25 young men and women walked onto that stage. 12 of them went home, for good. My first season of Idol was season 5. It and seasons six and seven started the live shows with the top twenty-four and whittled them down to twelve over three weeks of four eliminations – two boys, two girls. During that time, we got to know the contestants and most of them got more than one chance. Season 8 resurrected an older method where we went from 36 to (as it happened) 13 over three weeks, but each results night was a bloodbath where only three out of each group of twelve survived, with hope that three (well, four) would get a wildcard nod. And I hated it. I was happy when they brought the old system back for season 9, disaster though that season was.
This is the same, just compressed to one week instead.
And I don’t feel the need to use last names again. Yay.
There are no guest performances, just groups of hopeful young people brought up and told their fates, with the few chosen to be wildcards performing for their lives. It was a bloodbath.
Chase, Philip and Jeremy are called up first. Philip is directed to sit in one of the thirteen chairs, and the other two are sent to the couches as potential wildcards. But first, Jimmy Iovine gives his critique on tape – and he loves Philip (would sign him now) but doesn’t like the other two.
Jessica, Brielle, Hollie and Hallie (yeah. I got confused, too.) are up next. Jimmy like Hollie (I think. He’s also confused – so many blondes) and Brielle, although he didn’t like Brielle’s song. He also likes Hallie. And he really loves Jessica. Hollie and Jessica are in, the other two are on the couches.
Three more boys (boys are in threes until the last group, girls are in fours) are called up – Heejun, Joshua and Adam. Jimmy likes Joshua, doesn’t like Adam (whom he thinks should integrate the large black woman on the inside and the large white man on the outside) and is confused by Heejun, whom he thinks should be on American Comedian. Adam goes to the couches; Heejun and Joshua go to the chairs.
Four more girls – Baylie, Chelsea, Skylar and Shannon. Jimmy loves Skylar, doesn’t think Baylie came together, doesn’t think Chelsea was original enough and likes Shannon. Shannon and Skylar are in, Baylie and Chelsea are waiting for wildcard.
Aaron, Creighton and Reed – and Jimmy doesn’t like any of them. And all are sent to the couches.
Four final girls – Erika, Elise, Hayley and Jen. And one more spot in the safe ten. Jimmy thinks Jen is another Adele wannabe, likes Erica and Elise (and HER Adele) and doesn’t like Hayley. Erica and Hayley are sent to the couches, and it’s Jen vs Elise – Adele vs Adele. And Elise is safe.
Four final boys – DeAndre, Eben, Colton and Jermaine. Only two will go on. Jimmy can hear a whole album of Jermaine, thinks Eben and DeAndre are too young and thinks Colton will win. He won’t. Phillip will. Be that as it may, Eben and DeAndre go to the couches and Colton and Jermaine are safe.
And the torture continues – the judges pick six and only six people from the couches and they get to sing for their lives – or at least their careers.
Jen sings “Oh, Darling” by the Beatles and is powerful. Jeremy sings, “I Know You Won’t” by Carrie Underwood. He does well. Brielle, the poor thing, sings Adele’s “Someone Like You”, and it’s too big and old for her. DeAndre sings “Georgia on My Mind,” with a lot of falsetto. Not a fan of this admittedly nice kid. I don’t know why. And Erika powers her way through Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory” and she is magnificent. People are singing with her. Reed sings “Use Me” by Bill Withers, and makes it jazz again.
So the final three wild cards, the ones that are purely the choice of the judges with no real input from the audience, are Erika, DeAndre and Jeremy.