American Idol Top 8, Part II: Breaking Down the bottom 3, again

So who belongs in the middle?

So who belongs in the middle?

It’s over. Take a breath. Relax.

Things will be OK.

It’s the day after and if you’re a normal human being and not related or friends of her, you should be over the surprise (to the untrained eye) eviction of Malaya Watson from last night’s American Idol Top 8.

She should have been saved. We get that. The judges screwed up and took that option off the table when they pulled the trigger on Sam Woolf the week before. But people are reacting like this travesty is up there with Chris Daughtry.

It’s not.

And it’s not close.


First off, Daughtry was in the Top 4 when fans decided they didn’t need to spend too much time voting him to the Top 3 because he was a lock. When that result happened, that was a shock. He had a chance to beat The Underwood.

Now I loved Malaya as a performer. She had soul and spunk and there were weeks where I definitely thought she had a chance to be a finalist (a small one). There were also a few weeks I was wondering why she was Top 13 (I’m still mad about Kenzie Hall). But let’s be real – if you’re getting evicted in the Top 8, you’re not winning Idol. She had a bad week and it cost her, but it really didn’t cost her a shot at the crown; it just cost us a shot at being entertained another week or so.

The one debate I found interesting on should she have gone home was based on her body of work. This season votes have clearly gone against whoever has the worst week and that means there’s the potential – very small, but it’s there – that Alex Preston, Caleb Johnson or Geena Gina Jena Irene could go home before they claim their Top 3 spot.

If you rank this week’s performances, Malaya was the worst. She picked a bad song, it wasn’t entertaining and that’s what happens when those two things get together. But body of work?

To this point, Alex, Caleb, Jena and Jessica Meuse have a superior body of work; I’d give Dexter Roberts a nod as well because he really hasn’t been terrible, he’s just doing country karaoke and he’s kinda kicking ass at it. That leaves CJ Harris, Sam and Malaya and if you’re asking me who’s been better this season, the answer isn’t Sam and it’s a coin toss between CJ and Malaya.

So which would you rather have? People voted on body of work or week to week? Fresh off the NCAA Tournament, I’m all in on one week is all that counts. If somebody really good gets booted, I’ll probably complain about it.

Either way, Malaya really didn’t get screwed; her fans are disappointed because the save should have been used on her and it wasn’t, but everyone will get their revenge when Sam is voted out next week.
Time to review how we got here”


1) ??????????
WHAT THEY DID: Um, why wasn’t there a bottom 3? Can’t be because of time because we had a Bottom 3 in last week’s 30-minute results show. As Yahoo’s Lyndsey Parker said, was it because Sam was in the bottom 3 and producers didn’t want him to be there again (would have been No. 4 for Sam)? There is a possibility he got a bump in votes from fans wanting to keep him, but those votes weren’t coming from the contestants that also had a shot to be there (Dexter and Jessica).
WHY THEY DESERVED BOTTOM 3: Because they sucked.
WHY THEY DIDN’T: Because they didn’t suck.
WHY THEY SURVIVED: Because the producers are up to their usual tricks. They don’t understand that if they want this show to survive, they need to be more open. It’s a competition. People love competition. Tell us everything. Show us the voting numbers. Give us the list of songs contestants have to choose from. All of these things make the show more interactive for fans and will bring more eyes to TV.

Or, you know, just let your ratings continue to slide in the crapper.

2) CJ Harris
WHAT HE DID: CJ pulled out a John Mayer-esque performance of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” (Note: sometimes the best way to do a cover is take a cover of a song and make that version your own, a la Chris Daughtry, David Cook, Adam Lambert) and did it in typical CJ fashion – a face with cheeks you want to pinch and emotion dripping all over the stage.
WHY HE DESERVED BOTTOM 3: It wasn’t a mesmerizing performance, which is what he needed. It was just good. When you’re dancing at the bottom as long as CJ has, you need mesmerizing and he didn’t get it.
WHY HE DIDN’T: It was the third- or fourth-best performance of the night and based on how America has voted, that’s enough to get through.
WHY HE SURVIVED: CJ was saved because Malaya couldn’t have picked a worse song to sing heading into a week where it was clear she was going to be Bottom 3 regardless of what she did. CJ is headed there next week unless he comes up with something crazy, so he’d better learn his lesson from all of this.

3) Malaya Watson
WHAT SHE DID: On paper, it was brilliant. Take a song with a hook that everyone knows thanks to Kanye West and see if it resonates with the crowd. It was such a good idea that I nearly said she should have sung it in my prediction piece. And then I listened to the song. And if you’ve ever listened to Chaka Khan’s “Through the Fire” you know exactly what I’m talking about.
WHY SHE DESERVED BOTTOM 3: “Through the Fire” isn’t an upbeat 80s song and it’s not a rousing ballad either. It’s got a very weird vibe and the only reason it sounded great on Kanye’s track because he sped the song up a million RPMs and made it sound not dreary. Malaya did not do that.
WHY SHE DIDN’T: Based on the week, she was the worst and that’s how America had voted until last week when Sam Woolf was voted out and saved instead of Dexter. Based on body of work, Malaya should have been safe against Sam and maybe even against CJ.
WHY SHE WENT HOME: Song selection, song selection, song selection. Oh, and because the judges misused the save the week before.

So what’s the Top 7 going to bring? Only one of the best themes ever. Contestants pick songs for one another. This means Alex will get a list of six songs from his fellow competitors and pick one. I’ll tell you what – American Idol better release the full song lists so we can play “Which Idol is being a total dick” and “Which Idol is being way to nice.” My guess? Jess Meuse just picks horrible songs for her competitors while CJ basically goes to them, asks what they want to play and chooses those ones. If his choices aren’t 5 of the selections, it will be by accident.