Idol Results Recap: Chris Loses Identity, Then Loses the Contest
Two weeks ago, American Idol contender Chris Sligh pocketed his trademark black-framed glasses to take a whack at Diana Ross' Endless Love. It was a clumsy attempt by a guy who had carved out a niche as the funny, nerdy vocal powerhouse to play in the big leagues, and try being a real heartthrob.
And it was awful.
So I wasn't surprised when the show handed the beefy South Carolina boy his walking papers tonight -- 24 hours after his worst performance yet, a surprisngly off-tempo Every Little Thing (She Does Is Magic). The guy had forgotten why Idol liked him -- the most dangerous mistake to make at this point, aside from forgetting your song lyrics.
The see-you-later montage they played after announcing Chris' loss said it all. Stocked with images from early in his time on the show, it featured Sligh's classic line about how he "just wanted to make David Hasselhoff cry." If only he'd held onto that I-know-I'm-scruffy-but-I'm-cute-and-funny vibe, he might have lasted longer. Or if he sang like this.
As it was, even DialIdol.com got this one right.
Worst of all, Sligh didn't even get to be the star of his own failure. That honor fell again to Sanjaya's hair -- or, rather, the memory of Tuesday night's poyntail faux-hawk -- which inspired host Ryan Seacrest to don a similar-looking wig for the show's start. As I was telling a reporter today from The Indian American magazine -- really! -- Sanjaya's success hasn't yet upset the applecart that is the American Idol process.
Indeed, if Sanjaya didn't exist, Idol producers would have had to invent him. Because he's keeping TV shows, newspaper columnists, web sites -- and yes, blogs -- talking about Idol at a time when the show is usually its snooziest.
We still have a few more also-rans to lose before this Sanjaya thing gets serious. Haley "Gams" Scarnato, Gina Glocksen (at left), Chris Richardson and Phil Stacey are still varying shades of mediocre; Sanjaya outlasting them on the strength of his personlaity doesn't say much. Stacey in particular seems vulnerable; he's landed in the bottom three at least twice before and seems no closer to developing an appealing onstage image -- which is what seemed to doom all those who have gone before.
And as more of the mediocrities hit the bricks, the overall performance quality goes up and Sanjaya's performances will only become more excruciating. Hopefully fans of other ousted singers migrate elsewhere and Sanjaya takes the long walk before a singer who really matters gets cut.
For an interesting Idol perspective -- backed by some actual reporting, believe it or don't -- check this cheeky story in Britain's Independent newspaper.