American Idol: Tim the Tumor

If I did have a tumor, I'd name it Tim. Tim. The scratch on the roof of your mouth that would heal if you could stop tonguing it, but you can't.

I'll get back to him a minute.

This week's American Idol results show was the first legitimately dramatic or surprising one of the season; the earlier elimination of Lilly Scott, though probably not for the best, was at least understandable thanks to her voiceless cover of Patsy Cline. But this week had some genuine twists and turns, attributable to the fickle tastes of teen girls and the machinations of savvy producers.

However, to get there, we had to endure an hour of execrable filler. The show opened with the nine contestants performing a Beatles medley that was a horrific preview of what the bland summer concert tour must be like, and before long got down to this week's in-show Ford commercial. It really is revolting to see the lengths Idol will go to in the name of branding.

This week's guest performances were somehow more trying than ever. The first was Jason DeRülo, who said his name at the beginning of his song so you knew it would be awesome. After that was David Archuleta, the runner-up from season 7. He seems genuinely nice -- I wasn't surprised to learn from Google that he's a Mormon and a Boy Scout -- but his version of John Lennon's "Imagine" was the final nail in that song's coffin. I think we should all get together to impose a 20-year moratorium on covering the song, just as a palate cleanser.

The final performance was from Rihanna. I have no idea how to describe to you what the song was or what genre it would be in. The best I can do is to say it sounds like having a nightmare feels, the sweaty nightmare from childhood or early adolescence that isn't shaken with the dawn. The aimless guitar solos; the crunching beat; the endless repetition of "Hey baby I'm a rock star" until those words had lost all meaning aside from a warning that hope for salvation was not at hand. It was the dumbest and most terrifying thing I have seen in a long time, and I wish the experience on no one.

But the eliminations, spread in little chunks throughout the hour, were eventful. All three women -- Crystal, Siobhan, and Katie --were safe, leaving the six men. Ryan split them into two groups of three, one with Lee, Casey, and Tim, and the other with Big Mike, Aaron, and Andrew. He announced that one group was safe and the other was the bottom three according to viewer votes, and though at first I'd assumed the first group was in danger, I was wrong. They turned out to be safe, with Mike, Aaron, and Andrew in the bottom three. I have no other choice than to believe the teen girl appeal of Tim, that clueless lounge singer, was behind this.

Tim, I am convinced, is the Ralph Nader of American Idol, a vote-splitting and talentless young man whose presence throws off the moral balance of the universe. How else to explain the drama of this week's results show? In the bottom three, Aaron was given a reprieve, then, somehow, Andrew. That meant Big Mike was the week's potential loser, and though I could have envisioned Mike losing out around the top three level, I had no idea he'd be in danger this soon. Sure, his "Eleanor Rigby" was overheated, but his previous performances have been rock-solid. What could push him down? Viewer votes for the cute but graceless Tim. Gotta be.

Mike, though, knew that he was good enough to probably earn the judges' save, so he stepped up and did his version of "This Woman's Work" and absolutely killed it. No fear, no trembling, just pure attack. The judges, knowing he's too good to let go and (maybe, I pray) banking on Tim to screw up, unanimously decided to save Mike and keep him for next week. So help me, I actually smiled. That guy's way too good to go home this soon. That also means that the judges can't save anyone else, and that two will go home next week. Screw the viewer votes; I say the producers need to intervene as they can and put Tim and Aaron in the bottom three. Not just for me, but for the world. Please?

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Daniel Carlson
Contact: Daniel Carlson