Scott MacIntyre became the sixth finalist eliminated on “American Idol” Wednesday on a night that brought out a level of emotion rarely seen from the judges’ stand.
MacIntyre, the first blind finalist in the show’s eight seasons, was an inspiration to many. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t come up with performances to match his backstory. In a field where nobody is making big mistakes, it’s the smaller issue of bland song selection that did him in. But it appeared to be with genuine regret that the judges sent him on his way.
Blown Save: MacIntyre closed the show with a performance of “The Search is Over” that would likely have saved him had it occurred on Tuesday. “How can I convince you that what you see is real?” the lyrics asked, and the vocals were almost good enough to do exactly that. It earned him a standing ovation, and a long send-off speech from Paula calling him an inspiration to the world. Unfortunately for him, since the judges couldn’t agree after much discussion whether to save him or not, the “Idol” search is the one that ended for him.
Anoop escapes again: It’s getting to be a weekly occurrence for Anoop Desai to be left sweating until the show's final seconds. The 13th and last finalist selected, he’s been among the lowest vote-getters three times this season, and somehow always manages to escape elimination. This week, it was 30,000 votes that kept him just ahead of Scott in the race to stick around. No word on whether MacIntyre will take on the role of a politician and demand a recount.
Warning sign: Lil Rounds found herself in the bottom three for the first time all year, and the one-time favorite is at a crossroads. She seems unable to pick songs that both show off her voice and please the judges, and for three weeks in a row, has disappointed. She may be running out of chances to turn things around.
What’s my age again?: The week’s theme of songs from the year of the contestants’ birth brought out the predictable jokes about Simon turning 50 this year. Ryan showed a clip of a song that went No. 1 in 1959, Frankie Avalon’s “Venus.” Then the video screen went up and Avalon came out to sing it himself. If he were eligible to be a contestant, he’d at least be a lock to go on the summer tour.
Timing is everything: Tuesday’s night show infuriated fans by running eight minutes long and preventing those with DVRs from catching Adam Lambert’s show-stopping performance at the end of the hour. Wednesday had the opposite problem, with Ryan, Scott and the judges having to kill several minutes at the end of the show with will-he-be-saved-or-not blather. Is it too much to ask for the people in charge of pacing the show to figure out how long an hour is?
Idol fans mean big business: Flo Rida appeared onstage Wednesday, singing his No. 1 song “Right Round” and hyping both the single and his upcoming world tour. This comes a week after Lady Gaga appeared to plug her hit “Poker Face.” Critics have plenty to say about where this season of “Idol” stands in relation to those that have come before, but it’s clearly done better this year at booking current acts to show up to play the results show.
Regis and Kellie?: One-time "Idol" contestant Kellie Pickler was back to her minx-like ways, flirting with Simon and Randy as she sang her new single “Best Days of Your Life.” It was more like Kathie Lee Gifford than country star, all shouting and personality, light on the impressive vocals. But just for old-time’s sake, she lingered too long on stage and had to be reminded where to exit.
I’d like to thank the little people: Adam Lambert is Mr. Smooth in his relations with the rest of the show. A couple of weeks ago, he gave props to the band and the arrangers for helping him look good. This week, he was asked how he felt to earn a standing ovation from Simon, and was appropriately grateful and humble in describing how much it meant to him. He’s doing a nice job of covering all of his bases. And singing well each week helps the cause as well.
Craig Berman is a writer in Washington, D.C.