It's morning and business as usual. My son has to jump into the Northern Atlantic from a ship today as part of his rig safety test. I think Melinda is a little safer than that. I expect they had a contract waiting for her in the wings last night. Yes, that's right. In case you are the one American who hasn't heard yet, Melinda got the proverbial boot by American fans last night. So here is how it went down.
I knew we were in trouble when Homer Simpson opened the show. If ever there was a man who knows how to mess things up, it's him. In fact he was wondering if it's too late to vote for Fantasia. Fortunately Ryan comes to the rescue and informs us it's Season 6 and the futures of Melinda, Jordan and Blake are what's being determined.
We will also welcome back a former son, Elliot Yamin, and listen to a popular band, Maroon 5. During the video recaps, both Melinda and Simon look scared. Have they seen the writing on the wall?
The three contestants have had a busy week. They spent a day in their home town, learned three songs and did a Ford video. Jordin also had 3 hours of school work to accomplish - busy, busy times. Jordan's trip home was filled with marching bands, cheerleaders, cake, and tearful hugs with school chums. Tens of thousands of people show up to hear her sing "I Who Have Nothing." At one point, Jordin shows the panic she is feeling when the fans are pressing around her. Blake had a great day in Bothell, Washington. His dad is an emotional wreck but Blake is having a blast. He takes the crowds in stride and turns the table by videotaping them. The best part of Melinda's day is "sweet tea" and getting to personally thank all of her supporters. A street has been named Melinda Dolittle Way in her honor, and it seems to be very appropriate when we listened to the reactions of her supporters. They obviously have a great deal of respect for this woman.
Throughout the night Ryan takes care of business. We are reminded that American Idol is looking for the best undiscovered band or group. Check Americanidol.com for details. The AI Challenge question is, "Which Idol was not in the final two in season five: a. Elliot Yamin b. Katherine McPhee c. Taylor Hicks?" They really make those questions easy! The Ford vignette shows three talented youngsters morphing into our three finalists all while singing "Everybody Wants You." We also get a glimpse of a smiling LaKisha in the audience with Brandon Rogers. It took me a while to figure out who the handsome dude was.
Our homeboy, Elliot Yamin, has changed in his physical appearance but he can still lay down a song better than most of the talent on the radio today. His new smile and look is hot. He sings "I Will Wait for You," his single from his new album. His eyes are closed for ninety percent of the song so I get the feeling he has been waiting to sing this for someone special-not for us. I miss his mom.
Maroon 5, singing "The Next One," is a boy band in limbo. If this is what America is listening to, then Blake fits. The singer uses falsetto and staccato to produce a young sound. Blake and Jordin are lip synching to it and Paula is dancing, but the audience response is rather tame. I like it a little but I can't remember the song at all today.
Ryan has done his best to add drama and to delay the moment until the last minute of the show. He first calls Jordin down and tells her she is safe. I suddenly see the writing on the wall. Facing Melinda, he finally drags out the words "Melinda is going home, Blake is in the finals."
You can hear the air going out of the audience. I feel like I have been hit between the eyes, but this is American Idol. Randy rightly says that Melinda has nothing to be ashamed of because she has consistently given her all. Paula reminds Melinda that she has already made it. Simon looks royally poisoned. He manages to congratulate the two contestants left standing and gives his commiserations to Melinda. "You are one heck of a singer." We watch Melinda's farewell video and the girls get flowers. I'm rotted...so much so that I don't know if Melinda sang us out or not. But, of course, being a professional, she did. I remember she looked lovely in a dark grey shirt with the slogan Death Cheated. She will sing again!