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Ahead of Its Time - April 14

The results are in for the online Jeopardy! test, and they sure are impressive. Over 100,000 people showed up online to try out for the test, an over 400 percent increase from the 25,000 people who usually show up throughout the year. The benefits are immediate – by getting different people who would usually not show up at the contestant searches for whatever reason, you will have a smarter, more diverse and more eclectic contestant pool to pick out of, and therefore a greater chance of getting more dynamic personalities on the show.

Jeopardy, however, is not the only show that has cashed in on the interactive craze. Deal or No Deal gives you a chance to win $10,000 by texting in who has the lucky case. Spin your way to $50,000 and a car on Wheel of Fortune by registering for a SPIN ID. You can vote to bring back someone in the house on Big Brother. And don’t forget Idol, of course, where your votes shape the face of the show.

As ‘interactivity’ has now become the new buzz word in game shows, can I make a suggestion to bring back one of the first interactive game shows around – and no doubt, one that would be incredibly popular now if it was produced and aired the right way. The game show? Paranoia.

Introduced by FOX Family, Paranoia was a neat little gem of a game. The player started with a pot of $15,000, and had to defeat three opponents from around the country in order to keep the money. Beware, however – for every question that was asked, the bank dwindled with each correct answer given by not only the opponents, but by people playing on-line and via the phone as well. Should the opponents win, they, and the highest scoring people playing at home, would have an opportunity to be the next player, and it would be their turn to defend their $15,000.

Maybe the learning curve was a bit too steep when the game was introduced in 2000, but the technology has caught up to the rest of the masses enough to try again. If you could put the show on FOX, on a Friday Night time slot (you know, that place where Greed used to get fairly decent ratings), and hype up the money to a possible 10 million dollar payout, you now not only have a competitor to Deal Or No Deal, but a new cult show that could excite the masses and generate a lot of revenue, if just from the internet sector.

And look at it this way. It has to do better than The Chamber, doesn’t it?

While the Chaos Theory remains steady as she goes with the departure of Bucky, we see a surprise on not only the staying power of certain idols, but the lack of staying power with other idols. That sort of throws a monkey wrench as to who is leaving, but we go back to one statistic that has never been wrong to show us the way. Confused? You won’t be…

Chico, on Wednesday, said to lock Kellie into the Final Four. I think you can lock her even higher than that. Not only does she not have any signs of slowdown, but she will almost be the sole beneficiary of Bucky’s votes. As long as she doesn’t do anything stupid to show the world that she is as much acting as singing, then she is by far the safest this week.

I think Simon was absolutely wrong. Taylor’s performance was not ridiculous. What you saw instead was an excellent well-rounded performance. Taylor’s choice to switch songs was a great move, because he went from a song of self-indulgence to an easily recognizable song that will not only satisfy his fans, but will be a great magnet to attract more people into his Soul Patrol.

Chris, on the other hand, completely went into self-indulgence. Not only does he pick a song that is obscure )and a crappy song at that), but he also fails to have any shot of collecting votes AND he may not have even satisfied his own clientele. Sure he sang the song beautifully, but he could have had a moment if he picked ANY recognizable Queen song. I hope he learns his lesson with Rod Stewart, or he’s going to be overtaken by…

Katharine... Like Taylor, Katharine’s decision to switch songs was perfect, as she also sang a well-recognizable song and did a remarkable job with it. I can’t wait to see what she does with Rod Stewart – and I think that her selection next week could get herself into the Top 3.

Your wardrobe manager ought to be punished by having to wear what you wore on Tuesday night for the whole week. What? Was? That? That’s too bad, because you had a decent performance. However, decent next week is not going to be good enough to rescue you from the bottom three, so you better perform well enough so that we don’t really care what you are wearing.

What are sore to the eyes for Paris was sore to the ears for you. That was more like We Will Schlock You than We Will Rock You. You should be very happy that the Chaos Theory worked in overdrive for you this week, but one more rotten effort from you will send you packing. You MUST sing better than Elliott to ensure your survival…

…but even if he doesn’t, and you sing lights out, I’m not sure if it will be enough to rescue you from elimination. We go back to the very handy stat – no person who has been in the bottom three for 2 straight weeks survives the third week. What’s even more damning is that the best that your group could do was the bottom three – and you couldn’t even displace Ace, who was awful. You need a momentous performance and a royal screw-up from someone, and I don’t know how you will get either.

So my bottom is actually a little of a surprise this week – maybe not on the bottom three (Ace, Paris, Elliott), but who may be leaving (Elliott), based on past statistics. We’ll see if I can get the statistic of being 5-1 in my Idol selections next week.

Gordon Pepper needs to stop being so darn paranoid. E-mail him at


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