The first cut is the deepest, as the old Cat Stevens song goes.
Then again, if Cat Stevens had been writing about the first elimination episode of American Idol‘s seventh season, he’d have been completely and utterly wrong, seeing how the initial four eliminations didn’t even leave a surface wound tonight. Sure, Amy Davis, Joanne Borgella, Garrett Haley, and Colton Berry all seem like sweet, likable — or, well, at least blandly inoffensive — folks. But anyone who’s planning to tune in to Fox two or three nights a week for the next 13 weeks couldn’t have been crying like Ramiele Malubay or Asia’h Epperson at any point during tonight’s program.
Poor Garrett. You kind of knew it was all over for him when the producers snuck in his totally clueless post-performance interview clip — ”I loved it, and I can tell America will love it” — in the midst of the recap of Tuesday night’s proceedings. I had expected the kid to survive into week 2 because the sheer hideousness of his ”Breaking Up Is Hard to Do” was far more memorable than, say, Jason Yeager’s ”Moon River.” But as a friend pointed out to me over IM tonight, ”Sometimes awful is just awful.”
Plus, I’m guessing Garrett’s styling issues — broke-down mop of a ‘do, ghastly wisp of a ‘stache, and pale skin that had Simon worrying he’d been locked in his bedroom for a month — contributed to his early ouster. As a message board poster named Help Me pointed out, the overall effect was simply too much: ”I looked up and there was Garrett yelling at me, ‘It puts the lotion in the basket!’ ” Another reader, however, thought Garrett’s look was more Lord of the Rings than Silence of the Lambs, kidding that there was a ”warrant out for his arrest in the shire; he stole some magic potions from a wizard and now he is wanted!” Heck, even Garrett’s fans were struggling to accept his facial hair. One reader noted that while Garrett’s newbie status made him more appealing than semipros like Michael Johns and Carly Smithson, ”I really don’t think I could vote for him with that kidstache. Wax off!”
The other elimination on the men’s side was one I (and many of you) correctly predicted, and frankly, not even Colton Berry looked surprised when Ryan sent Chikezie (Eze) back to safety and set the stage for another lackluster rendition of ”Suspicious Minds.” I’ll admit I winced when Ryan asked the judges to give Colton some constructive criticism, and Simon encouraged him to go find a fulfilling job and forget a career as a professional singer, but frankly, it was exactly what Colton needed to hear. Maybe not exactly when Colton needed to hear it, but no one’s ever accused Simon of being tactful.
The weird thing for me about Colton’s elimination was the way it sent fellow contestants like Ramiele, Asia’h, and Kady into sobbing fits, while Colton’s family members (who incidentally are not courting votes from millions of Idol fans) remained totally stoic.
If anything, though, Mr. Berry’s brief Idol run proved to me that the judges picked the wrong Colton out of the top 50; Colton Swon, if you’re out there, I think you coulda been a contender! Reader Justin Castillo, meanwhile, thought Colton should’ve checked out of the running in favor of a different candidate back on top-24 judgment night: ”If I were him, I’d have told Kyle [Ensley], ‘Congratulations! You’re gonna be the youngest U.S. president in American history.’ Then I’d have put that elevator in reverse to tell the judges and producers that the final spot should go to Mr. Ensley.”
Coincidentally, the eliminations of Colton and Joanne meant that the last two contestants chosen to be semifinalists by the judges (both in head-to-head matchups) were two of the first to be axed. Joanne’s ouster wasn’t a surprise to most EW.com message-board posters, who were totally underwhelmed by her vocals on ”Say a Little Prayer” Wednesday night. In fact, dozens upon dozens of you picked Joanne and Amy as both most likely to go home and most deserving of going home.
NEXT: Where the votes aren’t