American Idol Changes the Rules Again

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Photo: rickey.org
Character from American Idol
Episode Title
Wild Card
Season
8
Episode
18

So, the "secret twist" on last night's wild-card episode of American Idol was that this season will have a top thirteen and not a top twelve. Instead of just three of last night's eight brought-back contestants moving on — which would have meant that only a third of this year's finalists had been forced on us by Idol producers — the judges picked four: Matt Giraud, Jasmine Murray, Anoop Desai, and Megan Joy. So what does this mean, besides another annoying, hour-long results show?

The way the episode was structured made it seem like audience favorite Anoop was the one getting a break (in the final five minutes, before the surprise was revealed, he and Matt were called before the judges and told that one of them would get the last remaining spot). Really, though, the contestant who got lucky was Jasmine, since, so far at least, she's not done anything to make her more deserving than Ricky Braddy, Junot Joyner, or Felicia Barton, any of whom would've been much better picks.

One of the night's most telling moments came when Simon told Matt Giraud, without further explanation, that his performance reminded him of Taylor Hicks, the guy America voted the winner of Idol just three seasons ago (before they neglected to buy any of his albums and forgot he existed). Everybody booed and hissed, then laughed and laughed, because from the way the producers seemingly have things locked down this season, viewers will never again be given enough control to vote for somebody like Taylor Hicks again.

Also, it was fun to see Tatiana Del Toro sent home for a second time (after she sang the exact same song that got her voted off last week), but we still would've rather seen Junot Joyner or Felicia Barton get another shot.