Eye On Idol (5/13/11)

Well, that was a surprise, wasn’t it?

I feel confident saying that very few people saw last night’s (5/12) American Idol elimination of James Durbin coming. Especially not James. He gave typically splendid performances of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” and Leiber/Stoller’s “Love Potion No. 9” on Wednesday (5/11) that were roundly praised by the judges, adding to his incredible season-long momentum.

In fact, he was the only one of the remaining four this week who hadn’t been in the bottom vote-getters a single time. I figured he would sail right on to the finale, scoop up a record deal regardless if he won or lost and carve out a decent career playing his endearing brand of pop metal. And maybe he still will–he’ll just get to do it a little sooner than expected.

But that’s been one of the exciting things about this season of Idol: it’s anything but predictable. People who I figured would last deep into the competition have exited very early (Pia Toscano), and people who I swore would be toast early on have proven themselves to be worthy competitors (Hayley Reinhart).

That means the final three are Hayley, Scotty McCreery, and Lauren Alaina, which all but guarantees a country singer the win.

Follow me on this one: both Scotty and Lauren are undoubtedly Nashville-bound after the show. There’s the possibility that we end up with an all-country finale, and I’ll hazard a guess that Scotty would come out victorious in that matchup. Either way, it’s a win for Nashville. Maybe we even get a feisty “Jackson” style duet out of the deal.

But here’s the more likely reality show scenario. There’s a good chance Scotty and Lauren are currently splitting the country vote, which actually might give Hayley the edge to beat one of them and get into the finale. At which point all the country voters will put their differences aside and rally around whoever is left, completely obliterating Hayley.

In theory, anyway. There’s still a chance I may have to eat my words two weeks from now.

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