Mini-Rant for Friday: The Great Culling on American Idol (Spoiler-free)

Dear American Idol Producers,

We're not idiots.

Well, some of us actually are. And some of us do revel in it a bit, particularly when we're watching your show.

But I spent 10 minutes of my evening tonight watching the DVR version of your results show this week. And I felt a compulsion to write.

Here are the rules as you've set them up this year: Each results show sifts through the 12 performers from the night before. One girl, one boy will pass through. Then a third — whoever is the next highest vote-getter — also goes through.

I have issues with this concept (because if the top three vote-getters were all boys (for example), and the first girl was the fourth on the list, somebody's getting hosed for the sake of gender parity), but that's not the point.

On elimination night, Ryan Seacrest picks two or three individuals for the first culling and pulls them aside to discuss their performances, get a few last digs in. All well and good. But no matter who actually passes through — boy or girl — the *next* group he chooses for culling has to be all of one gender. It has to be.

Because if it isn't, the show has tipped its hand.

Look, we know you have 60 minutes to pad out, with approximately 22 of them being ads. The content factor is perhaps 7 minutes, tops. So we know you have to play games rather than announcing winners like lotto balls.

But give us a little credit. Of course if a boy goes into the seat the first go-around the next one chosen has to be a girl, because otherwise you've just announced to whatever leftover boys sitting and waiting in the bleachers to be called after that second round that they're screwed. If you get two boys in those seats, the last one is a girl's, based on the dumbass rules already set up.

And we know you're not going to let those kids twisting in the bleacher seats learn they're out of the competition without a camera on them. Nobody on AI is going to pass up the opportunity to get a front-and-center look of dismay when someone realizes they're out.

So when you stand up there and dither about whether this boy or this girl will take the next seat available, I promise you: Most of us have already figured it out.

So quit it. Find a better way. Like, maybe, the one you used to use.


crossposted at Facebook


  1. R.G. Ryan on 2/28/09 at 11:07 am

    [esto es genial] 1. I really hope you actually send this to the miscreants behind the new rules.
    2. A benefit of living on the West coast: we look online at approximately 6:15 PM and see the results without having to wade through all the BS, made only slightly less malodorous  by the life-saving DVR.

  2. Armchair News on 2/28/09 at 11:28 am

    Clever! I knew there were advantages to living out West.

    Given the opportunity, I will definitely ask the producers what is up.

  3. Stuart Kell on 6/15/10 at 7:22 pm

    [this is good] And where at you logic?