Thursday, May 11, 2006

the morning after...

Is it safe to come out now? Has the dust settled?

No, of course the dust hasn't settled. The Chris fans are mad. And they have a right to be, just as the Taylor fans would and the Kat fans would. [The Elliott fans are so used to biting their nails on Wednesdays that we have no nails left...] By this time of the season the final four kids have built up considerable followings, and the fans have invested so much time and so many emotions in them, that the ousting of their favorite is bound to bring out a flood of reactions from sadness to anger.

This is nothing new. Tamyra fans, LaToya fans and Constantine fans empathize.

But with four good kids putting on a helluva good show, we knew that somebody was gonna be crying foul the next night. It's the rules of the game. Yeah, I know. Rules suck sometimes.

So it's time to pick apart what happened.

I know everyone's using the term shocker to describe Chris' ouster last night, because he was "one of the favorites." But I think that some people are forgetting the rules of this game.

Dave has pointed out (and he was one of the very few bloggers, by the way, to accurately predict Chris' elimination, so I bow to him for being ballsy! ) that one of Chris' problems was his refusal to play the game, much like Nadia Turner refused to do last season. To be successful, these kids must show their versatility; that's the whole reason for theme nights, to kick them out of their genre boxes. Simon called him out on this earlier in the competition, and he did find his way to the bottom two before launching a comeback of sorts that landed him in the top two (with Kat, if you'll recall) at the final six level.

I think this was part of his problem, because he did begin to show the softer side of Chris after Simon's admonition, but it certainly was not the only disadvantage Chris had, most of which was totally out of his control.

By the time we're at six, fan blocs are established. It's rare to find a fan of one suddenly switch to another, even though many people have two faves and split their votes accordingly. I cannot count the number of times throughout the season I've heard or read someone say "I like Bucky, but I also like Elliott," or "I love Ace, but I also like Elliott," or "I like both Paris and Elliott." So, as these kids leave, the decision for whom to vote is easy. And that's been a boon for Elliott, who's now in the final three.

Chris was the only rocker in this field of pop wannabes (Ace, Lisa), R&B singers (Mandisa, Paris) and country kids (Bucky, Pickler). Last year, after Constantine's sixth-place "shocker," many people gravitated towards Bo and threw him their votes. Those votes did not go to Carrie or to Anthony, but to the other rocker dude.

Chris didn't have any rocker dude, so as displaced fans started to merge with surviving blocs, most gravitated toward kids with similar styles or kids they just liked. I would suspect (and no, I haven't done any scientific sampling - I'm just conjecturing from reading blog comments and message boards) that a large percentage of Pickler voters threw their support to Katharine. Likewise, I suspect that a significant percentage of Ace and Paris supporters went to Elliott, with a little bit of Taylor sprinkled in for flavor.

Chris just came in on the short end of that stick. Now couple that with a large and fervent fan base rallying to support their girl after getting two nasty judges reviews, and it's a recipe for a classic LaToya.

And Simon going around invoking his name as one of the final two certainly didn't help matters any, because many people, like me, are sick to death of producers and judges blatantly attempting to manipulate the vote by telling us who's going to win. Simon told Melissa McGhee to pack her bags and people phoned in votes like mad, not so much in support of Melissa but to spite Simon. Never ever discount the motivation of the anti-Simon effort.

But the fallout is pretty much the same, regardless of the rationale. Teeth will be gnashed. Anger will manifest itself in blame for the remaining contestants. There will be cries of rigging and petitions will be created. Some will boycott the show. Others will decide to back their second favorite or to back the one who stands the best chance of ousting the one they like least.

Just like always.

Because THIS is American Idol.

17 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

First off, Chris showed versatility...doesn't anyone remember his show-stopping Bryan Adams performance? Best performance of the whole dang season.

Explain to me how Taylor is versatile? And did he ever step out of his saftey zone? NEVER. He either sings some disco dance tune, or some sappy song that you heard about 30 years ago.

11:45 AM, May 11, 2006  
Blogger Sunny said...

Jennifer-
I couldn't have said what you just did any better! Keep up the great work!!

11:50 AM, May 11, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've labeled all the ousted kids, 'pop star' 'r&b' and 'rocker' but how do you label Elliott? That's my problem with him...I just don't get where he fits into the music world which I think is why we see very little of Ruben, frankly. After anger, a good nights sleep and a morning to think I will through my support to the Soul Patrol and I'll keep watching. -Jenna

12:15 PM, May 11, 2006  
Anonymous Getting Curious said...

Ah, they're all versatile in their own ways... People just like to hate the people who aren't their favorites.

I mean, I think that Pickler was totally static - she never moved from country and her "Bohemian Rhapsody" was a complete disaster. But after she did that performance I came onto this website and there were plenty of people that thought she finally stepped out of her comfort zone and did a great job.

It all comes down to who you love.

