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”You are one classy gentleman.”
With those words — and what seemed like a few dozen additional stream-of-consciousness adjectives — American Idol judge Paula Abdul bid farewell tonight to season 8’s most congenial contestant, Scott MacIntyre. And really, what better (or more accurate) compliment could anyone pay to the visually impaired piano man?
Week after week, Scott brought undeniable enthusiasm and an understated wit to the Idol stage, gently poking fun at Ryan’s effort to high-five him, offering to move his piano closer to the front of the stage after Paula said it was separating him from the audience, and even tonight, getting in one last zinger about those rose-hued pants the Idol stylists foisted on him during Motown week. (I cannot lie: I guffawed when Scott slyly asked ”None of this is pink, right?” during the ”Ford Music Video” behind-the-scenes package.) Indeed, it’s a testament to Scott’s personality that he was able to regularly talk back to the judges, demand custom-made chocolate cakes from the Idol Mansion’s personal chef, and repeatedly give viewers flashbacks to their early ’80s dental-office visits, and yet still not come off like malevolence incarnate.
Being brutally honest, though, Scott finished better than he should have with eighth place. Since reaching the top 13 some six weeks ago, the Arizona native has struggled to prove there’s a place for him in the modern music world. Certainly, he didn’t achieve that elusive goal with tonight’s encore presentation of Survivor’s ”The Search Is Over,” which was punctuated by a final falsetto run so brutal, I bet it could have a pretty successful career as a member of the Ultimate Fighting Championship league. (Badum-bum!) Heck, I’m pretty sure the contestant himself mouthed ”It’s me” to fellow bottom two-dweller Anoop Desai after Ryan asked which one would be flying the Idol coop (”caw! caw!”) after the final commercial break.
I just wish that Simon, Paula, Randy, and Kara had had the common decency not to patronize Scott by pretending that they were seriously considering using the Judges’ Save on his behalf. For one thing, when the veto power was announced earlier in the season, Ryan was very clear in stating that it could only be used in the event of a unanimous decision by the judges. So was there really any point in the extended ”deliberations” that took place after Simon announced that only two panelists were advocating for throwing a lifeline to Scott?
Either way, Scott joins Jorge ”I never can say goodbye” Nunez, Alexis ”I’m begging of you please” Grace, and Michael ”ain’t too proud to beg” Sarver among the contestants who’ve delivered words of desperation while singing for their musical lives on results nights this season. Sample lyric from Scott tonight: ”How can I convince you that what you see is real?/Who am I to blame you for doubting what you feel?”
I’m not sure where Scott’s Idol ”journey” will take him next — a tour of classy hotel lobbies and piano bars, perhaps? — but let me make a suggestion to the producers of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars: Why not sign up Scott for the fall 2009 season? I kid you not! We’ve seen the guy practicing his dance steps with his completely adorable sister (loved her jaunty braids tonight!), and even if he doesn’t turn out to be the world’s most talented hoofer, DWTS is ultimately about personality anyway. Well, that and the seasons-old and alarmingly heated rivalry between sequins and fringe. (Right, Annie Barrett?)
NEXT: Tonight’s song parody, as inspired by Adam Lambert