Regular "American Idol" viewers--and yes, there are still some out there--know that the much-ballyhooed Judges' Save was kept around all season, in an in-case-of-emergency-break-glass, backup-plan sort of way, to ensure that none of this season's favored female contestants went home before the boys. Or at least not before Lazaro Arbos. But eventually the Judges' Save expired, unused this season (an "Idol" first), leaving producers with a whole extra week to fill before the May 15-16 finale.
So, what to do with that bonus week? Run a "Best of Adam Lambert" clip show? Air a "Where Are They Now?" special hosted by Brian Dunkleman and Kara DioGuardi? Host a PPV wrestling match between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, to raise funds to appease (probably under-served) advertisers? All of these might've been good ratings-boosters, but no. Instead, producers decided they will DO THE TOP FOUR SHOW ALL OVER AGAIN.
Yep, that's right. No one went home on "Idol" this Thursday. Host Ryan Seacrest did reveal the week's bottom two: Amber Holcomb, who was probably there because the judges' distastefully aggressive pimping of her as the Second Coming of Beyoncé backfired, and Candice Glover, because she was unjustly sabotaged by rude critiques that labeled her "old-fashioned" and a "church girl." Ryan never revealed which of these two girls would have gone home under normal circumstances, but that didn't matter. Both of them were safe, without even having to sing for their lives.
However, both Amber and Candice will go into next Wednesday's top four redux showdown at a disadvantage, because the 38 million votes tallied this week--with more of those votes going to Angie Miller and Kree Harrison, obviously--will carry over to next week's vote total. So they better bring it.
Anyway, it took until the final six minutes of Thursday's episode to find out that this week had basically been a wash. The rest of the "results" show was padded out with performances by two alums from the days when boys ruled the "Idol" roost: Stefano Langone, being as cheesy as I remembered, and Lee DeWyze, being way more awesome and way more Mumfordian than I remembered. (Though I still missed Lee's old bagpipe-playing sidekick.)
But the most adorable and feelgood moment of the night--and one of the most genuine moments of the entire season--came when Candice's crush, Drake, surprised her to thank her for covering his song "Find Your Love" this week. The usually reserved Candice totally lost all composure and fangirled like a Directioner, a Belieber, etc. And I was thrilled for her. After the raw deal she got this week--overly harsh critiques, her rightful stage time unfairly usurped by Jimmy Iovine, an unjustified showing in the bottom two--Candice deserved a little pick-me-up.
So next week, all four contestants will return to the "Idol" stage for a "Then and Now" theme, each performing one Great American Songbook standard and (here's a novel idea for "Idol") one song actually from this year. Will we see the same top two and bottom two next week? Or will Amber and Candice's worried fanbases rally and SuperVote in earnest, thus changing the game? We shall see. Until then, Parker out.