There’s an American Idol Top 24 controversy and it really shouldn’t be much of a surprise

I feel the same way about the Top 24 setup, J-Lo. I really do.

I feel the same way about the Top 24 setup, J-Lo. I really do.

American Idol is pulling some shady shit right now. It’s clear everyone involved in the show thinks we’re stupid because what we’re about to witness makes less sense than the flat-world theory.

There is no rhyme or reason to the pairings in the semifinal. It’s a complete clusterf*ck. Tonight 12 contestants sing and tomorrow, seven will be announced as safe. Next Wednesday, the remaining 12 will sing with seven being announced safe the following night. The next week, we’ll find out which eight the judges/producers pick for the Top 10 and the remaining six will sing with fans voting to see who takes the final two spots in the Top 10.

It sounds like a good plan – until you look at the pairings and realize Idol is up to something and when the producers decide to screw around with the show, it never goes well.

This wouldn’t be a problem if Idol would be a little more transparent with everything they do. Allegedly Idol is a show about competition, but this competition is as rigged as the WWE.

Idol’s trying to advance as many girls as possible and treat the WGWGs like they did Dunkleman. There’s no other explanation for having four guys – only two who should be considered Top 10 – performing tonight with seven going next week. Anyone who passed first grade math can tell you there won’t be an even amount of male and female competitors, but a 4-7 ratio on the first night and 7-6 with a loaded girls side isn’t playing fair.

Tonight we’re going to see Mackenzie Bourg, James XIII, Thomas Stringfellow, Jordan Sasser, Stephany Negrete, Jenna Renae, Jeneve Mitchell, Avalon Young, Gianna Isabella and La’Porsha Renae and if three guys come out of that, it only means one very good guy is going home next week.

Of next week’s seven guys – Trent Harmon, Adam Lasher, Kory Wheeler, CJ Johnson, Lee Jean, Dalton Rapattoni, Manny Torres – you can make a case that five and maybe six should be put through, which is all well and good until you see the girls list. Performing next week is Shelbie Z, Amelia Eisenhauer, Sonika Vaid, Olivia Rox, Jenn Blosil and Tristan McIntosh and if you don’t think four of those girls deserve to get through what the hell have you been watching?

There’s going to be surprises because what would Idol be without the annual screw job. It the past, it wouldn’t weaken the field that bad because the talent really doesn’t take off until the Top 10 anyway, but without those two weeks watering down a pretty loaded field would be a disaster. People are gonna turn on them like the Twitter PC Police when Trump spouts off about something. There’s no room for error this year because the goal should be to put out a memorable season, not one smothered in controversy.

Looking at the groups, Idol clearly has contestants ranked and they either based those ranks on marketability alone or are truly terrible at figuring out who will do well, something that’s a proven fact – Jax was probably the first contestant since Archuleta that Idol pushed down America’s throats that actually did well.

Breaking this week down, Mackenzie and Thomas should be no-brainers. Emily Brooke and Jenna Renae look good on the girls side but after that? Good luck trying to figure things out. With who they have paired off, Stephany Negrete and La’Porsha are going one-on-one for a spot with Jeneve, Avalon and Gianna likely taking the final two. I’d love to include Jordan and James in this discussion, but James is the fourth WGWG on the list and Jordan hasn’t give us that WOW moment where he looks like a Top 12 lock.

Next week, well, someone’s taking an ugly L. The easy seven should be Shelbie, Amelia, Jenn, Adam, CJ, Dalton, but there’s no reason why Kory or Sonika couldn’t perform their way in there and it really looks like Lee Jean is getting the Sam Woolf Memorial “Teen who probably shouldn’t be there but we’re going to pretend there’s still a teen viewership that drives our ratings” spot.

That’s why the pairings matter. That’s why the transparency of how the pairings were made matter. Idol doesn’t care about the integrity of the competition. The show has proved it in the past, making up rules on the fly and openly pushing for one contestant over the next or using a “save” on a contestant that clearly doesn’t deserve it.

What Idol cares about is ratings and with the sing-off, it gives them a chance to figure out who’s going to be able to get votes and drive the show. There’s a real good chance the Sing-Off Six end up more talented than the Alive Eight (just making up nicknames as I go here people) and Idol pushes through the eight that are marketable or more likely to get the demo of viewers they so desire, even if that demo left ages ago and isn’t coming back unless One Direction comes back for a shirtless reunion with the cast of whatever BS dystopian movie teens watch now watering them down with Mountain Dew and Red Bull.

For the final season, it’d be nice if they decided to make it about competition. That’s what the core audience cares about. The better the performers, the better the shows. The better the shows, the better the word of mouth. The better the word of mouth, the better the audience.

Don’t think it’ll work? Ask The Voice how that’s going. A talent-first talent show beating the brains out of the legend who grew so concerned about similar talent winning it changed the show and, in turn, ruined the brand.

One chance to get it back now Idol.

Don’t fuck it up.