Thursday night, American Idol aired their 450th episode. It's amazing to think of this shows longevity and though reports are always surfacing about the drop in ratings, compared to other shows, they are still one of the most successful. As whacky and mean as the medley of judges can be, it's still the contestants and their rags to riches stories that keep us coming back for more. Idol knows this, so this season they are featuring a rotation of past contestants whose lives have been transformed since their appearance on Idol. First there was Phil Phillips, then Jessica Sanchez, then Casey Abrams and this week Katherine McPhee and Colton Dixon whose album, "A Messenger," topped the Christian Rock charts.
But the road from rags to riches is not without its bumps along the way. Just ask Lazaro Arbos who will no doubt tell you the biggest bump along his way is named Jimmy Iovine. Although Jimmy did grudgingly admit that Lazaro improved this week, he couldn't leave well enough alone, and responded to Nicki's comment about Lazaro not needing to listen to him by saying that, "Lazaro needs to listen to somebody, at least he should listen to the melody." Jimmy then predicted that Lazaro would be going home tonight. Not since Simon versus Sanjaya has an idol contestant found such a nemesis in a judge.
But Jimmy is not mean across the board, he certainly has his favorites this season and here's a quick hint: none of them are boys. The stark contrast in the talent between the boys and the girls this year almost makes the prospect of a woman winning this season less fulfilling. Kind of like when you beat your father at checkers but because of some of the foolish 'mistakes' he made throughout, suspicion that he may have let you win takes root and spoils your victory. Every time a guy takes the stage this season, that same feeling takes root. Are these really the best men who auditioned this year or are these the best men Idol execs wanted to find this season? Did they manufacture a female win this season?
Even if they did, that doesn't detract from the real talent they found in the females this year and the voters agree. Just as Jimmy predicted, every girl was sent to the safety of the stools, leaving Burnell Taylor, Lazaro Arbos, and Devin Velez in the bottom three.
But before we move on to the final results, Idol's new segment sponsored by Ford: Fiesta Movement Idol Missions was featured. It would seem that in place of raising millions of dollars for the world's impoverished, in these times of economic hardships, instead of Idol Gives back, Idol is scaling back. Yet still committed to charity they have partnered with Ford to send their Idols on charitable missions. Because the altruistic Idols drive Fiestas when on their missions, presumably the logic is that viewers will now all embark on their own missions to buy a Fiesta.
The first mission the Idols embarked on was titled, "The Gift of Song," where they went to a school and sang a few notes of Phil Phillip's, "Home," smiled for some photos and left in their Fiestas. Well, thank goodness for American Idol, now the children can all go and sing for their supper. Who needs millions of dollars? It's kind of like the old Chinese Proverb goes, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."
Back to the results. Idol host Ryan Seacrest sends Burnell and Mr. Nine Lives, Lazaro to safety. Leaving Devin to sing for his life but the judges opt not to save the bilingual crooner. Next week, the numbers will force one of the girls into the bottom three and with Lazaro appearing to be untouchable, they might just have cause to worry.