It’s a device American Idol has used often at final 7. They take the Idols and separate them in two groups of three, and take the seventh person and tell them they’re safe and to pick a side. The smart Idols don’t choose a side. No one wants to hurt their friends by saying I think you’re in the bottom three. You suck. And when this device works the best is on a night like tonight when the group you think is definitely safe is the bottom three.
That gave us a bottom three of Elise Testone, Joshua Ledet, and Jessica Sanchez. Skylar joined the three safe Idols – Hollie Cavanagh, Phillip Phillips, and Colton Dixon. Jimmy Iovine remarked that he was wondering if his flat-screen TV was broken, as that wasn’t how he saw it last night watching the show at all. Randy Jackson couldn’t remember this ever happening in eleven seasons. But let’s be real. It has.
That’s why they have the save, for moments like this. Steven Tyler said they’d be using the save before he even conferred with Randy and Jennifer Lopez. Yet, I wondered if they would have used it on Elise if she was potentially being voted out. Don’t get me wrong; she’s one of my favorites. But, she’s been in the bottom three often, meaning she’s just gong to end up there again if you save her, as much as it would seem like the right thing to do.
Jaws dropped all over when Jessica was named the person with the lowest amount of votes. No one was shocked by what came next. There was no way in hell those three judges were going to let that young girl with oodles of talent walk out the door tonight. The judges actually stormed the stage and told her to stop singing to save herself. She wasn’t going anywhere.
But here’s the facts of the chances behind the people saved by the judges. None of the Idols who been saved have gone on to make it to the finale, let alone win the show. They usually only make it a few more weeks. And of those who appear in bottom three, only three have gone on to win the show – Ruben Studdard, Fantasia, and Kris Allen. Fantasia is the only one to appear in the bottom three multiple times and still win.
The question I’m left with is how many people will be voted out next week. Normally, a save means two people will leave the next week, but we’re already a week ahead with this anyway, since Jermaine Jones was removed from the competition. I am assuming it means only one person will go home next week, but I’m not altogether positive.
Here’s a look at what Jessica and the rest of the top 7 have to do to stay out of the bottom three next week, as there are no more saves left.
Hollie Cavanagh – Hollie has taken Heejun Han’s place as that person who everyone thinks will be leaving that week, but who keeps sticking around. At one point the judges were talking her up each week, but they’re not even doing that anymore. These Idols never last until final two, and it makes it just a matter of time until they are voted out. The week after a surprising vote, the vote usually seems to right itself, so I expect her to be in the bottom three next week, and will quite possibly going home. There isn’t anything she can do to change that at this point.
Colton Dixon – Jimmy Iovine is pitting Colton and Phillip Phillips against each other. He seemed to be forcing people to choose one or the other as he discussed both their talent and their looks. Both ended up safe, meaning voters aren’t interested in choosing one or the other. They like both. Colton can rock it out, but can also pull off very tender performances where it’s almost like you can see inside his heart. It’s those that are keeping him this side of safe. As long as he keeps showing so many facets to himself, he’ll stay safe.
Skylar Laine – She didn’t choose light and fun country this week. Well, she did somewhat; she chose Kellie Pickler. But Kellie’s songs can have a lot of emotion in them, and Skylar decided to belt it out and squeeze every single ounce of emotion out of it. Some want to say the country fanbase is keeping her safe, but what I think keeps her safe is that she does country very well. Country songs are wrought with feelings, and she finds a way to pick up on that every time, and has that hidden stellar voice to boot. That’s what makes her a dark horse.
Joshua Ledet – It was completely shocking to see him in the bottom three this week. He was amazing, just like he always is. But that’s what makes him vulnerable in the vote. He’s always great. Sometimes the ones who are always consistent appear in the bottom three, as it almost seems the voters get bored with their excellence. His best bet is to show a little vulnerability. Either way, he still has great chances to make it to the end.
Phillip Phillips – It became clearer this week why Jimmy Iovine is back and forth with him. He seems to be challenging him, seemingly not feeling he’s hit his top mark yet. I don’t think he has either, and that seems to be in confidence more than anything else. This was the first week the judges didn’t feel he had it all going on. Maybe this will challenge him more than anything Jimmy could say. If it goes back to that comparison of Colton, he just needs to show that emotional facet to his personality that he seems reluctant to show. If he does, it might be his ticket to the finale.
Jessica Sanchez – There wasn’t anyone who would have predicted her being in the bottom three. She’ll definitely be safe next week as people fight to save her. However, it means people forgot to vote for her. I said last week she needs to start connecting to the fans somehow, as we really don’t know much about her. People aren’t going to vote on just talent week after week. We want more of her. Her chances of making the final 2 aren’t good after needing the judges’ save this week to extend her stay. However, she’s so talented that she just may be the first saved Idol to make it.
Elise Testone – She is so talented. For whatever reason, she just doesn’t connect to the voters. In another season, she might not be consistently in the bottom three. Regardless, this week she had some great company. She doesn’t have a good shot at making it to the end. But every week she stays, she shows more and more of what she’s capable of, and hopefully a record company will pick her up based on that.