Let's be honest: It's easier when they're just a flurry of faces belting out Bryan Adams songs. But now that we're investing a good five hours a week — and in the process getting to know the gestures, quirks and facts about all of the contenders — saying "cheerio" to our "Idol" cast-offs is a bit more brutal.
Even when they do things that can be construed as obnoxious, it's tough to see someone's dreams get shattered so quickly. I mean, their family members probably have just finished alerting the entire town that their spawn is destined to become the next Kelly Clarkson or Chris Daughtry and they're already belting out their swan song? It's all just a bit much for even a cynic like me.
But back to the obnoxious thing. The kiss of death for an also-ran — for both their karma and their likeability factor — is when they go out of their way to talk about how wrong Simon is about them.
Haven't they learned by now that the man is pretty much always right? Apparently Garrett Haley, who told the camera that Simon was mistaken and he just knew America would love him, didn't.
Joanne Borgella, on the other hand, was as loveable as they come. It's true that the plus-size model doesn’t exactly have a name that screams Grammy-award-winning singer (it sounds more like the head of the accounting department at a Fortune 500 company), but I'm convinced she got eliminated this early because she simply looked like she'd have a much bigger voice than she actually did. If she'd been a petite little thing, I swear we'd still be seeing her on stage for weeks to come.
Others bid us goodbye at the appropriate time. Amy Davis reminded us in her final song why she was leaving when she was: The girl's 25 and somehow comes across as this breathy, bluesy middle-aged lounge singer. Nevertheless, there's something about the sight of an "Idol" cast-off relative wearing a shirt with the would-be "Idol" contender's picture on it that makes the whole experience oddly tragic.
And when it came down to Chikezie Eze and Colton Berry — otherwise known as the guy who announced on national television that he looked like Ellen DeGeneres — I have to say that I wanted Colton to stay and Chikezie kicked to the curb (and it's not just because writing Chikezie over and over again is no easy feat). The guy not only didn't wow me with his performance this week, he also gave Simon a bit too much lip for my taste.
(I'm fine, by the way, with contestants bantering with our most cantankerous judge — they just have to be really on top of their game to not come off badly when they do it. Amanda Overmyer and Alexandrea Lushington fared marvelously in that department this week.)
We also got to see the video debut of Randy Jackson's new single, "Dance Like There's No Tomorrow," which essentially was an "Idol" family production, as Paula sang vocals and gave us her best "Forever Your Girl"-era dance moves, which stood up quite well. (Let me tell you, she dances better than she talks.)
While I don't see Paula and Randy becoming some kind of a regular pop duo, it was nice to see the judges out from behind their desks. Or maybe it was just a pleasant distraction from all the dream-slashing.
Anna David is a freelance writer. Her novel, "Party Girl," is in stores.