AI Recapper's Retreat

The Retreat spawns from the Television Without Pity American Idol Forum. Primarily for your longer form recaps, a place outside of the flow of the crazy episode threads. This way we can enjoy/comment/encourage/rationalize these long posts more easily. We spend the time on them, here's another spot for them to have 'life'. Not a forum replacement but a sub-set: Post there, paste here! Or more? We'll see. Oh, and NO SPOILERS! Welcome back for a new year of soul crushing pimping of Chosen Ones. -WS

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Friday, March 11, 2005

Final elimination (or, We have the monkeys, we just need to teach them to dance)
by spacecitymarc

And now we know what kind of crap we can expect over the next 11 weeks.

The people who write Ryan's dialogue are idiots who might know the meaning of the words they use but don't know the meaning of the sentences said words combine to form. Case in point: Ryan references "the two rockers" and says, "Which one stays and which one goes?" Which clearly – CLEARLY – means that either Bo or Constantine makes it to the top 12, but not both. But they do indeed both make it, which, if we ignore Ryan's dialogue, is fine: Bo is the best of the guys right now, and I really want Constantine to humiliate himself for a little bit longer. But TPTB could use a good lesson in rhetoric.

Other than Bo, the only two that I'm actually happy to see move on to the top 12 are Jessica (who is, for me, easily the best of the women), and pretty, pretty Lindsay (whose voice I love and who really impressed me on a lousy song last night).

Ryan can't let the show go by without a little bit of bullshit, as he tells Carrie, "Sorry… to have to ask you to stand up and walk over here." Stupid.

Given the final three guys, I think I'm happier to have Scott move on than Travis, who was just terrible, or Nikko, who I could barely remember even after all this time. Not thrilled about Mikalah, but I'd had enough of Janay and Amanda, so I'm willing to overlook it for now.

And for those keeping score, the official final 12 contains exactly one man (Bo) and one woman (Jessica) who were not shown on this program AT ALL until the Hollywood auditions (and not until very last night, in Jessica's case). That means that of the 9 singers whose auditions they didn't show, 7 of them (78%) didn't make it to the finals, and of the 15 singers whose auditions they did show, only two of them (13%) didn't make it to the finals. Again, there are causality questions here, but there is strong evidence that they really do need to at least look into the possibility that exposure really does give certain performers an advantage not available to others (and if I was still in grad school, I think I'd have my next major project).

Then again, why should they? Because the more I think about it, the more I realize that not only is this exactly what TPTB wanted, it's exactly what they told us fairly explicitly that they wanted. That was the point of the extended audition footage, wasn't it? To make us feel more invested in the singers early on? Well, by God, it worked. It worked so well that the group of finalists is top-heavy with people who got exposure and got it early. Which means that TPTB's objections are not only possibly invalid but incredibly hypocritical. Welcome to the big time, kids! Call your lawyer before signing anything.

And finally, I wish to point out that the insistence on creating a gender-balanced final 12 is specifically designed to let some singers through who simply don't deserve it; not that these finalists (necessarily) don't deserve to be there, but this structure forces the top 12 to fit a specific picture rather than sort itself out naturally. And I'm shocked to realize that that means that TPTB have very possibly given themselves a worse top 12 than they would have if they had simply let people get voted through on their own merits. And that, my friends, is just plain stupid for a show that purports to be a popularity contest.

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