Welcome to Idolator’s American Idolatry, where we look at the pop-cultural steamroller that is American Idol. Last night’s episode featured the first four eliminations, including the dismissal of Rudy Cardenas (above) and the survival of the increasingly loathesome Sundance Head; it also featured a performance by season-three winner Fantasia, which was introduced by an extremely awkward segment in which Ryan Seacrest cut Quincy Jones off as he was trying to explain how The Color Purple, which will star Fantasia come April, is actually about the color purple. We’re sure that, had Seacrest allowed Quincy to finish his sentence, the explanation would have made sense, but as we’re learning more and more with each episode, there isn’t all that much room for logic in the Idol universe.
WHO’S (INEXPLICABLY) IN): Sundance, Alaina, and Antonella. Seriously, are we going to have to put up with this Vote For The Worst crap for much longer? Sundance is going to bust a vein on stage the next time he’s inspired to overemote in public.
WHO’S OUT: Paul the falsetto-challenged; Amy the bland; Nicole the screechy; Rudy the undaunted. All performed their requisite swan songs; Nicole looked like she was going to lose it on stage more than anyone else. (Perhaps she needed that “overrehearsing.”)
BUT REMEMBER, SOMETIMES NOT WINNING IS EVEN BETTER THAN WINNING: This year’s goodbye-montage song is the Nickelbackian Chris Daughtry track “Home,” a genius bit of keep-it-in-the-family placement that ensures the Idol runner-up’s place in the Billboard top 10 until at least June.
WE THOUGHT “BROADWAY” WAS A BAD WAY TO SOUND: But everyone seemed pretty excited for Fantasia’s announcement that she was going to star in The Color Purple come April. What’s next–Ruben Studdard announcing a run of cabaret shows?
THIS YEAR, ALL THE CONTESTANTS WILL GET NOT ONE, BUT TWO LESSONS IN BUILDING THEIR OWN CLOTHING LINE: Celebrity guests for this season were announced last night, and they include brand-building pop stars Gwen Stefani and Jennifer Lopez. We’re a little sad that they won’t be put through the judgment-night segment of the Idol process; after all, one would think that the reedy-voiced J. Lo needs the gentle “it’s a singing competition” reminder even more than some of the outsized-personality hopefuls from the show’s early weeks.