American Idol voters got it right: Casey Abrams should have gone home tonight
I figured the moment Casey Abrams flubbed the first big note in Marvin Gaye's Heard It Through the Grapevine on Wednesday, he was going home.
But despite blowing a lot of notes in the classic soul song, American Idol's judges acted like he'd just delivered the best version this side of Joe Cocker. So they were pretty blindsided when the show's voters decided to send him home tonight, giving him the least ballots of any singer in the competition.
I blame shock for the judges' next boneheaded move: They used the season's only save to keep him in the game.
The devotion J. Lo, Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler have shown to Abrams has always perplexed me -- like watching a girl you respect keep dating the biggest losers in the room. He has one shtick -- the energetic blue-eyed soul guy with more passion than pitch control -- and that gig wears thin pretty quickly.
Actually, the save isn't quite so boneheaded. Only the top 10 finishers were supposed to do Idol's concert tour; and as tone challenged as Abrams' performances can be, there's no denying he's a crowd pleasing performer who would likely jazz the live performances.
Following the save, host Ryan Seacrest announced all 11 singers still in the game get to tour; score another one for diabolically clever executive producer Nigel Lythgoe.
But tonight's ejection should have stood for much more important reasons. It broke the show's pattern of kicking off women and people of color established over the last two weeks. And it punctured the bubble of self-congratulation which has allowed Idol judges to pretend charismatic guys like Abrams and Paul McDonald can sing at the same level as the other competitors. Just ain't so, folks.
Other moments in tonight's ejection episode played like a bad acid trip; Tampa Bay's own Hulk Hogan announcing that two singers were safe before punching Ryan Seacrest? Marc "Mr. J. Lo" Anthony spending time to show the singers how in-ear monitors work? (they couldn't find somebody with a little lower pay grade to handle that?) Soul legend Stevie Wonder singing happy birthday to Cryptkeeper-in-training Tyler? Sugarland taking the stage with a lead singer dressed like a extra from Yo Gabba Gabba?
Odd times, indeed. I hope Idol voters next week ignore the hype and give Casey the pink slip he so richly deserves.
Turns out, getting Idol back on track didn't mean just upgrading the contestants. It means disciplining the judges a little bit, too.