‘American Idol’ Rush Week, Pt. 2: Boys on the Side
The judges conspire to send five boys home [photo: Fox]
Tuesday's "American Idol" Rush Week episode started off with 15 talented female semifinalists. But then five of those girls, including popular "X Factor" alum Jillian Jensen, never got to sing at all. The judges and producers, based on never-quite-explained/elaborated observations they apparently made during the week's dress rehearsals and earlier in the audition process, decided to ship those five hopefuls straight home.
A glance at fans' social media reactions (especially Jillian's fans' social media reactions) quickly indicated that this cutthroat new system was not popular with "Idol's" audience. Viewers weren't feeling the Rush, so to speak. And I imagine some of the show's fans were even more disgruntled on Wednesday, when Rush Week continued apace and five boys were sidelined — also without getting the chance to perform.
Those five fallen fellows were Briston Maroney, Jordan Brisbane, Casey Thrasher, Maurice Townshend, and Ethan Harris. While the first two eliminations were understandable (Briston and Jordan are just so young and green), it was a shock to see handsome single dad Casey, the guy who'd almost taken a top 30 spot away from C.J. Harris and had been aggressively pimped this season, not make the cut. Maurice, the soulful, dreadlocked music minister, could have brought a unique energy to the show. And not including the adorable "lost Osmond," Ethan? That was like kicking a puppy. A really cute puppy wearing a really cute vest. My only explanation for that baffling decision is the show's producers must still be hoping for another female winner…or they didn't want to give Season 13's other teen pretty-boys — Sam Woolf, Alex Preston, and Spencer Lloyd — any stiff competition. Because tween-baiting Ethan could've won this whole thing. (Cougar-baiting Casey probably could have, too.)
Sigh. Keith Urban tried to pep-talk the eliminated boys by pointing out that this week's guest advisors, "Idol" veterans Chris Daughtry and Adam Lambert, didn't win their respective seasons but managed to do quite all right for themselves. But it was an argument, however well-intentioned, that fell flat. Chris and Adam had the chance to sing for America's votes about a dozen times each. Briston, Jordan, Maurice, Casey, and Ethan never got to do that once. Big difference, there.