We were told to brace for ”a surprise or two.” We were warned that ”shocking results” were imminent. And yes, while the sight of Michael Lynche preparing to sing his way out of a ninth-place finish was not the result I’d have forecasted, I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was the biggest jaw-dropper from tonight’s results-show telecast.
Au contraire, that honor is really a tossup among a wide range of incidents that occurred during the hour-long program. We had Randy Jackson eschewing his typically idiotic chorus of boos during Simon Cowell’s introduction — for the second time this season. We had Ryan praising Simon’s constructive criticism of one of the contestants. We had new (and better) glasses from Andrew Garcia, new(ish) attitude from Ellen DeGeneres, and a new single from Rihanna that required an assist from a female dancer taking a side grinder to her own metal-plated corset. (Today’s water-cooler discussion topic: Would Lacey Brown have made the Idol summer tour if she’d pulled a similar stunt during ”Ruby Tuesday”?) We had the judges exercising the ”save” option on someone other than Crystal Bowersox. And we had Katie Stevens managing not to uncork a stunning stream of expletives when they did it.
Oh, I know, I know, I’m being beastly. The shiny, happy teenager who’s doing it all for grandma probably doesn’t have the mouth of a truck-stop waitress at the bottom end of a Saturday-night shift. But who’d have blamed the kid if she let loose a couple f-bombs to close the show, before painting on a smile and submitting to a bear hug from the contestant whose arms resemble two unwieldy sides of beef?
In all seriousness, though, there are potential consequences to Big Mike’s last minute salvation — namely, the fact that two contestants (whose names most likely don’t rhyme with Pig Psych) will take the long and winding road to possible future obscurity this time next week. And in a season where vote totals are apparently only being announced in lump sums (132 million in seven weeks, everybody! woohoo!), where ”what have you done for me lately?” is an operating principle and not just a fierce Janet Jackson jam, there was (up till now) a certain comfort in knowing an override button existed to undo the random acts of text-message violence.
But even if you’re like me, flummoxed that Big Mike’s solid neo-soul interpretation of ”Eleanor Rigby” was somehow deemed less speed-dial-worthy than Aaron Kelly’s latest turgid ballad or Andrew Garcia’s fifth disappointing sequel to ”Straight Up,” the question remains: Did the burly dude deserve to be the sole season 9 recipient of the Judges’ Save?
NEXT: What, do you hate babies or something?