American Idol: The Curious Case of Scott MacIntyre

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Photo: Courtesy of Fox
Character from American Idol
Episode Title
Group Three Performs
Season
8
Episode
16

Last night on American Idol, following a round of strong reviews from the judges, Scott MacIntyre — the affable, visually impaired contestant that Ryan Seacrest famously tried to high-five on the season premiere — celebrated by raising his hand and giving Seacrest a stationary target this time. Success! It was funny, showed that MacIntyre has a sense of humor, and made the guy just that more likable. He's a talented guy and he'll have absolutely no problem advancing to the next round (he's currently in second place on DialIdol) — so when will the judges give him some honest feedback for once?

In truth, Scott's singing wasn't very good last night. For reasons unknown, he performed Bruce Hornsby's "Mandolin Rain," and there were lots of pitch problems. But if the judges noticed, they certainly didn't say anything: "You move mountains when you step on that stage," raved a breathless, condescending Kara. "You're one of our finest," said Paula. Simon admitted that "there are better singers in the competition," but the only real criticism he had for Scott was that he didn't love the Hornsby song.

MacIntyre's an award-winning classical pianist and vocal performer who's toured the country and released six albums despite being just 23. As far as musical training and experience go, he's got a towering advantage over most of his fellow contestants. According to his website, he graduated from college early at age 19, earned multiple Master's degrees (along with loads of scholarships), has been profiled on national television numerous times, honored at the White House, has played lead roles in community theater, and he even enjoys skiing! Appearing on American Idol may be the most high-profile thing he's ever done, but it's certainly not the most difficult. He's done enough extraordinary things in his life to make a televised singing competition seem like no sweat.

So why do the four Idol judges patronize him by withholding all the negative feedback they'd give to any other contestant who wasn't blind? Since we like the guy, we hope he sticks around long enough for Simon to tell him he needs to work on his high notes.

Here's last night's universally acclaimed performance: