April 25, 2007

"American Idol" -- the "most shocking" result ever.

It's a two hour show tonight, but it's helping poor people, if you call up and make a donation. There are a lot of extra celebrities to keep you entertained... and to tell you to call up. But they also tantalize us with the news -- delivered by Ryan Seacrest -- that tonight's results are the "most shocking" ever, in all the seasons of the show. So what could that be? More shocking than Tamyra Gray going out in fourth place? Here's what I'm guessing, and I'm going to be pissed if it's true. I think they are going to say it was somehow a tie and no one is leaving tonight. Maybe two will go next week. Or that two are leaving tonight. Because I don't see how any one person leaving could be the most shocking thing ever. But they may think it is so if the loser tonight is Melinda Doolittle. And that definitely could happen. Checking "DialIdol," I know everyone is really close.

As for the charity event, how painful to see the incredibly rich Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell commiserating with a 12-year-old African boy who breaks down in tears over his dead parents. They present him as a hero for being the father of the house in a hovel in a shantytown the size of Central Park with over a million people, many of them parentless children. They are using the boy to encourage the audience to give money, but it just seems so crazy to me that the two millionaires won't just hand the boy the amount of money it would take to rescue him and his sister. Maybe they did when the cameras were gone.

MORE: But Melinda is safe. And so is Blake (my favorite). And Phil (AKA Bat Boy). And LaKisha. So it's either Chris or Jordin. But the only shocking result could be: Jordin!

Anyway, there are two weird pairings. We see Kelly Clarkson and Jeff Beck. Jeff Beck! Jeff Beck! Kelly is brilliant, as expected, but: Jeff Beck! What can I say? I'm very touched to see Jeff Beck. Then we get an Elvis impersonator and Celine Dion. Whatever.

YET MORE: Oh, no, it's Madonna, asking us to save a life by giving money. I want to know how much she gave. Because this is a PR opportunity for her. She's showing she cares. But she's fabulously rich. How much did she give?

AND: Oh, I predicted it! I said:
I think they are going to say it was somehow a tie and no one is leaving tonight. Maybe two will go next week.
That's essentially what they did. They don't proclaim a tie. I think they indicate that the lowest vote-getter was Jordin. And, changing the rules midstream -- I'm pissed! -- they say they can't send anyone home on "charity night," but they'll accumulate the votes from this week and next week and send two home next week.

EVEN MORE: Some good points are raised in the comments, so let me respond here.

I'm not impressed that they raised $30 million. There were 70 million votes Tuesday night, and how much did they invest putting the show together? How much ad money did they earn with this 2 hour display of nonentertainment. And all those celebrities participating? Yeah, Ellen gave $100,000, but did the other celebs cought up an equivalent portion of their great wealth?

It was a big PR thing, raising a paltry amount of money for all the parading of human suffering. And only $5 million from the corporate sponsors, purportedly based on the number of phoned in votes but capped at $5 million? I am not impressed by this stunt, which was all about the "American Idol" image. Better to give the money quietly, out of the vast sums they make on the show.

I'm told that really was Elvis in some some computer-generated gimmickry. Yawn. He wasn't too wonderful. I guess I averted my eyes. I paid little attention to any of the musical performances, except Jeff Beck.

As to the non-results. I can see that Ryan's statement that he was going to announce things randomly suggests that Chris and Jordin were not the actual bottom two. But what a stupid ordeal to put them through. Or did they know all along? That's even lamer. We were tricked into watching that gruesome PR.

It was really bad to have no results, and I definitely suspect them of saving someone they didn't want to lose. I'll bet if Phil or LaKisha had been last he/she would have gone.


Unknown said...

It reminds me of the old Sam Kinison stand up routine about hunger in Africa - where the director of the commercial shouts "DON'T FEED HIM YET! GET THAT SANDWICH OUT OF HERE IT DOESN'T WORK UNLESS HE LOOKS HUNGRY!"

Revenant said...

If they handed him money he'd just get it taken away once the cameras left.

Brooke said...

Ok, it was kind of nice seeing Elvis again. That is worth you people calling up and sending LOTS of money.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

That was no impersonator. It was The King.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Holy crap! If it's Jordin, you've gotta' hear that song you hate AGAIN.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

I'm schlocked, schlocked I tell you! What a crap-tacular thing to do tonight! Imagine there're no losers. It's charity night...

Ann Althouse said...

I totally predicted it. You saw it in real time.

Brooke said...

Then we get an Elvis impersonator and Celine Dion. Whatever.

That was no Elvis impersonator... that was Elvis, baby!

