Before the show was done, we knew the “Idol” judges would use their “save” thanks to Steven Tyler spilling the beans while we still had a bottom three. But we still got one moment of surprise, when the bottom vote-getter of the night was announced to be Jessica Sanchez.
The most obvious reason the judges latch on to is that Jessica is so good, everybody thought she was safe and decided to vote for someone else.
Randy Jackson already spoke out to MTV News, saying, “Well, I think [America] thought she was safe…and I think they thought Joshua was safe because those two alone, with Colton and some of the others, have been the most consistent. So, you know, yeah, I think they just forgot.”
But is that really what happened? Or is it deeper than that?
America loves an underdog. Maybe not when it comes to choosing between shopping at a local grocery store and a Wal-Mart, but certainly when it comes to reality music competitions. Sure, there are years when the one you thought was going to win all along did, like Scotty McCreery. But then there are those David Archuletas and Adam Lamberts and Clay Aikens that defy all logic, because they all seemed to have it in the bag.
Watch: “American Idol’s” Surprise Twist:
Jessica has had it in the bag since she impersonated Whitney Houston on “I Will Always Love You” during the first finals show this year. And since then, no matter how hard she works, she almost seems lazy for being so good, for drawing so much praise. Consistency lacks drama. As much as we like to see people succeed in this country, maybe there’s some Schadenfreude desire to see people who are good at what they do fail.
“Idol” attempted to build an underdog narrative early on (a la Melanie Amaro’s on the “X Factor“) by bringing back a cast-off, but unfortunately, they put all their eggs into the Jermaine Jones basket and that didn’t last a week. Jermaine was shown throughout auditions and Hollywood as a guy who defied expectations, a giant who was gentle, a bass who could sing pop, a big guy who sobbed uncontrollably.
Jessica, on the other hand, barely got airplay before the live shows. And the little we have been able to glean from her background so far is that she was a pageant kid who has already fashioned herself as a young Beyonce, stage alter ego and all. On this show, that kind of confidence comes off as cockiness.
So, maybe Jessica landed at the bottom last night because Americans don’t know how to dial in for two different people in the same two hours. Or maybe it’s because she just isn’t likable.
Or maybe it’s just ’cause teen girl voters just don’t find her nearly as dreamy as Phillip Phillips’s kidney stones.