IT’S A NEW LIFE FOR ME AND I’M FEELING GOOD: I was just reading the comments to Joanna Weiss’s post on last night’s AI results show (one of the few blogs that the thought police at my office have not yet thoughtfully blocked as inappropriate for the workplace – harrumph), and I was kind of surprised by the range of views on Adam Lambert’s bottom-twoitude. Everything got a dose of the blame, from a Fox Conspiracy to just desserts for smugness to a fierce national undercurrent of anti-gay bias to America being fed up with the tongue.
Now all these things are true to some degree or another – no doubt that the reigning powers at Fox like to see a dramatic shakeup rather than a plodding “yep, this is proceeding as we thought it would” march to the finale, and no doubt that Adam Lambert is a seriously polarizing contestant, whether it’s because of his not-so-ambiguous ambiguous sexuality or his tongue gymnastics or his lack of umami or whatever. (I do disagree with the just desserts crowd, though. Adam has been gracious and humble throughout the competition in the wake of seemingly unstoppable judge and voter support, and when informed of his cellar-dweller status last night, there was not one iota of How Dare You Relegate Me to the Bottom.) But given that we’ve seen the voter complacency effect year after year after year, it seems to me that Lambert fans ought to be thanking their lucky stars that he was in the bottom two this week, not moaning about the injustice of it all.
Adam hit the bottom two at exactly the right time. He’s now going into the final four with the tailwind of a pack of panicked supporters behind him. I’m not a big AI voter – at most, I usually lob a few text votes in the direction of whomever I like but think might be at risk that week. But you can bet I’ll be working the phones next week for Adam Lambert, because now he needs me. And if you think I’m the only person who thinks that way, well, you would be wrong.
On the other hand, Adam’s brand of appeal may have garnered all the support he’s going to get. As some of the ThingThrowers have observed, he probably ain’t picking up the recently ousted competitors’ fans. It’s tough to envision a whole lot of people who liked Matt thinking that Adam is the next best alternative. Ditto Lil and Anoop. We’ve seen what Adam can do, and while it’s astonishing, I just don’t see someone suddenly having an Adam epiphany after watching him wail or croon for the fifth time. Contra Kris, who is developing as an artist before our eyes – Kris is on a journey, while Adam is already at the finish line.
So where does this leave us? I think there are two possibilities. Either we are continuing our inexorable march toward a Taylor Hicks / Carrie Underwood style crowning of Danny Gokey, or else this thing is maybe pretty darned wide open. In any event, next week ought to be some fun TV.