Every season of "Idol" has a controversial contestant whose cockroach-like tenacity and inexplicable ability to outlast more talented singers stirs the outrage of the "Idol"-viewing public. For instance, Season 3 had John Stevens, Season 7 had Kristy Lee Cook…and of course, who could ever forget Season 6's Sanjaya Malakar? And Season 12 had Lazaro Arbos, who practically made those former "Idol" villains seem like Adam Lambert. But please note my use of the past-tense word, "had." Because after outstaying his welcome for several weeks and gradually transforming from America's sweetheart to "American Idol's" punching bag, Lazaro finally went home in sixth place this Thursday.
So now, in an unprecedented and historical (or herstorical) "Idol" development, the top five are ALL FEMALE. Finally the show's honchos got that "girls' season" they'd been wanting for years. And now it's a given that Season 12's champ will be a girl, the first female "Idol" winner since 2007--accomplishing what poor Jessica Sanchez, Lauren Alaina, and Crystal Bowersox could not. How fitting that this all went down on a night when the most awesome "Idol" girl ever, Kelly Clarkson, performed on the results show and was as adorable as ever.
But which of these five remaining girls will be the one to follow in Kelly's footsteps--Candice Glover, Kree Harrison, Angie Miller, Amber Holcomb, or Janelle Arthur? It could be any of them--even Amber, despite the fact that she was in the bottom two this week--but I'd like to see it all come down to Candice and Kree. And since Candice and Kree comprised the top two this week, I may very well get my wish.
But the season finale is still a few weeks off. Back to this week's results. Really, no one seemed upset about this Thursday's elimination, not even Lazaro himself. If anything, Lazaro seemed relieved to no longer have to face the wrath of the judges, of "Idol" mentor Jimmy Iovine, of Interweb trolls, and maybe even of his fellow contestants. At the start of the Thursday results show that concluded with Lazaro's elimination, Jimmy said, "If I had to chart Lazaro this week, I'd put him 10th," as he assessed the previous night's performances (including Lazaro's sleepy "Close To You," which he likened to an "Ambien milkshake"). "There's only six people left," an off-camera voice then helpfully pointed out, to which Jimmy answered, "Yeah, I know." Oh, snap.
Lazaro chuckled at Jimmy's harsh remarks, saying he found them genuinely funny…but he might have been the only person amused by this entire situation. Many people had been displeased for weeks that Lazaro was still around--apparently even some of this season's contestants felt this way, if a glance at Twitter is anything to go by. Curtis Finch Jr., who went home in 10th place a few weeks ago, shadily tweeted his outrage this past Wednesday night, after Lazaro flubbed "Close To You." Also this week, Angie Miller committed an epic social media fail by publicly favoriting tweets from fans crying out for Lazaro's elimination. When last week's seventh-place castoff, Burnell Taylor, posted a goodbye tweet, he tagged all of the top six except for Lazaro. And then this Thursday, within seconds of Ryan Seacrest's announcement that Lazaro had received the fewest votes, Burnell tweeted again: "GOD IS GOOD."
I assume Burnell's capslocked delight mostly had to do with the fact that his new showmance girlfriend, fellow finalist Amber, was safe after being in the bottom two--but it still seemed like he was throwing some shade at Lazaro. Man, don't these kids realize they have to go on tour with Lazaro this summer? All this Twitter bittnerness is going to make for some mighty awkward cross-country bus rides…
Anyway, recently the "Idol" producers and judges had also seemed less than thrilled that Lazaro had made it this far…but really, they were as much to blame as the people who kept voting for Lazaro. The producers and judges were the ones who blatantly pimped his sad stuttering backstory to draw in emotionally invested viewers, then advanced him to the top 20 so that those sympathetic viewers could vote for him…and then went ludicrously easy on him week after week, praising his "bravery" and "courage" while conveniently overlooking the type of subpar vocals that would've gotten other contestants booted on day one of Hollywood Week. Only in the past couple weeks did the judges start to critique Lazaro with an Iovine-esque level of brutal honesty, but it appeared that their turnaround might be too late--that this underdog contestant's fanbase had grown too strong, and that he might actually win this show. But America finally listened to Jimmy and the increasingly peeved judges, and after this week's 34 million votes were counted, America sent Lazaro home.
So next Wednesday, the five girls will compete, and there will be no Judges' Save. [Editor's note: Fox has confirmed that actually, the Save can be used int hew top five week.] It was obvious that the panel was holding on to the Save, in an in-case-of-emergency-break-glass-type manner, preparing for a time when and if Lazaro outlasted any of the girls. But now Lazaro is out of the picture--and so is the Save, since the judges only had until the top five to use it or lose it. So next week, it'll be every woman for herself. See you then.