Tonight, twelve semi-finalists got a second chance at fame and fortune on the American Idol wild card show. Or rather, eight of the twelve got a chance. Before anyone got to sing in Tuesday night's 90-minute extravaganza, four of the contenders were cut from the mix. In light of the fact that these performers have been practicing all week for the show, this had to be particularly painful for those who were axed. To be offered another chance, to go through workshop and rehearsal, only to have the rug pulled out from under you at the last minute live on national television--how incredibly brutal. Of course, such a situation creates exactly the sort of hand wringing and emoting that the show's producers love.
It was rather like a firing squad, each contestant called up before the panel to be either selected or summarily dismissed.
Lisa Leuschner was first up and first gone. Despite her third-place finish in Group 2, the judges weren't willing to temper their earlier critiques, which is a shame, as her voice is both strong and unique. They commented again on her potential, but waved her off without a second thought.
Marque Lynch never got a chance to repent for choosing The Wind Beneath My Wings for his first appearance, as he was the next to go. The judges had him pegged correctly as a good stage singer, but not a pop star by any means.
Tiara Purifoy didn't get a chance either. The judges didn't seem to have any particularly scathing critiques, but they couldn't also think of much good to say about her. When you're in a competition like this, an average performance like the one she gave last week doesn't cut it, so away she went.
Eric Yoder was the last reject, dashing his hopes of becoming the next Clay Aiken. He hadn't managed to give the judges or the audience any reason to vote him on. Since he didn't stand out, the judges likely felt completely justified in passing on him tonight.
With these four shunted from the stage into the audience, the remaining eight were ushered through the cattle call to get one more shot at the finals. While in the previous semi-final rounds the judges were there only to offer their "expert" opinions, they do get a vote this time around. Of the four remaining finalist slots, one will be decided by the voters, and each judge will also get one pick. So, while the performers only had to worry about pleasing the masses in their previous efforts, they had to play to the audience and the judges both tonight.