Seacrest delivered the disappointing news to Magnus. All those critics who have insisted the show's tween female audience is sinking the competition now have new ammunition, as the field is narrowing to four cute guys and Mamasox.
Magnus' ouster, after landing in the bottom three with St. Pete's Michael Lynche and Casey James, proved an almost anti-climactic end to yet-another overly padded results show.
With the field down to just six contestants, Idol producers did everything but light Seacrest on fire to eat up time, showing behind the scenes video from their latest Ford commercial, then showing the commercial itself, then airing behind the scenes video from the new Shrek movie, then showing footage of the contestants watching the Shrek movie and then proceeding to an uncomfortable live interview with Shrek co-stars Cameron Diaz and Antonio Banderas.
The performances were equally odd, with Idol alum Carrie Underwood introducing the Sons of Sylvia, a bunch of mascara-wearing, tousel-haired emo boys who just happen to play fiddle and mandolin -- kinda like The Cure with a Nashville twang.
That oddity was surpassed only by Shakira's duet with country pop rockers Rascal Flatts, a bizarro genre-blending moment which saw a barefoot Shakira jamming on the harmonica while Flatts frontman Gary LeVox tried desperately not to look like the odd man out he so clearly was.
Asked to give the Idols some advice by a desperately vamping Seacrest, Shakira quoted Theodore Roosevelt (?!): "Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground" -- a historic line that came uncomfortably close to insipid Top 40 host Casey Kasem's classic sign off.
And the clearest sign that Idol was straining to fill an hour; the show actually finished on schedule for the first time in weeks, as Seacrest led Magnus to hug all the judges and take some useless advice from Randy Jackson before finally wrapping up the sagging show.
Which leaves two lessons: Big Mike better bring a big performance next week -- with Harry Connick Jr. mentoring them through a batch of Frank Sinatra covers -- and Idol needs to plan its ejection episodes better.
Because, with just five folks left in the game, there's only going to be more time to fill next week.