Monday, May 01, 2006

it's all in the placement...

There's been a lot of speculation this year, as in all seasons, about performance order. Lineups do seem to be crucial during the early stages of the competition, when there are 24 then 12 contestants, and we're still trying to get to know them, remember their names and figuring out which ones we like, which ones we don't and which ones make us go "huh?"

But after time, and the field is reduced to a handful of wannabes, the order of performance really becomes only important in terms of knowing which last two numbers to dial. The pimp spot - the last performer on a given night - is the only spot that carries with it a history of success. In four and a half seasons, only two Idols have been eliminated on the night following a pimp spot performance, Anthony Fedorov last season, who finished fourth and Clay Aiken, who ended season two with Bridge over Troubled Water but was beaten out by a hair in the finale by Ruben Studdard.

However, there is some interesting history to final five night, so it might be interesting to watch who the "lucky" kid is that gets put in the second slot on Tuesday.

In every season, the Idol who sings second on final five night has ended his or her run on the show as the fifth-place finisher.

In season one, the lineup was: Kelly Clarkson, RJ Helton, Tamyra Gray, Justin Guarini with Nikki McKibbin in the anchor position. (And it was Burt Bacharach night, if you're interested.) RJ, of course, was the one booted.

Season two's F5 order was: Ruben Studdard, Trenyce, Josh Gracin, Kimberley Locke and Clay Aiken. The next night was the big "shocker" of Ruben in the bottom two with Trenyce while a shocked Josh, who had imploded the night before, looking on amazed. And we waved bye-bye to Trenyce. (The theme? Neil Sedaka/60s night.)

The final five on season three lined up like this: Diana DeGarmo, George Huff, LaToya London, Jasmine Trias and Fantasia Barrino, each singing two Big Band songs, back to back with a bit of banter between numbers. And, of course, I shed many tears as my George bit the dust.

And last season Anthony Fedorov was the first of the five, followed by the doomed Scott Savol, Vonzell Solomon, Bo Bice and Carrie Underwood. Cheers were heard all over the land the next night as Savol met his [some thought] overdue elimination.

Now, of course, this could be completely coincidental, but since coincidental occurrences are no fun to speculate about, I'll just leave that at that. But there could be something to it.

Of course the fan bases know who their kid is, and it won't matter if that kid sings first, third or last, but by the time we reach F5 status, we've dropped singers with significant voting blocs, and those voters need somewhere to go. Often those voters, like the abandoned Kellie Pickers, have a second fave. I would expect, for instance, that many of the Pickler People will shift to Katharine, considering the two were roomies and BFF. Others might shift to Elliott, because he showed such emotion at Pickler's demise last week. The others may just be waiting to see (hear?) who deserves it most.

Then there are the new fans. It's difficult for us hardcore addicts to understand, but there are some Idol viewers out there who don't tune in until the field has been reduced by half or more. Some of them aren't up for the grind that this five-month show tends to be. Others don't want to have to endure the screeching of the early, lesser contestants, and some are just trying to figure out what the fuss is all about.

So there's a whole new crop of dialers out there. At this point, leading off might be a good thing, as it's a first impression and with two songs this time, that first impression can lead to a second one that delivers some votes. Same holds true, as it does from the beginning of the game, with the last spot. But it is conceivable that the second slotted kid gets glossed over, in the shadow of that first impression.

Or, it could be a fluke. Whichever.

So what will the lineup look like tomorrow? I expect to see Chris leading off, since he was in the pimp spot last week and they've been pretty much doing it that way all season, followed by [sorry, sweetie] Paris, who also performed in the final three. I think we'll see Taylor in the pimp spot, since of the five, he's the only one who hasn't been the final performer at all during the finals, even though Chris has had it twice. I would expect Kat to be fourth, since she was first last time, which leaves Elliott in the middle.

No additional spoilers to report, just rumors floating out there, some of which sound credible. And, by the way, the Bon Jovi selection has been confirmed, so someone will be singing Bon Jovi, presumably the song by whom I shared in an earlier entry.

Is it Tuesday yet?


Blogger Dave said...

And I thought I had too much free time.

I'm guessing that week is Paris's turn to get whacked and if she is the the two-hole, that will cement it.

I just don't see her having the same kind of following that Taylor, Chris and Katharine have.

Of course, I could be wrong.

10:25 AM, May 01, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

What can I say, Dave. It rained all weekend. :o)

10:35 AM, May 01, 2006  
Anonymous Tami said...

My first post...but, I’ve read every comment and followed every link of your blog since Day One and I've tivo'd every episode. So let's just say I'm an AI fan.

Down to business. Elliot is my idol. Best scenario, he wins. Or at least in the finals—and I’d be happy. Now how to get him into the top three….we must form a strategy. As much as I hate to say this, Paris must stay another week…and someone else must be sacrificed.

Now just listen…If Paris goes out as number five, that leaves us with a strong top four with equally strong followings.

BUT if Kat or Chris or Taylor leaves Wednesday---it will give Elliot an almost automatic bid into the finals.

Think about it…last four standing are Elliot, Paris and _____ and _____ . Who will leave in the fourth position, Paris, or course! Elliot is in the top three, and I’m happy.

So now, who’s the sacrificial lamb this week?

12:02 PM, May 01, 2006  
Anonymous Bonnie said...

Looks like Paris is going second!

That was really interesting Jennifer, thanks!

Btw, all morning long I've been bombarded by Pickler interviews on morning talk shows. Gah. Her Ellen performance was great though because they cut her off, and the song played immediately after was 'Bad Day'. Ha.

12:03 PM, May 01, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

LOL I actually enjoyed Pickler on Ellen today. I thought she was fun, but I was so high on the puppers that I don't think it mattered. ;o)

And Tami, thanks for the comment! I LOVE to play the scenerio game. Actually I still really expect a shocker fourth, regardless of Paris staying or going, because we seem to have a shocker fourth every other year and it's due. So even if Paris leaves, and I think she will, I might expect one of the big three to leave the following week.

But if Paris were to stick around at the expense of any non-Elliott person, I would say the most likely one would be Katharine. It just seems like this really is the year of the men. And, as I've said before, I would do cartwheels nekkid down my street if we got an all-male final three. That would be my fantasy come true. (Not saying anything about the women; I really do like all of them. And this is the first season I've said that and actually meant it.)

12:26 PM, May 01, 2006  
Blogger laura said...

i LOVE the idol stats. The second spot in the top 5 thing is very interesting, and I never noticed that! Coincidences and comparisons are on this show are sometimes scary, so i wouldn't be surprised if the two-spot is out this week.

1:54 PM, May 01, 2006  
Anonymous friedrice said...

All I can say is Elliot better not be in the #2 spot!

5:38 PM, May 01, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bon Jovi? Did you mention Bon Jovi? Ummm, what else did you talk about in this entry? Sorry, once you mention Bon Jovi everything else just sort of goes blank. LOL! Taylor singing Bon Jovi huh? Hmmmm, I love Taylor as you know, but Bon Jovi doesn't fit his voice, it's more of a Chris thing. But, it will be interesting either way. I am actually looking forward to tonight without the Pickler there!!

8:16 AM, May 02, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" I would do cartwheels nekkid down my street if we got an all-male final three."

I'd PAY to see that! LOL!
Lisa who is booking her plane ticket as I type this ;)

8:17 AM, May 02, 2006  

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