Because it is the network with no shame, Fox added an extra hour of AI3 programming to its schedule last night with a “special” entitled “The Final Three.” Unfortunately, it was an hour wasted.
The first half of the show consisted of interviews with judges Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, and Simon Cowell. Because it was Ryan Seacrest in the other chair, the questions were as predictable as the answers. Absolutely nothing was said that hasn’t been before. Randy thinks this year’s group of finalists is the best yet, Paula truly believes they are all stars each in their own special way, and Simon just wants to make sure his label sells a lot of albums.
In the second half-hour, Seacrest sat down with the three remaining finalists to ask more vapid questions that provided fodder for even more vapid answers. In fact, while the purported purpose of the show was to “find out more” about the singers, their responses were virtually interchangeable. If anything, they had to suppress their personalities in order to continue to appeal to the widest possible audience. Each contestant also got to perform one of their “signature songs.”
This Wednesday, one more finalist will be removed from the competition to make way for the grand showdown next week.
The moral of this season for American Idol fans is this: never underestimate the power of the Aloha State. Jasmine went far further than anyone expected her to go in this contest. She’s sailed through multiple elimination shows as far more talented singers have been summarily dismissed, due solely to the power and tenacity of the Hawaiian voting bloc. While not a great singer, she is a talented performer, and her rapport with the target audience is her greatest strength.
Unfortunately for Jasmine, enough viewers are now annoyed enough at the ousting of Jennifer Hudson and LaToya London that they’re unlikely to allow a lesser singer to walk away with the top prize. While the bizarre voting patterns this season have made it very difficult to predict the results each week, I’ll go out on a limb and say that Jasmine Trias will be leaving the show this week.
The youngest of the remaining finalists, Diana’s powerful voice and stage presence have made her a contender in this competition from the very beginning. It’s easy to forget she’s only 16 years old when she’s up on stage belting out Think or Turn The Beat Around. Though some of her performances earlier in the season were less than spectacular, she’s really managed to pull it together these last few weeks.
While its easy to argue that some of the ousted finalists deserve to be in the final three more than Diana, there’s no question that she’s worked hard to earn her place her. While I do believe she’ll make it to the final sing-off, she’s up against a true superstar.
Early in the season, Paula Abdul said, “American Idol needs Fantasia.” As we near the end of the competition, its clear that AI3 needs Fantasia much more than Fantasia needs AI3. Of all the contestants, she’s the only one (possibly excepting LaToya) who has yet to turn in a bad performance. She’s got the voice, the poise, and the personality. And, after three long months, she’s proved she’s much more than just a Macy Gray clone.
When LaToya London left the show last week, Fantasia’s victory became even more certain. While she was in the bottom two, Fantasia will now ride the strength of both voters’ outrage and additional votes picked up from LaToya fans on to the final week. There’s no question that, in the end, she can out-sing either Diana or Jasmine. When she goes head-to-head with either one next week, it will be no contest.
Fantasia Barrino will become the third American Idol.