April 6, 2005
on tight, everybody. You're about to see me agree
with my colleague Gordon Pepper more than you've ever
In last week's State
of Play, Gordon dissected the so-called "Chaos
Theory" of "American Idol." Working
in a business where a totally different chaos theory is
tossed around at least in jest, I wondered what exactly
we were talking about here.
But I must say that Gordon is right on target.
We'll get to this week's Idol rankings shortly.
But consider this: going into the finals my top
three were Jessica Sierra (now out), Bo Bice (slipping
rapidly), and Anwar Robinson (who has been consistently
inconsistent). My top three now: Carrie
Underwood, Constantine Maroulis, and Vonzell
Solomon. What do all three of these people have in
common? They've all shown a diverse range of
singing and performing talent. They've crossed
genres. (You can argue that Vonzell hasn't
done that quite so much...and I wouldn't argue against
you...but she did branch out a bit.)
In addition, Carrie, Constantine and Vonzell all have
star qualities; and NONE of them is like either of the
On the other hand, consider the post-Idol
situation. Why were Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken
successful with their albums? Because they sang
music that was popular with the same people who liked
them on "Idol." Justin Guarini, Fantasia
Barrino, and even to some extent, Ruben Studdard...didn't.
You might consider Tamyra Gray to be the biggest Idol
success story...after all, she's singing, acting, and
Anyway...as you're voting, consider whether the person
you're going to be voting for is going to still be
singing the kind of music you want to hear AFTER
Idol. If not, maybe it's time to vote for someone
One final note on this for now...it's still VERY early,
relatively speaking. Just three weeks ago, I
would've banked on a Bo/Nadia final. Now a
Carrie/Constantine final looks just as likely as that
The Week That Was...
One note: Let's NEVER do the
Musicals week again, okay? Especially not if we're
restricting to Classic Musicals. Songs that
lack popularity -- or even recognition -- from your
show's target audience aren't going to go over well,
even if they're sung brilliantly or with a new/different
Two weeks ago, the Idol rankings showed almost a dead
heat among eight of the finalists. Last week...we
went to a 5/5 split. This week, there was even
more spreading out of the remaining
There were no clear "winners" for the week,
but Anwar Robinson's strong performance was a pleasant
surprise, probably keeping him in the competition
a week or two longer than he might've been before.
The weakest performances came from the same people
who've been down at the bottom recently -- Scott Savol,
Anthony Fedorov, and Nadia Turner (who was much improved
but still behind the others; and I thought overperformed
her song choice).
So here are the rankings through four weeks.
Note, as always, these rankings are my opinion only
and are as subjective as each of our votes.
So I guess we have three groups of three
Wednesday night's results were a big shocker.
Scott, Nikko, and Vonzell? This is ultimate proof
of Gordon's assertion -- referenced above -- that
multiple singers within one genre cannot succeed.
And I'm willing to bet a large number of Nikko's voters
migrate toward Vonzell (or maybe Anwar)...ensuring both
of them are safe next week, unless they just really foul
On "The Apprentice"
Yum. Pizza. Fattening for most; slimming for
Net Worth. Last week in this space I said that
"only Stephanie's really in a decent
position." Of course, then she goes and
agrees to be Project Manager; fails on the task, and
promptly gets fired. I'd say other than Angie (who
Trump still has apprehension about), the winner of this
series is likely going to be a Magna member.
for Thursday's "Survivor" indicate that there
will NOT be a tribal merge. That would be
unfortunate for the lame duck members of Ulong, who are
quadruply-outnumbered. Maybe Mark Burnett won't
let his tribes pick themselves again for a
More that one person has told me that with this season,
Survivor may have 'jumped the shark.' I don't know
about that...after all, we all still seem to be
watching. But it's true that there really is no
competition at this point. It should get
interesting again, however, when we're down to all Koror
members left (which probably won't take long) and they
are forced to turn on each other after working so long
as a tribe.
The chances of an Ulong winner are now down to probably
less than 2%.
On "The Amazing Race"
Meredith may be the most lucky unlucky people in the
history of this series -- they foul up and miss a clue,
with virtually NO possessions, and STILL don't get
eliminated? It seems like no matter what they do,
they stay in it. What happens though if they
finish last in another non-elimination leg? Do
they have the possessions they got from other Racers
taken away from them?
Odds and Ends...
And finally...a couple remaining thoughts.
* Nashville Star's Jenny Farrell (who made series
history by not being able to perform on the season's
first episode) was eliminated this week. Of the
remaining contestants, I'd have to say Jason Meadows
has the lead.
* It was reported today that Byron Allen is
looking to buy PAXTV and turn it into a broadcast
network targeting African-Americans.
Although...the company's founder said just two weeks
ago he's not looking to sell his interest in the
company. On the rumors, PAX stock more than
doubled on Wednesday to over $1.30 a share.
* Finally, keep the folks in Mississippi in your
thoughts and prayers. On Wednesday, they got
absolutely slammed by tornadoes and wind damage.
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Elliott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.