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St. Petersburg's Michael Lynche saved from ejection by American Idol judges



Lynche Now that American Idol's judges have stepped up and saved St. Petersburg-raised Michael Lynche from ejection after Lynche earned the lowest total audience votes Wednesday, two things are clear.

Idol voters aren't coming close to picking the best singers, nearly dumping the show's best singer this early in the competition.

And I need to stop predicting winners. Because an endorsement from this critic is like the kiss of death in reality TV.

Given that actual vote totals are never revealed, it's a little suspicious that a front-runner like Lynche, easily the most technically gifted singer in the field, was in danger of ejection so soon. Another troubling trend, with Lynche and Andrew Garcia in the bottom two, the show's only remaining singers of color both received the lowest scores.

Concern over the fate of racial minorities on Idol is a regularly surfacing issue; check out this Daily Beast story on how tween girls' preference for cute white guys is derailing the show. On March 4, all four singers eliminated from the competition were people of color and the week before, two of the four ejected had Hispanic surnames, sparking stories.

Once he was announced as the lowest vote-getter, Lynche had to sing for his spot, uncorking an emotional version of This Woman's Work -- the Maxwell version of a Kate Bush tune that proved to be one of his most popular performances a few weeks ago.

"We all wish you did something like that yesterday," said judge Simon Cowell after Lynche was finished, criticizing his Tuesday performance of Eleanor Rigby. "This is why you're in the position you're in right now, because of what happened yesterday."

To be sure, this was the kind of jolt Idol needed -- delivered seconds before DVRs across the country stopped recording -- providing a jarring result to remind viewers and contestants that anything can happen.

But the judges have no saves left. And, regardless of one's opinion of Lynche, it is hard to look at the performances of some other singers -- yes, future High School Musical 5 star Tim Urban, I'm thinking of you -- without wondering what some viewers are smoking.

Even if one of the show's best singers goes down next week or the week after, American Idol just may cement its status as a show which has leaped over a pool of sharks -- a singing competition unable to hand its crown to the the field's best singer.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 3:07pm]


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