After weeks of predicting Aaron Kelly's demise on "American Idol," on Wednesday, our experts took a break from suggesting that the 17-year-old was going to be sent home on elimination night. So, of course, after guaranteeing us that it was Casey James who would be on the chopping block, it was finally Aaron's time to go.
"Well, that didn't go as planned, but what has during this crazy season of 'Idol'? " said MJ Santilli, founder of the "Idol" fansite MJsBigBlog.com.
"Casey James' elimination seemed like a slam dunk — he'd been in the bottom three two weeks prior, he gave a train wreck performance, he's had several lackluster performances during the finals. It really seemed to be his time to go. But I think Kara's and Simon's harsh remarks may have saved Casey. Kara not only told Casey his singing was bad, but she also openly mocked his vocals. It was pretty insulting, and it may have lit a fire under Casey's fanbase, compelling them to vote harder. Casual 'Idol' fans may have tossed him some pity votes."
Santilli figured on some backlash, but said she underestimated how strong it would be. She also noted that fans were probably motivated by the fact that he was tagged as the pick to click by "Idol"-baiting site VotefortheWorst.com.
"Aaron's unremarkable performance Tuesday night may have lost him some of the casual votes," she said. "The mommies who voted for him last week may have decided to save poor Casey James instead! I was wrong once again, but it's all good. If you view the performances over the course of the season, Aaron really deserved the boot. At least Casey had a couple of memorable performances — 'Jealous Guy' and 'Don't!' Aaron has been consistently mediocre all the way through the competition."
Though he too picked it wrong, MTV News' "Idol in 60 Seconds" speed-reader Jim Cantiello had no quibbles with the result. "I can't say I'm that surprised that little Aaron Kelly was sent packing," he said. "Both he and Casey had the worst performances Tuesday night. I did think Casey was a goner only because last week he almost got cut after one of his better moments on the show. So, after Tuesday night's dismal 'Blue Skies,' I thought he was a done deal."
Cantiello agreed with Santilli that the judges' harsh comments, especially DioGuardi's barnyard comparisons, probably got James enough sympathy votes to keep him around.
"Aaron, meanwhile, got not-so-terrible reviews for his shaky 'Fly Me to the Moon,' but the lack of drama, both in performance and judging, made him forgettable. Sometimes it pays to be jaw-droppingly terrible (ahem, Casey) rather than shrugworthy mediocre."
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