Once you watch "American Idol" for a year or two, you start to recognize the grind of the "Idol" machine. Sure, America votes, but there is a lot of manipulation on behalf of the show, both subtle and obvious, that occurs to swing that vote. The results don't always go the producers' way, but they usually get the finale they want. This year it's been clear that a Joshua Ledet and Jessica Sanchez final is their hearts' desire, but Phillip Phillips looks set to crash the party.
While the former pawn shop worker has many diehard fans, he's also received a lot of criticism from "American Idol" viewers and critics. On a show with some huge voices, he's got the smallest range, and was long accused of being a mere Dave Matthews mimic. Yet even when mentor Jimmy Iovine criticized Phil on air, voters still turned out in droves to keep the singer on the show.
The soulful guitar player ignored musical advice, scoffed at Tommy Hilfiger's fashion sense, and refused to appear invested in the "American Idol" results at all. Rebellious teens everywhere lined up to cast their vote.
Jimmy compared Phil to fellow contestant Colton Dixon, and announced the mohawked-singer was ahead in the race. Colton went home.
The laid-back performer had one terrible week, performing "Time of the Season," and was visibly strained to hit half the notes. He even confessed to "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest that his family let him know it was a bad performance. Despite this super speed bump for him, Skylar Laine went home that week instead.
Pushing the Joshua and Jessica Final
"American Idol" has been desperately pushing these two power vocalists throughout the season. Even the contestants themselves were ribbing Joshua about getting his "millionth" standing ovation. The pair of singers most often get praise from the judges loaded with hyperbole, like "best performance in all of 'American Idol,'" or "I have never heard anyone do that song better," or "(Insert Grammy-award winning artist here) would be so proud to hear you do that song."
Like Haley Reinhart in Season 10, Hollie Cavanagh rode the bottom 3 chairs all the way to the top. Once again, Jimmy paired up two contestants, saying Hollie and Jessica had to beat each other out for votes. The "American Idol" judges then repeatedly threw the young British Texan under the bus, giving her the harshest critiques. She was often lambasted for the very same things Jessica Sanchez was doing, like focusing more on power notes than emoting. Yet Jessica was praised exuberantly for those runs and big finishes. Hollie finally went home in Top 4 week, losing out on her hometown visit.
"American Idol" tried to give Phil the Hollie treatment by slowly beginning to criticize him more, but it only galvanized the fans into voting more. Since he's never been in the bottom 3, we can assume he's been getting the lion's share of votes each week, no matter what the show does. Suddenly the "AI" judges started praising Phil again. After all, if he wins, they don't want to look stupid. Everyone is still talking about Simon Cowell's dislike of Season 8 winner Kris Allen.
On "American Idol" Top 4 elimination night, the show put Phillip and Hollie together for the final verdict. Earlier, Ryan had said they were "building the Top 3." Many fans assumed this meant Phil was in the bottom 2. Was this a fact, or just a psychological manipulation, getting people used to the idea that Joshua and Jessica should be in the finale? Or a last ditch effort to create some drama, since everyone assumed there was no way the WGWG (White Guy with Guitar) was going home?
What do you think, "American Idol" fans? Have the show runners given in to the idea that Phil will be in the final, or are they still angling for the Double J result?
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