American Idol recap: A perfunctory elimination

On Thursday night, American Idol was set to go from 9 to 8 contestants in a record 30 minutes! Did they do it or did the judges use their save?

Michael Becker/Fox/AP
American Idol judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, and Harry Connick, Jr. in Los Angeles, March 19, 2014.

Each of you likely shares in my love/hate relationship with American Idol; otherwise you wouldn't be reading recaps laced with the frustration that only a long-time fan of a flawed but fabulous show can understand and appreciate. So, you are likely not surprised to learn that, to me, a thirty-minute elimination show is like something dreams are made of. Sure, there have been rumors that someday viewers would be blessed with this efficient and expedient format but who ever actually believed it?

Unfortunately, this seemingly benevolent bestowal upon viewers might have a dark side. With Idol ratings continuing their free fall, advertisers are now paying 10% less for their 30-second slots than they were just one year ago. Is this sudden appreciation for expediency really just FOX's attempt to find the next ratings juggernaut? Is this why the pilot of "Surviving Jack" is using the slot once reserved for Idol's second half?

But, since change get's harder with age, the idea of an end to American Idol is far more disquieting now than it was way back in June of 2002, a mere six days before my 26th birthday. So let us not dwell on the inevitable, let us savor our love/hate relationship with Idol right up until her bitter end. With that being said, a recap of their 30-minute results show is in order.

Since Idol was changing their duration, they decided to throw caution to the wind and switch up their results format as well. So after hearing mentor Randy Jackson announce his pick for top three on Wednesday night - Malaya Watson, Caleb Johnson, and Jena Irene - Ryan Seacrest allowed the big screen to announce who was safe Thursday. It started with Jena and Malaya and then after a brief interruption with a performance by Janelle Monae, it went on to include everyone except C.J. Harris, Majesty Rose and, inexplicably, Sam Woolfe.

With hardly any pomp and circumstance, Ryan foregoing his typical suspense routine announced that Majesty Rose would be singing for the save. A proclamation that seemed to send poor Majesty into a twisted tailspin of despair and defiance. Her performance was more animated now that she felt she had nothing to lose, but her achilles heel, pitch problems, and the horrible song choice of "Happy" by Pharrell didn't do her any favors.

Keith Urban explained that by the narrowest of margins this season, they opted not to use the save. To suggest that it was the narrowest of margins, has to mean that for the first time, only one judge disagreed with the decision to use the save. It seems that like me with my bottom three predictions, the judges just can't seem to do better than 66%.

Tune in next week to see the remaining eight battle it out for our votes.  

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