American Idol 2, April 9 - Corey Clark: The Aftermathby Sting7 -- 04/10/2003
You would think that the business of expelling one contestant would be an open and shut kind of situation. You done wrong, you are out. For Frenchie and Jaered, no real damage was done. In fact, it got lots of water cooler buzz. Fox doesn't mind that. Corey Clark's dismissal was so deep in the process, it was bound to cause ripples that would last long after he was on the plane home. You would think Fox would know that. You would think.
Ryan welcomes us to American Idol, the results show. He tells us 21 million votes were counted last night! (And it was then that I got a strange niggling in my stomach.)
Intro the judges, you know them. People in Chinese Taipei know them. Intro the contestants, where Ryan commits a personal foul, "What would a show be without real talent? It would be shorter and called Nashville Star!" Being one who covers Nashville Star for this very website, I can tell you that this is completely untrue (and before the revolt starts, I should point out that Nashville Star has taken some subtle jabs at Idol, but they never named names. I always thought it was silly that they were basically promoting a competitor). And, yes, there is exceptional talent on Nashville Star as well. Though the differences and similarities are awfully compelling, we'll have to sit down and talk about that soon.
The contestants sing Lionel Richie's song, "All Night Long," which I was never all that crazy about, but I was wearing eyeliner like Duran Duran back then! What in the world is Clay all up in Carmen's face for? The song is over, and I'm glad this only a half-hour show.
Ryan recaps last night, which you can read all about right here.
Out comes the reigning American Idol, Kelly Clarkson, performing "Miss Independent" from her album Thankful, set to "drop" (see, I know all the lingo!) next Tuesday, April 15. To read more about it, click here. Kelly has choreography, background dancers, a hot guitar-driven hook and sings like her life depended on it! This is not "A Moment Like This"! You can listen to this song without being in disguise! The hair... uh... Kelly looks like she lost a fight at Supercuts, but that's okay! She showed clearly why she's wearing the crown. Kelly squeals, "oh my god!" as she receives her standing ovation, like she's still surprised people like her singing. I miss her.
Hey, there's Tamyra Gray with a faint smile on her face. I wonder what's running through her pretty head? "It should have been me"?
All this, and we're now 24 minutes into the program! What, Fox can't find a way to fill an hour, but they have too much for a half-hour program? ABC, you need the help, please take this show!
The bottom three vote-getters are to be revealed. Ryan shows he went through the Evelyn Wood speed reading course and blazes through the recaps of the judges critiques, some I think he made up.
Remember, due to Corey Clark's exit to the courtroom, last week's voting results are added to the voting results of this week. Going into last night, the bottom three were Kimberley Locke, Trenyce, and Carmen Rasmusen. Based on this, I predicted the bottom three would be Kimberly Caldwell, Carmen Rasmusen, and Josh Gracin. And, I predicted Carmen would be sent home to study her craft. Let's see:
Trenyce - is safe! She looks shocked! (YES!!!!)
Kimberley Locke - is in the bottom three, again. (Those crafty folks at Fox put Trenyce and Kimberley next to each other in the usual, good seat/hot seat spot!)
Ruben Studdard, safe. Of course.
Joshua Gracin is safe. (Correction: The Marine is safe!)
Kimberly Caldwell is in the bottom three. Deservedly so.
Clay Aiken is safe. Please, the mountains would crumble to the sea....
That leaves Rickey and Carmen. Carmen, go ahead and motion for make-up to freshen your lip gloss during the commercial break because Rickey was excellent last night, all four judges agreed. What, no commercial?
Rickey Smith - is in the bottom three!
Carmen Rasmusen - is safe! Whoa, whoa, whoa --
Suddenly, Ruben is on a couch, while Carmen is in a studio, practicing cage dancing. What's this wavey video thing? Ruben is in a tux, singing "Get Out Of My Dreams, Get In To My Car" (ugh!) to a ball-gown clad Carmen! The horror! Maybe if he were singing, "Hit The Road Jack"... Not surprisingly, the "car" in question is a Ford.
So, there stands Kimberley, Kimberly, and Rickey. Ryan points out that all of them have been in this hot spot before. Kimberley Locke is buying a condo there. One of them is safe... Kimberley Locke! Kimberley is greeted with hugs from Trenyce and Carmen, who still have the horror fresh in their pretty minds.
One of them have to go. Based on the last two weeks, it has to Kimberly, who never got past "pretty good." Rickey blew up in front of Earth Wind and Fire's Verdine White and Lionel Richie, singing their own songs!
Eliminated Idol number five is... Rickey Smith.
You heard me.
We get a curiously packaged goodbye type video from Rickey. Rickey's family, especially his little sister, have tears in their eyes. Trenyce does too (some producer pops in with a tacky zoom lens cut-in on Trenyce, so we can see her bawl up close). Before we can adjust to this shock, the show is over. Ryan's waving goodbye.
Rickey should send a dozen black roses to Corey. Why am I blaming Corey? Because, last week, Kimberley, Carmen, and Trenyce - and their fans - knew they were in the bottom three. No one was eliminated. You can be sure that Trenyce's and Carmen's fans were burning up the phone lines (they were completely clear of the bottom three this week!). A friend of mine tried calling Trenyce's number for the whole two-hour allotted time and couldn't get through once. She didn't care about Carmen. This gave those three ladies something of an advantage.
While the fans of Kimberley, Carmen, and Trenyce were working overtime, Rickey's fans didn't see the urgency and he fell victim. Why did all of this happen? Corey Clark. Fox shares some blame for this. Doing a results show with no results was unfair to middling contestants. Ruben and Clay will be in the final three, no doubt. The others are still trying to survive. Fox could have just as well done a show without the results drama since they knew no one was being eliminated. I think a show as a "report card" from the three judges, spelling out what they like and don't like and what they want to see from each contestant, would have been more interesting than leading us to water and letting us thirst!
Rickey has charmed America, and I'm sure he will be signed by someone. Simon seemed only lukewarm toward him, unlike the love he heaped on Kelly and Tamyra last year. Good luck to him.
The ultimate moral of this story is, do not sleep. No the show is not fixed. Rickey didn't get as many votes. There are reasons why that don't all point to his performances. That is the sad thing. (This is discussed in more detail by David Bloomberg in his "Why Rickey Lost" column on Foxes On Idol.)
Sting7 can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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