And I LOVE Elliot and Taylor!!! And no, I don't love them because they are "ugly" like some people might say, I love them cos they can SANG!!!!!!

12:16 PM, May 11, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh throw...not through! ;)
-Jenna

12:16 PM, May 11, 2006  
Anonymous Bonnie said...

I've said since Day 1 that the day Chris got voted off would be the day I stop watching!

But how can I stop now after not missing it all season?? haha.

The only person I would like to see now is Elliot, just because we've seen him grow so much.

I could care less about the other two. I liked Kat at first, now I just think she seems too cocky. "McFans". Gah.

Anyways, I'll be watching just to see the outcome, not to be cheering anyone on. I'm still bitter.

12:28 PM, May 11, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

Oh, I would put Elliott in the R&B group. That's what he seems to favor anyway. Taylor's the most versatile of the three, I think. I disagree with those who think Taylor's a stage performer and not a recording artist. I've heard his recordings. I could see Kat going Blues or Pop, but I think she'd be more successful staying out of the pop arena. She isn't a Kelly Clarkson.

And Curious, I think you're exactly right, especially at this stage. That's why when I choose who I think is going to win, it's never based on talent, because talent is too subjective. I've been reading all day. "I don't care who wins as long as it's not Elliott/Taylor/Kat." Take your pick. So obviously there's no agreement on that. I prefer predicting based on voter behavior or how I think people might behave, motivated primarily on negative, rather than positive, motivation usually. And unfortunately.

This one's gonna be a doozy!!

12:33 PM, May 11, 2006  
Blogger tracyintpa said...

Every one of those final four "kids" were talented in their own right and their own way. What a treat that we had 4 "idols" with distinct and different styles. Something for everybody if you will. I agree with Jennifer's assesment of the demise of Chris. I hate that he is gone, I believe Katharine was the least consistent of the 4 and should be on her way home, but you can't argue fan support. It is what it is. I just hope Katharine doesn't "split the vote" as Ryan alluded to last night and end up taking the whole thing. To me, Taylor and Elliott are just more interesting and more consistently good. I still say, Chris should have sung Love Me Tender Tuesday night, and we'd be shocker-less today. Bummer.

12:34 PM, May 11, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THERE IS NO EXPLANTION FOR CHRIS GOING HOME! HE WAS BY FAR THE BEST AND WILL PROBABLY BE MORE FAMOUS THAN WHO WINS! THIS ONE IS A LITTLE SHADY! CHRIS HAS BEEN THE MOST POPULAR ALL ALONG. ROCK ON CHRIS! YOU WILL BE FAMOUS AND I WILL BE THE FIRST ONE IN LINE TO BUY YOUR CD. I'M DONE WITH AMERICAN IDOL!

12:42 PM, May 11, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CHRIS FANS: GET OVER IT

12:46 PM, May 11, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

This is my blog. That means I make the rules.

They'll get over it when they're good and ready, but when they're here they can SCREAM IN ALL CAPS, IF THEY WANT, EVEN IF IF DOESN'T MAKE A LICK OF SENSE and even though it is not polite, unless they're rude to other fans. Then their comments will get tossed.

Signed,
The Boss

1:01 PM, May 11, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

re: posts in all caps - but we don't have to read them! I always ignore them...

-L

1:15 PM, May 11, 2006  
Anonymous gavintiegirl said...

Chris is fantastic and I had him pegged for final 3, but something went wrong. I guess America wants to see Katharine ruin a few more songs next week. I understand your pain. I think America got it wrong too!

However, You said: Anonymous said... "CHRIS HAS BEEN THE MOST POPULAR ALL ALONG."

This is just not true. Don't you remember that Chris was in the bottom 3 a few weeks back. That would remove him from being "THE MOST POPULAR ALL ALONG" category.

Technically, Taylor has been ""THE MOST POPULAR ALL ALONG" because Taylor has NEVER been in the bottom 3 or bottom 2.

If we are going to make statements, please make sure they are accurate.

1:15 PM, May 11, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

Well, you know, some people just want to scream things that make no sense just to scream something. Maturity is definitely underrated.

And I ignore all-cap comments too in other blogs. They hurt my ears.

:D

1:19 PM, May 11, 2006  
Blogger laura said...

Not only was your post well written and thought out, but you're left to regulating the comments from capslockers...geez. You're earning your money today (hahaha)

1:29 PM, May 11, 2006  
Blogger Dave said...

Thanks for the shout-out, Jennifer, but I do have one question:

What's a ballsy?

9:16 PM, May 11, 2006  
Blogger Nelle said...

I damn near cried when I saw the look on Chris' face. He was my #1 pick but I was afraid he was too much the rocker like Bo was last year. I find Taylor's performances very much alike but entertaining. This show is very stressful at times. Pass the liquor.

9:16 PM, May 11, 2006  

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