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March 24, 2005
 

So yeah, you might've noticed (at least I hope someone did!) that I didn't do this little column last week.  Between still being ill and having a BIG project at work, I just didn't have enough time to get this thing written.  And it shows, considering the column fell to 12th place last week.  Let's turn that around with two weeks' worth of thoughts, and some overly comprehensive analysis of "American Idol"s first two finals weeks.

 

The Week That Was…

 

On "American Idol"…   
First off, this will be the first (and probably only) week that my 'picks' are going to actually be available and public knowledge before the results show airs.  

This is because of the now well-publicized-but-missed-by-many snafu where three contestants (Mikalah Gordon, Anwar Robinson, and Jessica Sierra) had two different phone numbers placed on the screen during the end-of-show recap.   Click here for screen grabs of the mess-up.

First off, this season is totally up for grabs at this point, as you'll see through my rankings momentarily.  And my prediction in this space of a very good chance of an all-guy final is up for debate again too.

Let's start by recapping where the Top 12 stood, in my mind, before the finals started:

 

So, of the Top 12, based on my rankings, here's how they rate:

 

  1. Bo Bice
  2. Jessica Sierra
  3. Nadia Turner
  4. Anwar Robinson (tied for third)  
  5. Nikko Smith
  6. Carrie Underwood
  7. Mikalah Gordon
  8. Vonzell Solomon
  9. Scott Savol
  10. Lindsey Cardinale
  11. Anthony Fedorov
  12. Constantine Maroulis

Week 1 of the finals was the always-rough '60s Week.  And the top performers didn't disappoint.  Bo Bice's spirited performance of "Spinning Wheel" rocked the house; while Nadia Turner showed her talent on "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me."  The darkhorse of the night was rocker Constantine Maroulis, who soundly saved himself from elimination with his rendition of "You've Made Me So Very Happy."  

The weakest four performances came down from Mikalah Gordon ("Son of a Preacher Man"), Anthony Fedorov ("Breaking Up Is Hard to Do"), Lindsey Cardinale ("Knock on Wood"), and, surprisingly, Jessica Sierra ("Shop Around"). Three of those four -- Gordon, Cardinale, and Sierra -- turned out to be the bottom three last week.  And Cardinale...my #10...was eliminated by the viewers.

Move forward to Week 2 -- one of the best weeks of American Idol we've seen in a long time (if ever) this early in the competition.  There were six solid performances, and five that were a bit iffier.  And my rankings did the biggest shuffle and tightening of the four seasons I've been doing this.

Here's where the Idol finalists stand -- in my book, only -- following Week 2:  "Billboard Number Ones."  Note that consistency matters...that's why some contestants are ranked so surprisingly high at this early stage.

  Rankings

Contestant

Point Total This Wk Overall Previous
Carrie Underwood 8 1 1 7
Vonzell Solomon 9 3 2 6
Bo Bice 10 9 3 1
Nikko Smith 10 2 4 8
Anwar Robinson 11 8 5 3
Scott Savol 11 6 6 5
Constantine Maroulis 11 7 7 4
Nadia Turner 12 10 8 2
Jessica Sierra 13 4 9 9
Anthony Fedorov 15 5 10 10
Mikalah Gordon 22 11 11 11


Wow.  The top ten just seven points apart.  It's anybody's competition.  Given how close it is, it's almost impossible to pick a bottom three...I'd say two of those three will be Mikalah and, surprisingly, Nadia.  The third?  Who knows.  Especially with everyone getting two chances to see the performances.

As for next week, expect Bo to move back up to at least second, unless Vonzell can really do as well as she did this week.  I've not been a big fan of hers up until now, but her performance Tuesday was overall excellent.  Carrie's performance of "Alone" might have been the best thing I've seen on Idol since Kelly Clarkson.  

So we'll see what happens.

Also, even though the rest of the GSNN gang has already given plenty of great analysis on Mario Vazquez quitting Idol, let me say this.  Sean (P. Diddy) Combs' statement today, when asked if Vazquez had been signed or will be signed to Combs' record label, was telling, basically saying he couldn't say anything about it at this time.  (In other words, not denying it.)  Admittedly, some of the contract details for the AI winner are rough. But I just hope Vazquez didn't decide to quit just to get a better opportunity.  If -- and I do say if -- he did, his decision runs the risk of making Idol irrelevant, if contestants can just use the show as a temporary springboard, and then quit before it's over.

 

On "The Apprentice"… 
John needed to go week before last, and he did.  I've read a brief preview of this week's show (airing the night of this column's publication).  Chris should be the next to go, in my opinion.  He's already on Trump's bad side -- for obvious reasons.  This week's task -- a do-it-yourself-workshop, should be interesting.  Let's hope the Apprentices are better at home improvement than ad campaigns.

 

On "Survivor"… 
We've had a whopping three episodes of "Survivor" since the last time I wrote this column (since the series made its temporary move to Wednesdays).  

Two weeks ago, the Ulong tribe continued their unprecedented losing streak.  And they mercifully voted off Kim, unanimously.  Kim and the other Ulong women were the only reason Ulong even had a chance to win the immunity challenge, "Sumo at Sea."  Their disorganization showed when they couldn't even elect a representative for the reward challenge.  For their own sakes, the best thing that could happen is to put Ulong out of their misery.

But that didn't happen last week either.  Instead, there was just one challenge -- for reward.  Not surprisingly, Koror won again.  But in the first of a series of twists -- both tribes had to vote someone off.  Koror chose to vote off its weakest link first:  Willard.  Simply put, he couldn't keep up with the rest of his tribe, and only made it as long as he did because his tribe never went to Tribal Council.  

Then the rest of Koror received its reward -- a big ol' meal.  And in a sick twist, Ulong had to watch them eat it while they went through Tribal Council themselves -- for the fifth time in a row.  Ulong's Angie couldn't even watch them eat -- but she should have, because they would be her final views of Pulau...she got voted out in a second-vote tiebreaker, after tying with Bobby Jon.  

Because of the press time of this column, last night's episode (3/23) won't be included this week.  We'll analyze that, and who's next to go...next week. 

 

On "The Amazing Race"… 
Last week's "Amazing Race" featured the first thing I couldn't watch...and the first thing several teams couldn't do.  Faced with eating four pounds of meat, Rob decided to quit the Roadblock and take a four-hour penalty.  The ingenious part was that Rob & Amber talked other teams into doing the same thing -- thus guaranteeing that they wouldn't be last.  Friends Debbie & Bianca were the last team to arrive.

Rob & Amber's dirty little tricks continued both last week, and this week, when mother & son team Susan & Patrick (who were early favorites of mine, but Patrick's whining pretty much turned me off to them) were eliminated.  But they weren't the only ones playing dirty.  

The possible true villains of this season...Ray & Deana...convinced Gretchen & Meredith to go the wrong way in the Detour, almost costing them their chance to stay in the Race.  

Next week...two legs of the race and plenty of injuries.  If you don't like blood, don't watch.

More next week.


The opinions expressed in InSites are those of the author only, and do not represent the opinions of any other person, organization, or entity. Jason Elliott can be reached at stormseeker@mchsi.com.

 

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