Michael Lynche was an "American Idol" goner for exactly 216 seconds: the time between Ryan Seacrest's announcement that he was heading home and Simon Cowell's declaration that the judges had used their precious save to keep Big Mike crooning another day.
"We only have one save in the competition," Simon said. "This is unanimous, Michael, if it's any comfort, and we have decided we're going to see you next week."
And just like that, Lynche was once again an "Idol" hopeful instead of an "Idol" has-been. It was an emotional comeback for Big Mike, the soulful teddy bear who was stuck in Hollywood Week while his wife went into labor and delivered their baby girl. And it's a comeback that has us looking back at other reality-show revivals, when contestants we thought were dunzo ended up rejoining the competition.
Chris March, "Project Runway": Season four's gregarious costume designer got Heidi Klum's heave-ho in episode four, after he couldn't figure out how to make fashion magic out of shoulder pads and baggy sweaters. But one illness of a fellow contestant later, and March was back to sew another day. And sew he did. March ended up making it to the final four and getting to design an entire collection before being booted off pre-Fashion Week.
Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!": Speidi actually pulled off a reality-show quit-and-comeback twofer in the Costa Rican jungle. First the duo decided they were "too rich and famous" to be slumming it with the likes of Stephen Baldwin. They took off voluntarily ... only to return shortly thereafter, blaming the devil for their actions. But that comeback was short-lived, as Heidi was hospitalized and the couple fled back to the concrete jungle of L.A.
Matt Giraud, "American Idol": "Idol" introduced the judges' save last year, and Giraud was the first and — until Big Mike — only contestant ever to receive that honor. Giraud's experience should serve as inspiration for Lynche. The Timberlakian crooner managed to survive a twofer elimination during Disco Week and made it all the way to the top five before being eliminated once and for all.
Jimmy D and Shauna, "Millionaire Matchmaker": Wait, were you under the impression that "Matchmaker" isn't actually a competition show? Oh, gentle reader! Both of these looking-for-love-in-all-the-wrong-places contestants have popped up twice on the show. After insulting his Scientologist date during his first appearance, Jimmy D staged a comeback, taking a new gal to Vegas. She ended up getting a bit too tipsy and fleeing to her hotel room while he waited downstairs for their romantic dinner. To paraphrase Jimmy D, Don't nobody treat Jimmy D that way! Shauna, meanwhile, is a self-declared cougar who first landed a date with a rich 20-something. Sparks didn't fly with the youngster, so Shauna opted for an older gentleman for her comeback. Of course, she never actually got to the date, as she ran away screaming after catching a glimpse of the old fogey, losing a high heel in the process.
Veronica Portillo, Basically Every "Real World/Road Rules Challenge": Veronica is the undisputed queen of reality-show comebacks. You think we're kidding? How 'bout "Challenge 2000," "Battle of the Seasons," "Battle of the Sexes," "The Gauntlet," "The Inferno," "Battle of the Sexes 2," "The Inferno II" and "The Ruins." We're exhausted just thinking about all that wackadoodle combat and late-night boozing. Kudos to Veronica for her epic resilience ... and for actually winning three times!
Who is your favorite reality-TV comeback kid? Reminisce in the comments below.
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