Now that American Idol's judges have stepped up and saved St. Petersburg-raised Michael Lynche from ejection after he earned the lowest number of 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, is that the show's only remaining singers of color both received the lowest scores.
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.
"We all wish you did something like that yesterday," judge Simon Cowell said 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, providing a jarring result to remind viewers and contestants that anything can happen.
But the judges have no saves left. And, regardless of anyone'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 that has leaped over a pool of sharks — a singing competition unable to hand its crown to the field's best singer.