‘American Idol’ Brings Its Roster Down To Three

Michael Lynche performing on Tuesday's 'American Idol.'  (Fox)

Michael Lynche performing on Tuesday's 'American Idol.' (Fox)

Tonight’s episode of ‘American Idol‘ was all about bringing people together. Chris Daughtry came back to perform his new single, and Season Three winner Fantasia did the same with hers; the families of the four remaining hopefuls gathered onstage as the eliminations wore on. All well and good, but at the end of the night, it was time to cast off one person, and the identity of said eliminee was pretty unsurprising, when all was said and done.

In retrospect, should Michael Lynche — whose time on the show ended at around 9:58 p.m. ET — have been saved all those weeks ago? At the time, I was skeptical but ultimately thought he deserved it. But now that I’ve seen how the show has panned out over the past few weeks, I’d say that the judges should maybe have held off on using the save, which was only available to them once all season, until a bit later; while he was an early favorite who possessed one of the best pure instruments in the competition, things sure did take a turn for the more mundane once the hyperactive glassblower Siobhan Magnus was shown the door two weeks ago. And if ever there was a season where mere singing ability was on the low end of the totem pole as far as reasons for keeping contestants around, this one was it.

Michael, he of the baby born during Hollywood Week and the penchant for asserting his physical dominance over the rest of the group by picking people up (seriously, how many moments of Michael lifting fellow ‘Idol’ types were relived during his signoff montage? I counted at least four), had more than a few missteps during his ‘Idol’ tenure. (Also, he seemed unable to decide whether he was from New York or Florida. But I digress.) But I really did like his voice quite a bit, and his impassioned version of Kate Bush’s “This Woman’s Work” remains one of my favorite moments from this season to date.

Some might see Casey James‘ ascent to the Top Three as a victory for the professional wrench-throwers at Vote For The Worst, who threw their collective weight behind him after last week’s disastrous Sinatra Week performance. But a look at recent ‘Idol’ trends shows that a good-looking, rock-leaning guy who plays guitar isn’t exactly the most shocking candidate to succeed for a long time on the show — especially this year, when the talent pool seemed so oddly depleted so early.

Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox.  (Fox)

Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox. (Fox)

What is more odd than Casey’s stubborn hanging on is that this year’s finale won’t have the polarity of the David Cook/David Archuleta face-off, or even the Kris Allen/Adam Lambert duel. It’s probably an indirect result of the way that the powers that be strenuously tried to find “artists” who could remake songs a la Cook, Lambert, and allen, but all three of the remaining ‘Idol’ hopefuls lean toward a similar stripe of rock — call it the type that would be heard on radio stations trying to mix a little bit of current music into heavily classic-rock playlists, with Lee as the post-grunge balladeer, Crystal as the Joplin-influenced yelper, and Casey as the sensitive dude who loves flashing his guitar skills.

So we shall see who wins the battle of the rockers over the next two weeks. In the meantime, I hope that Mike’s baby got shuttled to a darker room as soon as the cameras went dark, because the poor thing seemed freaked out by the lights and general hubbub as the credits rolled.

NEXT WEEK: Crystal, Lee, and Casey go home! By which I mean they go home to see their friends from their respective hometowns, although one of them will eventually get the boot. Also, the utterly useless Internet gossipmonger Perez Hilton will get some ‘Idol’ face time, which at the very least will give me a reason to go on an extended bathroom break during the show. (I know the producers are desperate for anything that will get them extra eyeballs this season, and Perezzers is currently developing a boy-band talent search with ‘Idol’ creator Simon Fuller. But haven’t we all suffered enough from his bloated brand of self-aggrandizing, grammatically challenged misanthropy? He’s a relic of the worst parts of the last decade — although perhaps the producers want to remind the audience of those years, since they were the time when ‘American Idol’ was at its cultural peak.)

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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