DurbWatch (Friday, April 8)

james-durbin_freakNO ONE IS SAFE
The good news is, James Durbin survived another elimination round Thursday night. he’ll be back on American Idol next week, singing up a storm.
The weird news is the one who won’t: Pia. Yes, incredibly, Pia Toscano, the gorgeous diva with the huge voice, that most consistent competitor, the one contestant out of all of them who I’d have thought mainstream America (ie: the voting public) totally gets, Pia didn’t make the cut. Nobody could believe it. The studio audience booed strenuously. The judges were ready to mutiny. How could this happen?


Is the entire voting demographic made up of envious teenage girls who don’t like any other females to get too close to the male Idol contestants? (Hmmm, this could explain why all five—count ’em, FIVE—of those eliminated since the Final 13 have been women. What’s up with that?) Did partisans of other contestants band together to eliminate their most formidable opponent? Personally, I think everybody just assumed Pia was safe and used up their votes on other performers they might have thought needed more help.

Whatever the reason, both Stefano Langone and Jacob Lusk were segregated with Pia in the shark tank (ie: the bottom three vote-getters), but only Pia is going home. The judges used up their one free pass of the season saving Casey Abrams from a similar oblivion  a few weeks ago, so there was nothing they could do but say sayonara.

Otherwise, it was a pretty typical Thursday night Idol show— five minutes of actual content (revealing who was going  home) vs. 55 minutes of filler, fluff, and guest performers like Iggy Pop still shirtless at 64, and still singing “Wild Child,” which was ironic at best, if not outright surreal. But there was one entertaining interlude when comedian Russell Brand popped in to give the contestants tips on performing. Cut to James, mic in hand, demonstrating one of his stratospheric high notes. Brand’s response? “Bloody ‘ell!”

The opening production number, which had the women (all three of them) singing Joan Jett’s  “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” in  counterpoint to the guys thundering through “Sweet Home Alabama,” didn’t really show anybody off to advantage. The women sounded especially lightweight, and it will only get worse for them, now that Pia is gone.

In fact, Pia’s exit changes everything. She was a front-runner; most of us dared to anticipate that she and James might duke it out right up to the end, that the Final 3 would be Pia, James, and a player to be named later. Now, well, who knows what to think? “No one is safe,” says Ryan Seacrest ominously. The next competition round will be next Wednesday, 8 p.m., on Fox. Stay tuned…

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