John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dad said...


EnigmatiCore said...


Methinks you need to switch to decaf and avoid Howard Dean speeches.

Ann, a few quick thoughts.
1) Agree with you that a 'tie' or a 'no decision...yet' result is lame-o and tacky and altogether bad.

2) I don't think they tipped any hands about Jordin being the low vote getter. They set it up to look like she and Chris were the bottom two, but I now present 3 pieces of evidence that there was no bottom three, two or one revealed:

A) At no time did Seacrest say that Jordin, Lekisha, and Chris were the bottom three. After Lekisha was named safe, he did not say that Chris and Jordin were the bottom two. After he said Chris was safe, he did not say Jordin was going home.

B) At the start of giving the results, he said he would be giving them in random order not related to the order of the results. Then the first three he named were safe. Then the fourth. Then the fifth. That could happen by random chance, but not likely.

C) The ending song was clearly designed with solo parts for all of them. It would not have fit to have the loser be announced and then have the other five sing, with the other's part missing. This tips to me that it was planned to be a no-decision, and parts A and B above just are signs that fit with this decision.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

At least "The Amazing Race" announces in advance that there will be a few non-elimination legs.

Laura Reynolds said...

I agree about Kelly Clarkson and Jeff Beck, very nice.

talkleft said...

Ellen DeGeneres announced she was giving $100k of her own money.

They raised $30 million plus tonight that will go to these poor kids -- and poor kids at home.

How is that not just a win-win all the way around?

ShadowFox said...


You know you've been paying this show too much attention when you can predict what they consider "shocking".

Maxine Weiss said...

Charity fraud. You really think the donations are going to go where they're supposed to go.

Red Cross. Red Cross. Red Cross.

The George Clooney 911 charity debacle....money down a sinkhole.

But it sounds good, like Chris was saying yesterday. It's good PR. Someone's laughing all the way to the bank.

You really think AI as a charity has oversight, transparency, and auditing like traditional charities, who still engage in fraud, graft, embezzlement, and self dealing? Pipe dream.

Charity is rolling up your sleeves and going out and actually "doing". It's not writing a check.

Peace, Maxine

Unknown said...


I. Thanks for the knee-jerk defense of Althouse!
.....A. Did you even read Paulina's post?
..........1. Truly, your insult (or whatever) was that generic and irrelevant. Howard Dean speeches? I guess that's the candidate whose platform is all about the rights of American Idol contestants?
..........2. Unless she's a Howard Dean supporter because she insulted Althouse? Enigmaticore, I'm sorry, but Althouse deserves to be insulted now and again, and I think anyone with a functioning mind would agree. I would estimate that there are more of those than Howard Dean supporters, but then again I'm an idealist.
.....B. Also, you're a hypocrite.
.........1. Althouse's post was pretty goddamn manic to start with. She's so pissed that American Idol, a show that she allegedly hates, broke some sort of unwritten reality show code of honor, that she needs to whine about it on her blog?
..........2. So tell her to switch to decaf. Oh, but I forgot, that might prevent her from taking culturally evocative pictures of coffeehouse tabletops!
.....A. I win!
.....B. Also you're fat

Maxine, I completely agree with that last statement. So, roll up your sleeves and enjoy your time in Africa! Try not to come back!

Maxine Weiss said...

No need to go to Africa.

Remember Ann's comment yesterday, about Parenting, Blogging and Teaching.....ie---Charity begins at home!

Mark my words. I'll bet you any amount (I don't gamble) that money is never going to find its way to needy children. Gold-plated toilets. Designer offices. Enriching someone else's coffers---that's where "Charity" money always goes to.

Believe what you want. Money down a primrose path.

Peace, maxine

Michael said...

Mad props to the computer technicians that did the Elvis thing. Amazing, simply amazing.

As someone who was born after Elvis died, it was great to see him.

John Stodder said...

American Idol sounds like a really dumb show, even when smart people like you guys are talking about.

I didn't hear Jeff Beck perform with Kelly Clarkson, but the mind reels with the possibilities this opens up.

Jimmy Page, doing "Stairway to Heaven" with Taylor Hicks?

Van Halen's new lead singer...Ruben Studdard?

Ray Davies in a duet version of "Sunny Afternoon," with Carrie Underwood?

And, in a reenactment of the "Live Peace in Toronto" concert, Jennifer Hudson doing "Money (That's What I Want)" backed by Klaus Voorman, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton and Yoko Ono?

Sorry, I'm just an old poop about this show.

Maxine Weiss said...

