American Idol: Part 1 of the top 24 (spoiler alert)
I guess you've got to give Nigel Lythgoe and his American Idol team credit for being canny: why give us the milk when they can tease us into buying the cow?
I actually thought I'd missed a show when I heard Ryan Seacrest intone “tonight, one final performance” at the beginning of Wednesday's episode and then we saw contestants in the holding room waiting to learn if they 'd made the top 24.
Wait a minute: where were the performances?
Well, they weren't, unless you count the snippets we saw as contestants waited to hear their fates.
All the better to make us tune into next week's live shows and see entire songs, I guess.
One more quibble and I'll move on to the positive.
Why oh why can't we dispense with the gotcha style of delivering the news, in which the judges mislead successful contestants by using words that lead them to believe they're being let go.
It's not fooling the viewers; we can all see the yeses coming from miles away, so why torture the poor kids?
Steven Tyler at least seemed uncomfortable with the charade. "Did you have to string it out so long?" he asked Randy Jackson after Randy brought Jen Hirsh to the verge of tears waiting for her result.
On the bright side, Jennifer Lopez didn't cry this season, so there's that.
Now for the good news. There are some terrific picks among the 14 singers we've seen selected so far for the top 24. Those include Jen Hirsh, Joshua Ledet, Elise Testone, Reed Grimm, Erika Van Pelt, Heejun Han and Phil Phillips.
(Heejun as usual had the best lines of the show. "If this is a no today then I'll immediately hug Jennifer Lopez and kiss her. That's every Asian man's dream right there," he said. And when Ryan Seacrest asked him, "What are you sweating?" Heejun replied, "Mostly water." If great singing and great lines aren't enough, we learned that Heejun works with special needs kids.)
Also making the cut were Creighton Fraker, Haley Johnsen, Baylie Brown, Jessica Sanchez and Colton Dixon. I've been lukewarm on him, but I liked what I heard of his final performance of Coldplay's "Fix You."
But Brielle Von Hugel, seriously? Her final performance, of "Killing Me Softly," seemed mannered and calculated. She also seems arrogant and her mother is ridiculously annoying.
I'm scratching my head over how the judges could choose Brielle over Lauren Gray, whose "smoky tone," as Ryan put it, I adore. Lauren was sent packing with an urging to audition again next year.
"No, I'll never come back," she said. "I gave it a shot just so I could know for sure, but maybe it will happen some other way." (Voice producers, are you listening?)
I'm also not particularly moved by country singer Chelsea Sorrell.
The episode ended with apparent favouite Adam Brock in the hot seat. Adam was already in tears before anyone had hinted at his result.
"Is this your dream? Is this what you really want?" Randy asked him.
"I have to sing. It's where my joy comes from, it's how I know that God blessed me," Adam said.
Then the psych-outs began.
"We believed in you. If we didn't, you wouldn't have got this far, but we didn't think when you were singing you believed in you," Steven said.
"It's hard to say goodbye at this point in the game," said JLo.
"Our decision for you definitely is not unanimous. It is what it is. This is the moment, the moment of truth," added Randy.
And that's where things ended. My guess is there'll be a yes for Adam on Thursday's episode.
Tune in at 8 p.m. on CTV Two and look for the recap here.