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"American Idol" Still Connects... And Serves Up Some Karmic Payback
February 19, 2009  | By David Bianculli
 

american-idol-09-winner-los.jpg"Welcome to season eight!" Ryan Seacrest keeps saying, as contestants make it from one rung to another on the American Idol elimination ladder. Last night, the first three singers to make it to the Top 12 were identified -- bringing a new level of drama, as well as competition, to the new season.

In the first week of a three-part series of elimination rounds on this top-rated Fox series, 12 wannabes were winnowed, very quickly, into three. All three, notably, had Ready-for-Prime-Time biographies.

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Alexis Grace, the perky blonde pixie who's also a 21-year-old single mom, was the first to make the cut. Michael Sarver, a hard-working 27-year-old oil-rig worker, was the second. And Danny Gokey, a 28-year-old church choir director whose wife recently, was the third.

Danny was pitted, in the final voting duel of the night, against Tatiana Del Toro, the contestant who irritated most of her fellow singers -- and, I'm guessing, much of the nation, during Hollywood Week. It was hard to decide which was worse: Her pushy superiority complex, her sense of "Idol" entitlement, or her annoying, incessant laugh.

Whatever it was, the overall package presented the 28-year-old as the recipient of a big karma payback, ready-made for live TV. The judges could well have put her through to the live round purely to set up the hubris of Wednesday's elimination show: Tatiana, called out by judge Simon Cowell as "a drama queen," having a nation watch as her dream was shattered.

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The night before, performing in the spotlight, she flashed self-satisfied smile after smile, as if to say, "This is where I belong." But her vocals weren't quite good enough -- though they were, to be fair, better than at least half of her fellow contestants. The problem is, with only three of 12 singers making the cut, and with one of those three spots guaranteed to go to a performer of the opposite sex, this round is particularly competitive, and ruthless.

Last night, Alexis and Danny earned the right to the advance. The rest was up to karma as much as talent -- and with karma as the tiebreaker, the nice guy from Texas moved on, and the ice queen from Puerto Rico did not.

But after the next six finalists are selected by viewer vote, three spots will remain for judges to fill with wild-card reprieves. Perhaps we haven't yet seen the last of Tatiana Del Toro.

Welcome to season eight.

 

1 Comments

 

Patrick said:

Ugh. When will Idol be over? Aren't people bored of it yet?

Comment posted on February 19, 2009 12:36 PM
 
 
 
 
 
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