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Idol Worship

Yes, the Snell family did vote after American Idol tonight. The votes? George Huff, Jon Peter Lewis (twice), Diana Degarmo, Amy Adams, John Stevens, and Jasmine Trias. I am responsible for a couple of those votes....

In any event, here's how I'd project the final elimination places for the top 12, once all is said and done:

12. Leah LaBelle, 11. Matthew Rogers, 10. Jennifer Hudson, 9. Amy Adams, 8. Camile Velasco, 7. Diana Degarmo, 6. John Stevens, 5. Jasmine Trias, 4. George Huff, 3. La Toya London, 2. Jon Peter Lewis, 1. Fantasia Barrino.

That said, I think tonight clearly we found a first tier of talent (Fantasia, La Toya, Diana, Jennifer, Jasmine), a second tier of singers-with-personality (George, Pen Boy, John, Amy, Camile), and two people who are hopelessly outclassed (Leah and Matt).

All in all, tonight's show was indeed the best group of 12 in American Idol history. Nobody embarrassed themselves, really -- and usually there are 3 or 4 of those at this stage. I think Leah's going home, because she did the worst and because the women outnumber the men by so much (giving Rose Bowl Rogers a reprieve), but at this stage nothing would surprise me. I think Jennifer Hudson, who is clearly one of the best singers, is in danger because there are two other fabulous and soulful black women who are better than her, and therefore she might find herself without a strong enough following.

Anyway, that's a pick involving my theory of Idol voting tending to pick individuals to represent diverse constituencies, which would mean that women are more likely to go than men right now, and that the weakest member of a group of similar performers will always be a target.

And that's all part of the beauty of American Idol. Yes, it is just a damned popularity contest. That's the whole point. And sometimes that means an adorable in-over-his-head 16-year-old crooner advances when he shouldn't, and sometimes it means that a real talent (hello, Tamyra) gets booted while a non-threatening pretty boy (Justin Guarini!) sticks around.

It's like high school student government, with singing. Brilliant!


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