Eye On Idol (4/22/11)

The men are finally starting to pack up and leave American Idol, which has got to make the two remaining females feel a little better.

Stefano Langone, Jacob Lusk, and Haley Reinhart were Thursday’s (4/21) Bottom Three after the Post Millenium-themed performance show. Langone ended up being the latest guy to depart, after trying on his contemporary digs with Ne-Yo’s “Closer.”

It’s probably safe to say it wasn’t a huge shock. Since the Top 13 started singing March 10–seven weeks in all so far–Langone has made four trips to the Bottom Three, which is the season’s highest. Well, except for Reinhart, who has also made four trips and survived to sing another week.

I pretty frequently mention the “dreaded” opening spot on the longer performance shows early in the season, and there is interesting statistical data where that’s concerned.

In the seven weeks thus far, four of the opening slot contestants have been in the bottom three: Naima Adedapo (3/17), Casey Abrams (3/24), Jacob Lusk (4/6), and Paul McDonald (4/13). McDonald and Abrams were both sent home, though the judges revived Abrams with the season’s lone save.

On the flip side, by looking at the three weeks where the opening slot performer was not sent to the Bottom Three, it reaffirms who the season’s strongest contestants are. Country crooner Scotty McCreery has been given the opening slot twice this season, and still hasn’t been in the Bottom Three. Similarly, Lauren Alaina had an opening slot early in March and still hasn’t faced the possibility of elimination.

The only other contestant who hasn’t been in the bottom three is James Durbin, who continues to rise to every challenge with a big production and memorable performances. His take on Muse’s “Uprising” featured marching band percussion and space age costuming befitting the song’s over-the-top theatricality.

I wonder if the other contestants are secretly thinking, “Dude! You’re making us look terrible!” Because, let’s face it, he kind of is.

So Durbin, Alaina and McCreery are the likely Top 3 right now, but Abrams is enough of a wild card that he could spoil all the fun. Since his near-elimination, he hasn’t spent a turn in the Bottom Three. The performances haven’t all been winners, but he’s got serious guts. Never mind the performances, who else would dare sneak a kiss off Jennifer Lopez?

There’s only six left, so a really wild season of Idol is about to get even more so.

As a final interesting point, it might all be changing next year. Billboard reports that Idol producers are considering changing next season’s voting process to make it more fair and possibly limiting the number of times a contestant can use an instrument.

I can hear the mob chanting now, “Justice for Pia! Justice for Pia!”

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