And finally, our long national nightmare is over.
I’ll keep tonight’s blog short and sweet. Here’s what you need to know:
-Season 10 winner Scotty McCreery was back, singing his incredibly repetitive new song. And frankly he did not sound great. He also still looks 12, which made it all the more uncomfortable when Ryan Seacrest made a low-key pass at him. (“Have you been working out?” Put it away, Ryan.)
-Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson was back to sing her new song, “People Like Us,” and she sounded great even while she was dressed as an extra from Peter Gabriel’s “Big Time” video. Then, in one of the most adorable bits on this show since “Puck and Pickler,” Kelly totally geeked out over getting to meet Mariah Carey. She was so sweet and charming -- both of them were, actually. Kelly said that if Mariah was a judge back in Season 1 she would have vomited all over the stage. She also said that she’s glad that Mariah is “nice.” I would deem her “nonsensical,” but whatever. Anyway, Kelly continues to be the gold standard. Not only is she an amazing singer and pop star, but she’s such a delight.
-The Top 6 were separated on stage into three groups: Candice and Kree, Angie and Janelle, and Lazaro and Amber. Obviously Candice and Kree were in the top (and let’s stop for a minute and recognize that Kree is the threat nobody is talking about this season; she’s totally under the radar and yet hugely popular). Janelle could have conceivably been B2, but Angie was unlikely given her excellent second performance on Wednesday. And Amber just cannot get a fan base, while Lazaro is the worst. So unsurprisingly, Lazaro and Amber were the B2.
-I feel terrible for Amber, because she cannot catch a break. Crazy talented but she’s simply getting outshined by Candice, and Candice is pulling all of her votes. I do not feel bad for Lazaro, who never should have made Top 10, and who most CERTAINLY shouldn’t have been the last boy standing. And somewhat surprisingly, it was Lazaro’s turn to go. I honestly expected his massive voting bloc to push him through at least another week, especially after the drubbing he got from the judges Wednesday night. And yet, he was left to warble his way through “Feelin’ Good” in his bid for the Save. The judges were obviously not having that. It didn’t even look like Keith Urban bothered to stay at the podium to deliberate. That was never going to happen.
-That means that we have a guaranteed female winner for the first time on this show since Season 6, and the first all-female finale since Season 3. Many have argued that this is the result of massive producer manipulation, and it’s hard to deny the likelihood of that. Does anyone REALLY think the guys who made it to semi-finals were the best male vocalists in the pool this year? And the fact that the only one with the vocal ability to go far, Curtis Finch Jr., was out at Top 10 with literally everything working against him that week? Nah. Even Lazaro’s ouster this week smacked of producer interference. He went from Top 3 last week to last place this week, after getting savaged in his critique? Either America magically realized that he was terrible or people wised up to what a little monster he was becoming. (Look up the interview he did Wednesday night in which he dismisses basically all the judges’ criticism of him. He was also defensive after he got the news that he was axed, with the talking-over-the-judges thing.) There’s no question that he deserved to go, but looking at the way “Idol” has historically worked, it doesn’t make a lot of sense.
-The truth is, for as terrible as he was -- and he really was awful, one of the worst singers to ever make it this far into the competition -- Lazaro will be missed. Wednesday’s episode was good for two reasons. One of them was the legitimately great performances by Candice, Angie, and Kree. The other was the spectacular flameout by Lazaro, and the judges desperately trying to find something to say to the kid. I’ll miss that. He definitely made things interesting, and watching him escape the hangman’s noose again and again was rewarding in its own way. Now we’ve got two weeks in which we eliminate Janelle and Amber (there’s just no way either of them make F2), and judging by the May 16 finale date, one of them WILL be saved next week. I hope it’s Amber, because the save would be totally wasted on Janelle.