Off Topic:

Rosie was fired. Trust me, it's a glorified termination. Sponsors trumps ratings. Why? Because Daytime TV is built on Sponsorship. If Proctor & Gamble, or Colgate-Palmolive, or Tide is threatening to pull out of your shows....you don't even have a Daytime TV anymore.

And, it wouldn't have been just The View....it's the whole abc Daytime Lineup, so you'd have a few ads pulled from General Hospital and All My Children too.

No way was ABC going to put their whole Daytime lineup on the line, ratings or no ratings.

Bottom Line: Daytime TV is all about sponsorship. Selling soap. No way on this planet would the network sacrifice that to keep give some shrill, obese Communist (Rosie) a continuing platform.

Love, Maxine

PatCA said...

I found the show completely tasteless. Dying Africans! Dead rock icons! Interspersed with voting results for a frivolous talent show? Yuck. Should have been two separate shows, at least.

In a Maxine-like vein, I note cynically they didn't mention the actual cause of malaria's comeback--pulling DDT off the market by the last generation of do-gooders. Hey, let's try nets and see if fewer of them die!

Moanique said...

After the finish of Clarkson's song, Jeff Beck takes off his guitar, sets it on the floor in front of his amplifier and just stands there for a few seconds looking marginally shy while the audience applauds. Then he sort of awkwardly sticks out his hand to shake hands with Kelly before she moves in for a warm and heartfelt hug.

It was a lovely, touching moment and probably the most unscripted event of a long and really overbearing evening (especially given the ending).

I'm glad they raised a lot of money and I hope it does some good but the self-congratulatory air was more-than-mildly suffocating.

michael farris said...

I would say that with this episode AI jumped the shark, but the expression 'jumped the shark' ... you know ...

Two interpretations:

AI is proudly joining the ranks of the openly fixed, like professional wrestling.

AI has resorted to the old Indonesian political tactic of 'guided' democracy.

EnigmatiCore said...

"I win"

Bosox, that's not bloody likely. You guys used up your win quota in 2004 and now have about another 80 years to wait before you get to again.

Ann Althouse said...

bosox: What's your problem? Anyway, I deleted Paulina's nastiness so now no one can read it. Sorry to hang your post out to dry. People who are so prissy they can't let others talk about a trashy TV show are pathetic. What that has to do with the Democratic party, I don't know, but it's not helping them.

Justin said...

I interpret the (non)results as showing that Jordin had the most votes. Pretending to eliminate the top contestant would be the most "shocking" results the AI producers could come up with. I have no reason to believe Seacrest was telling the truth when he said the contestants were called out in random order.

This episode was the worst I've seen (I just started watching this season). I watch the results shows for results ... and maybe a good performance by a professional. Clarkson and Beck were good. So was Elvis. But I had to fast-forward way too much just to find out they were screwing with me. Bastards.

George M. Spencer said...

I saw 30 seconds of the show, enough to see some white kid kneeling over a dying black African woman in a hovel. Disgusting exploitation.

But wait....there's worse...consider Oprah's new special episode in which she makes DYING WISHES come true.


Says the great lady's website...We are looking for people who have a dying wish—something they have always wanted to experience but never did. Before it's too late, please tell us what you or your loved one wants to do, see, or where they want to go.

If you have an amazing story of someone who has a last wish, we want to hear all about them!
Who are they?
What is their wish?
Why do they deserve to have it granted?

If you live within 100 miles of New York City, we want to hear from you!

Please only respond if you're willing to appear on television.

Laura Reynolds said...

I don't think the groveling over poor and sick people in Africa on AI last night was any worse that what goes in other forms all the time. Oprah has made a career out of doing it and I would hate to think anyone is cynical just because it involved white people. If you don't like the show you didn't need last night for a reason.

I didn't care for the vote manipulation but we waste so much money in this country that if 10s of miilions of dollars are raised that otherwise would not have been, I think that's ok. It was voluntary!

mikeski said...

That "Staying Alive" was horrible. A bunch of self-aggrandizing celebs self-consciously dancing around to show us how un-self-conscious they are.

I figure that, after the cameras stopped, Madonna stood up, looked around at the kids with her and pointed, saying "I'll take that one, that one and that one, but not that one."

Ann Althouse said...

Re "Staying Alive" -- it was also awful because they kept showing us real, suffering people who actually were struggling to stay alive.

bearbee said...

Don't watch AI but did see the Elvis thing on youtube. Technology is called rotoscoping. Here is Duet Impossible with a 1960's Lulu and a current British group. Watch the ending.