Pop Culture

'Idol' judges berate fans for sending Pia home

The judges are extremely unhappy with the “American Idol” voters for their decision to send Pia Toscano home on Wednesday.

“I’m shocked. I’m angry. I don’t even know what to say,” J.Lo ranted, faulting the voters for failing to read her mind and discern which of the nine heavily praised finalists she loved better than others.

“I’m with Jennifer. We’re all in shock. I’m gutted. You’re one of the best singers in this. I’m never upset on this show, but this makes me mad. Really mad,” Randy Jackson told the tearful Toscano. It was a display of passion that would have been more useful had his preference for her been made clear 24 hours earlier.

“A mistake is one thing, but lack of passion is unforgivable. They’re wrong. She’s beautiful when she sings — she’s a bird,” Steven Tyler added, which sounded a lot like the type of praise he offers to any and all competitors every single week.

Toscano’s elimination was truly shocking, perhaps the biggest surprise since Chris Daughtry in season five (though this came a lot earlier in the competition). Either of the other two performers in the bottom three would have been more logical choices. Jacob Lusk sang early, which is usually bad news, and Stefano Langone was the only singer to get the tiniest, tiniest twinge of negative feedback on Wednesday.

But if the results really surprised the judges, then they should keep in mind that very few of the show’s viewers have the power to read minds. It would have been impossible to gauge that the panel loved Toscano more than anyone else in the competition because they gave lavish praise to everyone, and ended the show by saying everyone was great and they didn’t know who people should vote for.

If the judges truly love everyone and don’t care who people keep around, then they should keep on doing what they’re doing. But if they want the audience to vote in a certain way, the least they could do is make those preferences clear. If the judges think everyone deserves a share of first place, they can’t complain when sheer random chance causes someone they secretly like better than the others to finish in ninth place.

Let the second-guessing begin
Toscano would almost certainly have been the recipient of the judges’ save this week ... but it wasn’t available. It was used two weeks ago to keep Casey Abrams.

That’s worked out great for Abrams, who hasn’t been in danger since. But in hindsight, the judges have to be wishing they had let him go. Not only did that save deprive them of the chance to keep Toscano, it also means that five women have been eliminated in five weeks, with the only save being used the one time one of the guys was in trouble.

Regardless of what happens next week, this will be the second year in a row that at least five of the final seven performers will be guys. Clearly, when America looks for a pop idol, it’s not gender equitable.

Icky Iggy
You know that guy who can’t really accept the fact that some time has passed and he’s not the same person he once was, and should think about toning it down a bit? Like the 28-year-old who still hangs out at the college bars with the freshmen, or the 45-year-olds who play softball like the New York Yankees have scouts in attendance?

That’s Iggy Pop. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has had a huge influence on music, but judging by the facial expressions of the teenage girls in the front row, they could have done without the shirtless 63-year-old thrusting his chest in front of them. Sure, that may be because they were asking “who’s Iggy Pop,” but the definite focus was more like “get away from me, grandpa.”

And based on J.Lo’s expression when the rock legend moved in front of her seat, Marc Anthony doesn’t have anything to worry about either.

Scandal avoidance
Among the duties the "Idol" finalists had this week was to go to the set of “TMZ on TV” to get advice on dealing with the media. “Don’t wind up on our show” would have been the perfect takeaway.

Instead, the highlight was when host Harvey Levin asked Abrams what he would say if asked by the paparazzi who he was dating. With the perfect mix of disdain and disgust, Abrams answered, “Your mom.”

Of course, answers like that are what get famous people on TMZ in the first place.

Coaching it up
As if the finalists needed more random celebrities stopping by, Russell Brand showed up as the “charisma coach.” Not coincidentally, his remake of “Arthur” is hitting theaters as we speak.

But to his credit, Brand was entertaining, bringing the contestants to the judges’ podium. “If we know what it’s like to be a judge, we can conquer the fear,” Brand said.

Of course, considering nobody does any actual judging, there was no reason for anyone to fear the panel's comments anyway. Except for the audience, whom the judges berated Thursday for failing to read minds.

Craig Berman is a frequent contributor to TODAY.com. Follow him on Twitter as he live tweets each episode.

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