American Idol twist: Judges get one veto, but will they use it wisely?
It was a minor surprise that voters sent Jorge Nunez and Jasmine Murray home tonight -- my money was on Matt Giraud and Megan Corkrey -- but the new twist allowing the judges to save one person one time this season was an interesting addition.
It's easy to see why Idol went along with this. Every elimination brings added suspense, as the ejected singer faces the judges' panel with doe eyes and hopes for the best. We can count on super jerk Simon Cowell to make sure there's little undeserved mercy shown.
Best of all, if another Jennifer Hudson or Chris Daughtry gets inexplicably cut by viewers, the judges can set things right.
BUT -- that's assuming the judges would be smart enough to save the right singer.
So far, some of the vocalists getting maximum love from the panel -- Broadway-bred screecher Adam Lambert and lumbering working-class hero Michael Sarver, for instance -- are hardly worthy. Once again, it feels as if Cowell's more focused on whose face he wants to see on the first post-Idol album cover, and the rest of the judges are along for the ride.
I'm reminded of some of the singers judges championed last year -- anybody remember Cowell's man crush on Aussie hunk Michael Johns? -- and I'm wondering if these folks would have saved Hudson even if they had the chance.
(By the way, my fave Idol quote this season came Tuesday, when Cowell told Scott MacIntyre "It's fine to be artistic, just not on this show.")
Also, it seems the unexpected elimination of a talented finalist is an Idol tradition -- like Paula Abdul logging at least one episode where she seems to be on any planet other than this one. Where's the suspense in the end if the judges can "correct" the fans whenever they feel like it?
Just more evidence that Idol producers are losing faith in their formula and casting about for new ways to take control. Hope they don't wind up killing what actually makes the show watchable in the process.