Well, that was an interesting results show. I freely admit to being more than a little surprised Michael Sarver got through to the finals; I thought he was definitely in the mix for the wildcard, but not in the picture for the third slot. Obviously, I was wrong.
I’ll do something different this year for my analysis articles. I’ll have a regular winners and losers section each week, where I can dissect who gained and who lost out of what happened that particular week. Without further ado…
Alexis Grace: Grace got some early airtime in the auditions, but despite that she didn’t receive the kind of hype others received. With one song this week, many think that she’s catapulted herself to frontrunner status.
Now, I happen to think she’s an excellent singer that deserves a great deal of praise. I’d be real careful before putting that tag on her. She got to the finals with a 42-year-old song. Now, obviously, she’s not going to keep singing songs that old all the time, but before I can give her some support she needs to prove herself with some newer material. She’s probably safe to at least the tour, but beyond that we’d be real careful.
Michael Sarver: Oh boy. He’s one lucky guy. Simon’s comment probably gave him at least the 20,000 votes that put him over Anoop Desai, and in all likelihood a lot more. He shouldn’t even have been in the mix, but thanks to a few kind words he now finds himself in the top 12. Imagine that.
Michael needs to improve a great deal from what we saw in the group round, otherwise he’ll have a new group of contestants in his corner no one really wants: Vote for the Worst.
Danny Gokey: Wait, you might ask. Didn’t I just say yesterday he won the episode? So how can he be a loser?
Danny had immense expectations on him before the show. Anything else than a win would have been a disaster. I’m not convinced he lived up to all of them. Hero was good, but it wasn’t good enough to stick in voter’s minds when the finals start in a few weeks time. He’ll still be portrayed as a frontrunner when it arrives, but don’t believe it for a second. He doesn’t nearly have the kind of momentum he had before this week.
Anoop Desai: Can you still be considered a frontrunner if you can’t even beat a so-so singer in Michael Sarver? He was good enough that he’ll still probably end up in the wildcard, but this was about the worst start imaginable for him. He needs a knock-it-out-of-the-park wildcard performance to get in. The result can’t have been good for his morale.
Vote for the Worst: VFTW’s advantage in influencing results has always been that they are organized, and have a definite direction, when everyone else doesn’t. They’re going to be strongest at the start of the season, then fade as the fanbases form. If they couldn’t even get Tatiana Del Toro to fourth with a so-so field right now, what does this say about their real power down the road?
The whole “group round” system: Whatever happens in the next groups, we can already call the group rounds a loss. Why? There is going to be a lot of good talent left on the table that didn’t have a week to mature they would have had before. Ryan even hung a lampshade on the “rawness” of the contestants. There are a lot of people in this group who have a lot of potential who could have used more screen time, and two weeks of better, more refined performances. Instead, we have two more weeks of fumbling singers, and cringing audiences. This is not good.
If you need a reminder of how bad the group round might result, consider this. To get into the top 12, contestants will have one shot to impress America – and if they don’t, maybe one chance to impress the judges. It took David Cook his third performance to deliver Hello, his definite breakout moment In short, David Cook might not have even made the finals under a group system.
Buckle up, folks. This is going to be a rough three weeks. Two more weeks of rookie performances, and then a week that’s bound to be full of blatant bias and manipulation of public opinion. Oops.
Wildcard picks, revised
I have to amend our wildcard picks out of this group, since Sarver got in directly. The Desai/Del Toro/Braddy trio is probably pretty certain of slots, particularly Braddy. Anne Marie Boskovich is the best candidate out of everyone else, so she gets the fourth slot almost by default.