When you talk as if others are merely bothersome obstructions on the pathway of your success, you can expect backlash from most people. Turn a heartless eye on someone who is sick, expect even more. And if you're a contestant on a show like "American Idol" that's voted on by the viewers, don't say any of this out loud. Curtis Finch Jr. did both during Hollywood Week -- on camera, no less -- and his arrogance at presuming that he was so good he could skate on through the competition was misappropriated. He was the first finalist sent home out of Season 12's Top 10 contestants.
The Top 10 live results show Thursday evening (March 14) was very different from what fans have been used to over the years. Taking a cue from "X Factor," "Idol" provided a rundown of the Top 10, a leaderboard, if you will.
But before that: After the group number (Owl City's "Shine Your Way" from the movie "The Croods"), which was the usual kind of group effort awfulness we've come to expect over the years, and Bon Jovi's taped tune ("Because We Can" from the band's new album, What About Now), we find out that Charlie Askew and Aubrey Cleland were the next guy and girl in the voting for the Top 10 and they do a sing-off for a spot on the Summer "American Idol LIVE Tour." Charlie performs an original, "Blue Diamond Sky," while Aubrey goes with this year's boring theme, another power ballad: "Out Here On My Own" by Irene Cara (from "Fame"). Charlie's vocals were a bit iffy but at least it was creative and he didn't sound stilted.
Jimmy Iovine critiqued Wednesday night's performances and you really wish he was on the judges panel because a lot of what the famed producer says is on the money. Candice Glover won the night. Curtis Finch was gone within three shows if he didn't stop with all the urban gospel power ballads. Kree Harrison knows what she's doing. Burnell Taylor is the best guy singer. Paul Jolley did well but he's stuck on being a country singer (which Jimmy does not understand at all). He likes Devin Velez' voice and Angie Miller is a creative talent. Amber Holcomb has charisma and is a star. He also likes Janelle Arthur. But he thinks Lazaro Arbos will have to toughen up as he goes along.
Host Ryan Seacrest lets us know who the Top Three are and, no surprise after last night's performances, they're all female. In no particular order, they were Candice, Angie, and Kree. We find out that Lazaro Arbos beat Angie in the voting in Florida but still came in fourth.
But before we find out that Angie is in the Top Three, last season's winner, Phillip Phillips, sings his latest single, "Gone, Gone, Gone."
Then it's five through eight in the voting: Amber, Janelle, Burnell, and Paul, respectively.
That leaves Devin Velez and Curtis Finch Jr for the bottom. Curtis winds up with the least votes. Judge Nicki Minaj tells Curtis that if he goes home, she goes home. (Undoubtedly music to the ears of millions.) The judges confer but they're running out of time. Nicki says they needed more time to discuss but Ryan insists on an answer. It isn't unanimous, so Curtis doesn't get the judges' only save.
It's probably just as well...
Nobody summed up the evening's results better than Brian Mansfield at "Idol Chatter." He noted that Curtis played a villain and a showboat, neither of which is particularly liked by "Idol" watchers.
"Back in Hollywood," Mansfield recalled, "he made no secret of his disdain for the other contestants, particularly an ailing and awkward Charlie Askew. And his penchant for over-the-top urban gospel-pop ballads sealed his fate Thursday."
Well, that and the judges not being able to come to a unanimous decision to save him. Just as well, he'd have been gone within a couple of shows anyway and the save would have been wasted. Better to use it on a shocker, like if Angie, Kree, or Candice were to somehow get the least votes next week. (And, crazy though it might sound, it could happen.)
The "American Idol" Top 9 return next week on Wednesday and Thursday, beginning at 8 p.m. (EST) both evenings. On Wednesday they perform; on Thursday they just might lose another finalist.