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American Idol recap: Rage Against the Machine

The judges reveal their Wild Card choices, confounding and infuriating Michael Slezak

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American Idol 0304
Frank Micelotta/American Idol/Getty Images

American Idol

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

Without rage, there is no Idol.

Indeed, for every thrilling David-vs.-David finale that restores your faith and fandom in the nation’s most popular talent competition, there’s usually an infuriating counter-agent: Paula’s critique of Jason Castro last season — before the dude had even performed; the cockroach-like survival skills of Sanjaya Malakar and Kristy Lee Cook; the sight of Fantasia, LaToya, and J.Hud in the bottom three, with John Stevens and Jasmine Trias sitting on the safety benches.

These are the maddening moments that prompt the all-too-common refrains of a disgruntled American Idol nation: ”I’m never watching this show again!” ”If this keeps up, I’m not tuning in for the rest of season!” ”Why the hell am I still watching this program?” We’ve all said (or thought) these words, or some close approximation. But in Idol‘s eighth season, it seems the mutinous feelings are coming on stronger and earlier than ever before.

It doesn’t help, of course, that the show’s producers seem hell bent on spoiling their good thing. From the biggest decisions (giving a Wild Card spot to the insipid Jasmine Murray; not even considering the vastly superior Mishavonna Henson) to the smallest (destroying any sense of suspense or excitement for the third consecutive set of voting results), Ken Warwick, Cecile Frot-Coutaz, and the entire Idol production team seem to be treating their multimillion-dollar franchise with all the care and attention of a disinterested high-school sophomore taking a multiple-choice exam and filling out ”A” for every answer. Sure, they’re bound to get a few things right, but for the most part, the majority of season 8 has felt truly and arbitrarily wrong.

But before we dive deep into tonight’s troubling one-hour telecast, let me continue our new results-night tradition of penning a little ditty, this one set to the tune of Tracy Chapman’s ”Give Me One Reason.” Yeah, I’m paying tribute one last time to the lovely and talented human punching bag Kristen McNamara, who took one final sucker-punch to the kidneys tonight when the judges passed her over for a Wild Card spot in favor of Tatiana del Toro. Click here if you want a little musical accompaniment from Miss Chapman, and by all means, sing along — you can’t do any worse than the Idol backup vocalists this season, right?

Give me one reason to stay tuned, and I’ll watch the Wild Card show/

Give me one reason to stay tuned; quick, before my head explodes/

Yeah, since you screwed Felicia Barton/

You’ve got to make me change my mind

Kara, I got your number, you’re a soulless corporate shill/

You gave props to Jasmine Murray, even though her voice is shrill/

Take your package artists, /

Back to where you came from,/

You are no Paula

Give me one reason to stay tuned, ’cause tonight’s show really blew/

Give me one reason to stay tuned, Ju’Not Joyner where are you?/

Said I can’t go on without Idol/

You’ve got to make me change my mind

I don’t want no Tatiana, with her tears and crying fits/

I don’t want no Tatiana, she’s a mediocre ditz/

I just want some Mishavonna — how I love her voice to bits

Oh handsome Ricky Braddy, come and give us what we need/

And that redhead Jesse Langseth, well, she’s a’ight I concede/

But if Matt Giraud sings Coldplay once again/

I suspect my ears will bleed

Give me one reason to stay tuned, ’cause this show has gone to poop/

Give me one reason to stay tuned, okay I’ll tune in for Anoop/

I miss singers playing instruments/

You’ve got to make me change my mind

All right, dawgs! That was the molten-hot lava bomb! (It’s official: There’s no way to say that without sounding like an a–hat.)

NEXT: Oh, the (lack of) drama!