And the big surprise is...more bad singing? The wild-card round doesn't do much to improve the quality of the show's potential finalists, says Jessica Shaw

By Jessica Shaw
Updated July 03, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

And the big surprise is…more bad singing?

And that big surprise Simon was alluding to that would shock all of us was…that the alternates they’d chosen were horrible? Of all the people that performed from around the world, our judges couldn’t find people better than Aliceyn (who should have been eliminated simply due to her name spelling) and Olivia?

Clearly, there was a goal with the wild-card round. The producers obviously felt like the finalists voted in thus far weren’t exactly the most telegenic bunch. Sure, they’re probably thinking, Ruben and Kimberley Locke have the talent, but are they really going to bring in ratings week after week? After all, even if you were deaf last year, you could have appreciated the undeniable hotness of Justin, Kelly, Tamyra, Ryan, et al. And in this age of Britney and Christina, can a pop idol look like a Jenny Craig poster child? I don’t know the answer, but it seems that the producers of the show think they do — and it’s a resounding ”No!”

So, clearly, singers who look sexy in revealing navel-baring ensembles got the chance to perform again for America. Trenyce put on her best sheer outfit (which made her look no classier than a 42nd Street hooker), Janine showed plenty of skin, and Nasheka thought some nice threads would mask her lack of personality. And still, it was one of the least attractive (by conventional opinion, at least) and least done-up who blew us all away.

No doubt, Clay Aiken should be allowed into the finals. ”You’re looking fly,” Randy complimented. Well, not as fly as Justin ever looked, but you could probably listen to Clay’s voice long after Justin’s drove you crazy. He’s never going to be on the cover of Tiger Beat, and fourth-grade girls may not spend boring Social Studies classes drawing his name over and over again in their notebook margins, but the guy might just be the next Kelly Clarkson.

What did you think of the wild-card round?