Don’t ‘duet’ again American Idol; seven get through, but Idol’s agenda made an appearance that wasn’t as surprising as Farrah Abraham’s

It certainly was Thirsty Thursday when MacKenzie Bourg and Lauren Alaina got together to duet.

It certainly was Thirsty Thursday when MacKenzie Bourg and Lauren Alaina got together to duet.


Was anyone actually surprised by Thursday’s results show?

It’s not just the semi-shocking results. It was the kind of night of TV where a less inspired blogger would have continued watching The West Wing on Netflix instead of the snoozefest that was Thursday night.

Duets have never been a great part of the American Idol folklore and Thursday’s performances did nothing to change that. Yeah, we were told the performances mattered in decided who was moving on but they weren’t. The duets weren’t about the Season 15 contestants; it was about Idol as a brand and bringing out some of the past people who’s careers were made because of the show. That’s why those duets were ex-Idols taking the lead and the new cast singing harmonies.

That’s not to say they were bad. There’s just not a lot of people out their craving them so to have them makes little to no sense. The only people who really won from them were the former Idols – Ruben Studdard, Scott McCreery, Nick Fradiani, Lauren Alaina, Fantasia and Caleb Johnson – who showed why they did so well on the show. Their performances were so polished, so professional; it’s amazing people doubt their abilities.

But they weren’t the story of the night.

For a relatively harmless hour and 50 minutes – where the biggest drama was whether or not that actually was Teen Mom Farrah Abraham in the blue tank top making eyes at Nick Fradiani and Scotty McCreery – the last 10 was what really mattered and, once again, Idol proved incapable of providing anything resembling integrity in this competition.

There’s not a lot of beef with the seven who got through and if you look at the names, it gives you a real good idea of who’s making the cut next week.

The biggest omission should have been Emily Brooke, Idol’s own version of Taylor Swift, who was simply terrific in auditions and seemed like an easy pick to make the live shows until Wednesday’s live performance happened. That performance put the judges in a tough position – how much do you put into past performances and how much did Wednesday really count? Emily was left standing with no one calling her name, but it’s probably better for her future; the possibility of SCOTT BORCHETTA singing her to Big Machine and grooming her to be the next T-Swift is a lot easier to do without the “American Idol” stigma hanging over her head.

If anyone was screwed over performances, it was poor Jenna Renae. She should have seen the exit coming after she was done Wednesday. With positive comments from Keith and J-Lo, Harry came out firing, saying “there is a fine line between singing as enthusiastically as you can and shouting. I felt like it was a little bit shouted and I think your pitch was sacrificed as a result of that.” Dissenting opinions aren’t uncommon, but when their shrouded in technicalities it usually means someone behind the scenes wants the judges to say something so it doesn’t seem like a screw job when that person gets railroaded. I tweeted as much after it happened:

Then a funny thing happened – Jenna Renae liked the tweet. It’s not out of the ordinary for contestants to like tweets they’re tagged in, but a tweet like that? It seemed a little strange, which led to this.

Whoops, nailed it.

Now I was pro-Jenna after her performance and thought she deserved a spot, but there’s a damn good chance she wasn’t high on the producers’ list and they were saved when Jeneve Mitchell delivered the best performance of the night. There were plenty of people in the Twitterverse furious over the backwood girl’s inclusion, but you can’t say she didn’t deserve it. She seems like the perfect sing-off candidate because she’ll have to earn that Top 10 spot and by doing so proves she can bring eyes to TVs.

Thomas Stringfellow – who performed with Nick Fradiani Thursday as they both developed strange British accents during their duet – deserved his spot. Gianna Isabella forced her way into the Top 7 with a great performance Wednesday. La’Porsha Renae was a no-brainer and seems to be a fan favorite. Avalon Young might end up being the surprise of the show. Sonika Vaid (time to dump the last name; Sonika screams strong. It’d be such a power move if she went by Sonika the rest of the way) was what she was, but my track record of judging soloists is notoriously poor so her inclusion didn’t offend me as much as it made me fearful for whose spot she was taking.

So that leaves MacKenzie Bourg. I think the dude can win the show but I was not a big fan of his Wednesday performance. It sounded fine but it was horribly cliched; it wasn’t what I want to see from someone who I thought could win. When Thomas went later in the night part of me thought Idol wanted them to have a sing-off before the sing-off and Thomas ended MacKenzie’s run.

It wasn’t the case.

My problem with MacKenzie over Jenna is Jenna was better Wednesday. If you’re taking MacKenzie as an overall package, I can see why you’d take him over Jenna. But if you’re taking MacKenzie as an overall package, why not Emily? She’d have a better chance of winning than any of the girls who got through Thursday because she’s the perfect Idol contestant. But they left her at home.

What Idol needs to do is explain how they arrived at all these decisions because there’s zero consistency. If it’s so easy that a hack can make cold reads from his couch as to which contestants the producers want in, maybe it’s time to end the practice and let things play out.

That won’t happen. Idol wants to do things their way and they did it again tonight. Fine.

It’s been 15 seasons and things aren’t going to start getting better now, so we move on. Outrage won’t be too high for the results because they could have been a lot worse.

The fact that they weren’t might have been the biggest surprise.

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