So much for talent and personality winning the day. "American Idol" viewers just never seemed to cotton to Paul McDonald. Though the Nashville native has the kind of rasp that is selling tons of records for Mumford & Sons and plenty of tickets for Ray LaMontagne, not to mention a 1,000 watt smile, sharp dress sense and a goofy, but polished stage presence, the good guy singer was sent packing on Thursday night's elimination show.
Yes, I'm mad that I was alone among our experts in not calling his demise, but maybe I was just in denial. I mean, let's review here: Paul, who could record an album today that would likely outsell last year's "winner" Lee DeWyze in a minute, is out. That means we're left with simpering Stefano Langone, cornpone Scotty McCreery, unmarketable Jacob Lusk and straight metal Adam Lambert (a.k.a. James Durbin). Oh, and "sexy" scatter Casey Abrams. Really America?
"I think 'Idol' fans have known for weeks that Paul's days were numbered," said MTV News "Idol Party Live" host Jim Cantiello. "He wasn't finding his footing, musically or physically, and when you're a contestant as out-of-the-box as he was, you need to deliver a 'holy crap' moment as soon as possible. His 'Old Time Rock and Roll' was one of his first performances that didn't feel 'cool' on any level, which is why America ended their love affair with him this week."
Cantiello also predicted that unless Langone gets out of his ballad rut next week, his next trip to the bottom three could be his last. On the other hand, as one of only two girls left, he was pulling for bottom-three dweller Haley Reinhart, who may have gotten herself back in the game thanks to her "Moanin" duet with Abrams on Thursday's results show.
"Idol" blogger MJ Santilli also saw the McDonald ouster coming, mostly because she thought he peaked during Hollywood week and bottomed-out this week with the Seger tune. "So I understand why he had to go, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to miss him," she said. "I had a pang of regret the moment I heard his name called. He's a pretty goofy dude who didn't seem all that engaged with the 'Idol' process, but there was something about him that livened up the group."
Part of it might have been that, like runner-up Crystal Bowersox last year, McDonald didn't seem to care that much about being on the show and competing, but just enjoyed performing for millions every week. "Dude was pretty chill amongst a pretty intense bunch," Santilli said. "I predict that what little fun this group is having is going to dissipate pretty fast now that Paul is gone."
I had to agree with Santilli. If you go back and watch the tape of Wednesday's show, McDonald seems ready to go home. He's still delivering the goods, but there's a fire in his eyes that's clearly gone out.
After six weeks of forecasting the season, here are the current standings.
Gil Kaufman: 3-for-7?
Jim Cantiello: 3-for-7?
MJ Santilli: 4-for-7?
Maura Johnston: 2-for-7
Did you correctly predict Paul's exit? Do you think he deserved it? Who will be next? Leave your comments below!
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