Entertainment behind the scenes
Shock and awe as “Idol” Johns is sent packing
“American Idol” delivered its first major shock of the season on Thursday with the ousting of Aussie hunk Michael Johns. The studio audience gasped when host Ryan Seacrest said Johns was being sent packing, and even Simon Cowell said he would miss Johns, who he called “a very very nice guy.” The remaining contestants, who should have been celebrating their own guarantee of another week on the show, appeared positively grief-stricken.
Carly Smithson, the Irish singer whose rendition of Queen’s “The Show Must Go On” bombed on Tuesday night, broke down in tears. Seems she thought it would be her to get the axe this week, not Johns, particularly after raising her hand when the camera focused on her, Johns and Syesha Mercado — the show’s bottom three vote-getters — and Seacrest said one of them would be going home.
But no one was as taken aback as Johns himself, who after struggling to regain his composure told Seacrest he was “definitely surprised” and had enjoyed singing Aerosmith’s “Dream On.” He had never even landed in the bottom three before. Mercado and Smithson both had.
Perhaps the biggest blow, though, was not the elimination itself, but the way it was done. After telling Johns that he received the lowest number of votes, Seacrest made the point that during the same week last year — the week of the show’s charity event, “Idol Gives Back” — the show opted not to send any of the contestants home. Then, he delivered the news that regardless of that fact, Johns would indeed be leaving the show and would have to summon the will to perform one last time.
Seacrest must be drinking the Cowell Kool-Aid lately, because that stunt was just plain mean.
At the same time, though, the brutal offing of the boy from Down Under served as a reminder to fans of just how ugly and ruthless the competition gets in its final weeks.
But isn’t that what we watch it for?