‘American Idol’ Results Show: Shock And Tears

James Durbin says his Idol goodbye with "Maybe I'm Amazed." (FOX)

Just keep telling yourself. It’s only a show, it’s only a show.


American Idol” delivered its biggest shocker since Pia Toscano was shown the exit when metal maestro James Durbin, he of the Tourette’s, highly functioning autism and devil’s horns, was voted off by the record total of 72 million voters, leaving the Final Three with two gals—Lauren Alaina and
Haley Reinhart—and a guy—country heartthrob Scotty McCreery.

Durbin went off with an emotional “Maybe I’m Amazed” and an impassioned farewell as tears ran down his and J. Lo’s cheeks. “I worked so damn hard to get here. I had a feeling today. I’ve done so much stuff that’s never been done on this show. But I did what I came to do. Give metal a chance.”

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What did you think?

As for me, let the conspiracy theories begin. I mean, does any show shock and surprise and outrage more consistently than “Idol”? Then again, now, in this 10th season, why am I surprised at being shocked at this stage of the competition?

Future TV producers, take note of this slick, shrewd show’s twisted narrative. After taking criticism about women being inordinately voted off the show, the final three consists of two girls. Which is interesting since one of tonight’s performers, season six winner Jordin Sparks, was the last woman to be crowned “Idol.” And while most bloggers thought McCreery and Alaina would make the cut, the presence of the feisty Reinhart, who dares talk back to the judges to defend herself, seems to indicate that pluck has earned the voters’ support.

This sets up a fascinating match-up between the down home southern country McCreery and Alaina set against the underdog Midwestern rock-blues diva. With Durbin now gone, it truly is a dog fight, but you have to like the possibility of a Scotty-Lauren finale.

This week’s results show, as always, was an exercise in infotainment, selling everything from Ford Focus and Windows 7 camera phones to the upcoming “Idol” summer tour, and, of course, Lady Gaga’s new album as she sang the very song, “You and I,” that Haley performed to much criticism several weeks ago after a suggestion from Jimmy Iovine.

The three finalists tonight get to do next week’s hometown hero celebration, and then next week, we’ll know the identity of the remaining two.

Durbin’s exit is a puzzler, for sure. He was never really in danger until now, and most Idol pundits forecast a James-Scotty finale. You can feel the hand of the producers at work here. Remember, game show scandals go back to the ‘50s, and so-called “reality” TV has been proven to be just as manipulative as a sitcom. Maybe this exit before the finals is a good thing for Durbin who, like Daughtry, can then approach his rock demo without the stigma of being an “American Idol” winner, which is the apogee of pop.

So kudos to James for introducing the vast “Idol audience to some vintage classic hard rock. With songs like tonight’s “Maybe I’m Amazed,” he’s proven that he transcends rock and could be a Neil Diamond-style troubadour with an edge. Whatever happens to him, he’s made his mark, and his finale tonight was as emotional a moment as we’ve seen on network TV in quite awhile. Even if it was pre-fabricated.

“The reason why we do this show,” shouted Ryan at the close, after Durbin’s show-stopping performance, and damn if I wasn’t buying what he—and the rest of this remarkable show—were selling.


1. Scotty McCreery: Not even Lady Gaga could stop this John Wayne throwback who might as well be the All-American poster boy circa 1952 or 2011. You’d have to say right now it’s his to lose.

2. Lauren Alaina: She doesn’t float me boat, but between her and McCreery, these are two preternaturally talented, at ease 16-year-olds who are both telegenic and down-to-earth.

3. Haley Reinhart: I give up. I keep predicting her demise, but she has more lives than Freddie Kruger. With a puncher’s chance, she is one dominating performance away from overtaking the opposition, and she will scratch and claw her way to get there. No one says she doesn’t want it.

Again, let me ask you the question I’m asking everyone right now: What did you think about tonight’s results?

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

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