Nov. 11, 2011 at 8:48 AM ET
SCENE: Late night at the Ryan Seacrest mansion.
The phone rings.
Paula Abdul: Ryan, it’s me. Honey, you have to get me back on “American Idol." I can’t take this any more. I lost two of my three acts before Veterans Day. The other was one of the two lowest vote-getters this week. The stress is killing me. You have to help me out.
Ryan: Sorry, Paula. You know I’d love to, but these contracts are ironclad. But tell L.A. Reid and Simon Cowell to call me in the morning -- love to get their acts on my radio show.
OK, that didn’t happen. At least, not as far as I know. But who could blame Paula if it did?
At least on “Idol,” when acts get booted off, a kind-hearted judge who wishes that this was like first-grade soccer and everyone got to claim victory and come away with a trophy could console herself that it doesn’t reflect poorly on them in particular. Not so here.
The groups category was always expected to be the most challenging one to mentor, especially since the talent level was such that two of the three groups to make the final 12 were ones that the judges cobbled together after boot camp. That’s not a ringing endorsement of the raw materials Paula had to work with.
And now, the lone finalist who began auditions as a group is gone. The Stereo Hogzz found themselves in the bottom two for the second week in a row, and the judges decided to give the voters what they want, which is apparently something that is not the Stereo Hogzz. Or inTENsity, the teen club brought to life that was the previous week’s victim.
The result didn’t come without drama, and if you were surprised that the drama centered around Paula than you’ve probably never seen her on TV before. After L.A. Reid and Nicole Scherzinger voted to send the Hogzz home, she had a mini-meltdown and refused to vote despite Steve Jones' nagging. The host is seriously coming across like That Student teachers used to leave in charge when they left the classroom who would dutifully write up all of the goofing-off classmates for detention.
Eventually, Paula half-heartedly voted against Lakoda Rayne -- and based on their performance Thursday, they deserved it -- but with her torture complete Simon stepped in and cast the deciding vote against the men. So ultimately her vote had no impact anyway, except that it’s apparently considered good TV to put her through the wringer.
Will Lakoda Rayne make it three-for-three next week and put the entire category out of its misery? In their favor: It’s hard to imagine the judges knocking off a band three weeks in a row and booting Paula from the competition. Working against them: They still look like four soloists singing together rather than a group.
But they can always take the advice offered by guest performer Jessie J. No, she didn’t tell them, “It’s not about the money.” “X Factor” is all about the price tag, which the audience was once again reminded was $5 million. Instead, she told them, “Never expect, never presume, always work hard and always stay true to who you are.”
Then again, who they are, technically, is a group. So based on these first two weeks, their best chance at winning “X Factor” would be to figure out what else they can be instead.
Are the groups getting a raw deal? Was Stereo Hogzz the right band to go home this week? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page!