'American Idol': Something's Rotten in the State of Idol

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OK, that was some hot chicanery on American Idol last night, was it not? That was some straight up flimflammery, a scam and a cheat and an ol' run-around. That was a scheme faker than a Jennifer Lopez song. We've been had, America. Hoodwinked and bamboozled.

I'm not talking about the joke that Idol pulled when it brought back Jimbo Durbin to scream a song at us. That was also a sham, trying to prentend as if James Durbin is a person who is making music that people want to listen to, but it's not the sham I'm talking about. I mean, it was a pretty big joke, though, wasn't it? Jimmy Durbs coming back to jiggle around on stage all over again, his hair puffed out like a sea anemone, devils on horseback thighs wrapped tight in strained pants, a weird microphone that was just a little ball clutched in his sweaty hands. Plus he was auto-tuned, wasn't he? Or like auto-screeched? The weird mic or something else was adding a kind of church organ quality to his voice that was a little silly. I mean the whole thing was unendingly silly, but the fact that this supposedly hardcore rock guy has to have his voice altered to sound more like he wants it to sound is the silliest of all things. Get it together, Durbin. After he pooped out his song he talked to Ryan for a bit and said that he was playing the Viper Room later that night, which, if River Phoenix knew about that he'd be rolling over on his sidewalk. (OK, that is a horrible, horrible joke, but it's Friday the 13th, evil things are supposed to happen.) James Durbin is ridiculous. Though, I guess it was kind of fun to have him back in the same way that it's fun to have anyone from a season or two ago back. Hi old friend! Or old enemy! How ya been?

So that was a sham! And there was another sham involving the kids all sharing some fan mail with the audience. Elise Totinos showed us some earrings that someone at the home had made and had that nice nurse Jane send into the show. They were feather earrings, feathers like from a tweety-boid. So that is nice. Evil Coltron Dixon received a big, long and involved card that was essentially a prom invite. When he opened it he was like "Whoa ho ho! Whoaaaa," but wouldn't tell us what he was reading. He said it was a "definite maybe" on the prom, he said it in this trying to be funny/laid back kinda way that was a little embarrassing, but he did not share the contents of the card. But luckily I have a friend on the inside who sent me the card last night and here's what it said: "Dear Colton, my name is Julie and I live in [redacted], CO. I was wondering if you'd like to go to my prom with me. If you do, I will totally ---- your --- with an old ------ that I found in my parents' ------- and then I'll ---- your ---- and ------ with your ----- and you can ---- all over -- ---- and then I'll ----- a ---- in -- ------ and you can ------ my ---- while I ----- a ------ in your -------. Plus my dad can drive. Will you be my date??" (Obviously we had to take out some words because this is a family site. But you get the drift.) Colton's eyes were like waa-waa-weeeee-waa, or at least they should have been. His eyes were some cold, glass, synthetic version of that, there was a falseness to his excitement, a quiet lie. Of course we know why, know the true contents of Colton's black, fearsome heart. He doesn't want to ---- that girl's ----- or ---- in her -----. But he has to pretend he does for now.

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Oh then Hollie got asked to prom in a fan letter and the guy had sent a picture and omigod it was so funny because they showed the picture and he was totally cute and the whole audience was like "OoooOOoOoOooooo" and it was hilarious that this was just some high school kid and yet everyone was going bonkers about it while Hollie giggled and blushed. Girl, go to that prom! That was a cute kid! Plus if you don't go Ryan's just going to put on his Hollie wig (he has wigs made to look like each of the top 12 contestants' hair every year, just in case) and go to that prom pretending to be you. "Yes, 'ello. My name's 'ollie, the girl from Ryan Seacrest Presents: American Idol." "Uh, it's not called that." "Well, it bloody well should be!" "You look different in person." "Um... 'ello... my name's... [takes wig off] Aw, who am I kidding. It's me, Ryan Seacrest, from American Idol. I'm sorry. I'll just go home..." "Wait, did I say go home?" "Wait, what? "Did I ask you to go home." "Well, no..." "If I want you to go home you'll know it, OK?" "Oh, OK... So... we can, we can go to the prom?" "Put that wig back on and you've got yourself a date, pretty lady." Actually, wait, Hollie don't accept his invitation. Because I'd prefer it if this thing happened. Thanks.

OK, now it is time for the real sham. You all know what I'm talking about. I'm talking about this utter fool nonsense with Jessica Sanchez "earning the least votes" and facing elimination. Supposedly the bottom three were her (bull mess), Joshua (maybe), and Elise (OK, sure, definitely). Hollie was safe, that means. Hollie who has been trundling around the bottom three for weeks now. I don't buy it. I don't buy that Jessica was in the bottom three and Phil Phillips wasn't. Certainly don't buy that. This was suspicious. Highly suspicious. And then it gets even more suspicious when you think about what happened next.

J. Sanch started her please save me sing while the crowd went boo-crazy, and then all of a sudden J.Lo and Randruh were stomping up on stage while the Tyler witch hovered on a broom over the crowd and J.Lo straight up ripped the micromophone outta Sanchy Panza's hands and said "Stop singing, stop singing, there's no way you're going home." The judges had used their save. The crowd went nuts, J.Lo preened there for a moment (or much longer than a moment, really) and Jessica just stood there sorta dumbstruck. By now everyone was hooting and shrieking and the witch was casting random spells everywhere, bolts of spell light streaking across the room and turning people into donkeys and wishing wells and the like. Ryan had piddled himself a little and his face was smeared with Colton's lipstick, his hair mussed and poking up in places. Skylar and Phil Phillips had just lit up some smokes and were puffing away and one of the lights fell from the flies and crashed onto the stage and Sven the old janitor got out some hooch and started drinking and everyone was just crazy, everyone was so so crazy right then. It was a moment. It was quite a moment. If only it wasn't so g.d. fake.

Or at least that is my conspiracy theory. We're in the top seven, so only two more weeks to use the save. Plus they're a man down because of Jermaine, so if the judges didn't save someone, they'd be lopsided til the finale so they'd have to have another week where someone didn't go home, which wouldn't make sense, so the judges had to use the thing. But they only had this week and the next to use it really. So who would they use it on? Hollie? No. A waste. Elise? Maybe a week or two ago, but not now. Plus what do they care about Elise? She's a 28-year-old grownup. She's not going to make this show any money. So they didn't want to just use the save to use the save, but they did have to use it, so how's about drumming up even more support for the girl they clearly want to win and have this whole big Jessica scare in the hopes that it will give her some proper momentum, perhaps some momentum she's been losing in the wake of Colton. Maybe this was the producers' Hail Mary pass. Colton's pretty far ahead, sure, but maybe if they just did this one crazy thing they could still end the game the way they wanted it to end?

I realize this is perhaps a little ridiculous, to theorize so intensely about American Singdump, but something was definitely off last night. Don't you think? Don't you think the whole thing was a bit suspicious? I think they were trying to lob J. Sanch past Colton. We'll see if it worked. I doubt it did. But, if Jessica really was on the bottom? Well, hm, that kinda changes things, doesn't it? Here's a crazy thing I think might could happen: Skylar Laine makes it to the top two. It's a Skylar and Colton finale and Jessica goes home like fourth or something. Jessica goes home in the Daughtry spot and Joshua makes it to third place. That'd make Phil fifth and Hollie sixth and Elise seventh, yeah? Oh I hate doing these specific predictions because I am always wrong. But there's my wild guess.

Regardless of how it all shakes out, I still think this Sanchez thing stinks to the high heavens. I don't believe it for one red second. I most certainly do not. So I'll keep sleuthing, friends. The truth is out there.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.