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American Idol recap: Pimpin' Ain't Easy

Contestants with backing from the judges and producers rule the day as the first three finalists of season 8 are unveiled

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American Idol 021809

American Idol

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, Ryan Seacrest
Reality TV

It’s official, everyone! Season 8 of American Idol is going to be nothing short of miraculous. Sick folks will be healed at the end of each and every results show. The economy will get rescued during a special Wall Street-themed edition of ”Idol Gives Back.” Randy Jackson will become articulate and concise before the beginning of April. And we’ll have one person to thank: The Robert Downey Jr. look-alike who, based on a single live performance, has been labeled ”the redeemer” and ”the hero” (of season 8 or the planet, it remains to be seen), has been envisioned playing ”sold-out arenas,” and has been charged by no less a social commentator than Kara DioGuardi with the tall order of ”giving us all hope.”

And because it is useless — no! in fact it is strictly verboten to resist him — I have written a song for this very special contestant, set to the tune of Mariah Carey’s ”Hero.” Please give it a listen, or better yet, sing along:

There’s a hero, if you look in the pimp slot

He’s the dude that Kara says can give us hope.

Will he survive? Ryan sure does like to tease us.

He’s the bespectacled Jesus, of season 8.

When Danny Gokey comes along,

The magic lighting gets turned on.

Then loving close-ups, they arrive,

And you know he will survive.

And just like that Anoop is gone.

He should have picked a better song.

And it becomes as clear as day,

The producers got their way.

All right, all right. In all seriousness, it’s not Danny Gokey’s fault that Ken Warwick & Co. love him more than Ford, Coca-Cola, and AT&T combined. But it’s been absolutely bizarre watching the Idol Machine’s early and overzealous campaign on behalf of a contestant who’d most likely have cracked the top 12 without the added help. And what’s worse is that said campaigning is being done at the expense of both the show’s integrity and dramatic resonance.

Take tonight’s results episode, for example. I think all but the most inexperienced Idol viewers knew going into the telecast that Danny was a shoo-in for one of the three finalist slots being awarded. I mean, what other contestant in the first set of 12 had the power to drive Kara to a When Harry Met Sally deli-scene fit by virtue of a soothing, gravelly tone and a few well-placed glory notes? And yet, inexplicably, the producers built the last half-hour of tonight’s show on the suspense-free premise that Danny might’ve gotten fewer votes than Tatiana Del Toro. Or maybe they just wanted to see if giving Tatiana 30 minutes to ponder whether she had a guppy’s chance in a piranha’s tank of beating season 8’s chosen one might drive the mood-swinging songbird to a complete emotional breakdown.

NEXT: Danny vs Tatiana…right