American Idol: No place for Skylar Laine in the Top 4

American Idol: Skylar Laine, the last country singer in the American Idol competition, was sent home Thursday night.

Michael Becker / AP Photo/Fox
Skylar Laine performs on American Idol, in Los Angeles, Calif. On Thursday night's results show, Skylar Laine was eliminated from the competition, finishing in fifth-place.

For viewers, Thursday night's episode of American Idol was filled with promise since both Coldplay and Carrie Underwood  – American Idol royalty – were slated to perform. But for the contestants, Thursday brought a night filled not with promise but with dread. Now, imagine those words in Lucida Grand font, set to dramatic music with slow-motion, blurred-edge images of the contestants in the background. Yes, it's totally corny.  Maybe someone from Idol production will stumble across this article and see the error of their ways.  

But the excitement about the show was not just a prop in the intro paragraph, Coldplay on American Idol is just another indicator of how far the show has come in its eleven seasons.  Sure, having ex-Idols and musicians who saw their heydays fall by the wayside decades ago are easy to book.  But artists like Coldplay, Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga - whether you love them or hate them - are all indications of Idol's success and clout in the industry.

Speaking of clout in the industry, let's fast forward to Joshua Ledet being deemed safe (don't you just love it when they annihilate your predictions in the first five minutes of the show?) and the replay of Jennifer Lopez urging Jimmy Iovine not to screw up Joshua's recording career.  Is it not crystal clear to the judges and producers of Idol that America takes umbrage when the judges promote their favorites in such blatant, conspicuous ways? Apparently not, since not only did they show Jennifer playing "teacher-with-a-pet" again, but then Jimmy follows up with his solemn vow to do everything in his and Interscope's power to make Joshua a star.  

Wow.  

Remind us again why we vote at all?  Why don't the judges, American Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe and Jimmy just form a club that gets together once a week to determine which aspiring singer they want to endorse?

It was hard to stay angry with Jimmy for long though. When he offered his take on Jessica Sanchez's performance of "Proud Mary,"  it was as if he was taking the words right from my page and announcing them for the world to hear.  Yes! Jessica's performance was disconcerting.  And no, Jennifer, it isn't just "middle-America," who finds teenage girls being sexualized on television as disturbing.  

Moving on.

The performances of the evening canceled each other out. Coldplay was decent but something was going on with Carrie Underwood. She looked amazing in her white, billowy, Grecian gown but her vocals on "Blown Away," were so sharp they were slicing through my eardrums. It was obvious when she chatted briefly with Ryan Seacrest after her performance, that she must be under the weather. That definitely was not the voice that helped her outlast every other contestant to be crowned American Idol almost seven years ago to this day.

We then learned that Phillip Phillips and Jessica were one week closer to experiencing the same fate, as they were both announced as safe. That left us with ng Hollie Cavanagh and Skylar Laine in the bottom two. Seeing Hollie in the bottom two was not surprising, since she's basically a fixture in the bottom week after week. But it was disappointing (the fact that I didn't include her in my bottom three predictions, only enhanced my disappointment.) When Ryan announced Hollie was safe and Skylar's journey had come to an end, the girls embraced one another fiercely before Skylar performed one last time on the American Idol stage. And did she ever perform! So many times, the swan song is a half-hearted, lame duck performance characterized by choked back tears or some other prevailing emotion.  But Skylar performed "Gunpowder and Lead," with such professionalism, it was as if the viewer were watching her in concert.

This season won't be the same without our "Little-Reba."  

Let's hope that Jimmy can take a break from planning Joshua's world domination and help Skylar do what she was born to do - perform.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.