The “American Idol” judging panel pulled out its emergency “judges’ save” card Thursday night, rescuing the youngest “Idol” contestant, Jessica Sanchez, from elimination. Randy Jackson didn’t confuse his dismay with the results of the viewer vote before the rest of the judges’ panel joined in to save the young singer, Lisa de Moraes of TV Column notes:
Randy, the senior statesman of “American Idol,” is solemn. “I’ve never seen this happen. This is a ridiculous Bottom 3, America! I’ve never said this: They got it wrong tonight.”
Tyler gets his turn. “We’re going to use our card tonight, especially with an outcome like this.”
In the control booth, “Idol” executive producers spit out their tea. The use of the one and only Judges’ Save is supposed to be one of the moments of high suspense in the “Idol” cycle, a moment of, shall we say, shock and awe preceded by the nail-biting critical last performance as an Idolette sings for survival.
Nonetheless, Seacrest sticks to the script. “Who will take that mike for that critical live performance?” he poses, for the benefit of all those at home who may have sneezed and missed Tyler’s remarks.
As Sanchez began to sing her last-chance performance, Deborah Cox’s “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here,” Jennifer Lopez interjected, the Associated Press reports:
“Give me that mike,” interrupted Jennifer Lopez. “This is crazy! Yes, we’re using the save. You ain’t going home.”
Sanchez, sometimes known as her sassy alter ego “Bebe Chez,” had been deemed one of this season’s front-runners, consistently impressing the panel with savvy-beyond-her-years takes on such tunes as Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You” and Beyonce’s “Sweet Dreams.”
Elise Testone, the rockin’ 28-year-old teacher from Charleston, S.C., who sizzled with Lady Gaga’s “You and I,” and 20-year-old student Joshua Ledet, of Westlake, La., who earned a standing ovation from the panel for Bruno Mars’ ”Runaway Baby,” joined Sanchez as the bottom three vote-getters. It was the first time at the bottom for Sanchez.
Sanchez’s song choice was blamed by some for her surprisingly low standing with viewers, de Moraes says:
Jessica’s choice of the little-known “Stuttering,” by Jazmine Sullivan, set her up for a performance that was just okay, at a time when she should have amped it up with some killer take on some tune the “Idol” audience could hum along with. If Mentor in Chief Iovine and this weeks Guest Mentor, Akon had spent less time fawning over Jessica and more time talking her out of her song choice, Jessica might not have used up the precious Judges’ Save.
The other Idolette in the bottom, Elise Testone, was saved by the mentors before her performance Wednesday, de Moraes says:
If ever there was a Mentor’s Save on “Idol,” this is it. Elise in rehearsal is singing while playing the drums. Yes, her comeback from last week’s over-rocked disaster performance is to hide behind a drum set. “She’s on the road to destruction,” says Akon. They pry her off the drums for her performance of Gaga’s “You and I” and apparently convince her to drop her delusions of being a rock goddess and focus on her strong suit, the jazzy/bluesy Elise. It works. “You needed A Moment – you got it,” Randy gushes.
And in conclusion, Seacrest tries to get the judges to commit to something – anything -- about tonight’s performances and who’s ahead. But they’ll have none of it, knowing full well that whatever they say will come back at them in Iovine’s acid-tinged commentaries Thursday night. People will vote for their favorites, is JLo’s analysis. “It’s about being a great everything,” Randy affirms.
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