To say that the Idolsphere is in shock over Siobhan’s exit would be… an understatement. Certainly, nothing else like it has been seen this season.
And yet… well, I’m not 100% surprised. I had Siobhan in the bottom two, after all. I suspected that her fanbase was weak, but even I didn’t think it was quite that weak.
First, we have to answer one question: was Siobhan really as strong as people thought she was? Conventional wisdom has it that she was a strong contestant who could go far.
Me… I’m not so sure. I firmly believe that to a large degree, the Idolsphere – both Big Media and New Media alike – over-ranked Siobhan. We all saw the amazing voice, the ability to hold a high note. We made the comparison to Adam Lambert and thought that, like Adam, Siobhan could get away with having very divided opinions.
The trouble is, simply, that Siobhan wasn’t as good as everyone thought. In hindsight, the good analogue to Siobhan wasn’t Adam, but Carly Smithson. Both girls had immensely powerful vocals, but sometimes were lost without the glory notes. They were both early frontrunners, but stumbled later on.
Now, as my friends at What Not to Sing pointed out, this was the first time that someone in the pimp spot went home in a single-song, single-boot week. Since the Idol PTB never give the pimp spot to a weak contestant, that must mean that she was a strong contestant who went home too early, right?
Not necessarily. Keep in mind that the Idol PTB are just as capable of misreading the American public. It’s much more likely that the producers misread the situation as badly as everyone else. They may have believed their own hype and thought Siobhan was safe until, say, top four.
In any event, this isn’t really a big shocker. It’s at best a mild surprise – Big Mike’s fanbase is stronger than I thought, but I admit that his save earlier in the season played a role in that line of thought. This is nothing more than a case of a former frontrunner with a big voice, who hasn’t developed her repertoire outside of that big voice, stumbling when the weaker finalists have been removed.
Not A Surprise, Part 2: Similarly, Casey James ending up in the bottom two shouldn’t be a surprise. He’s the only contestant splitting votes with anyone else – Crystal’s frontrunner status protects her that way, and Big Mike and Aaron are both alone in their genres. On the other hand, Casey and Lee share a lot of similarities, so I suspect there’s a lot of vote-splitting going on here.
For Casey to make the finale, he has to hope that Lee has a major off-day and he can capitalize. In a Lee-Casey-Crystal fight, it’s hard to see how Casey could come out ahead.