I came fairly close to nailing "American Idol" tonight. My prediction had Elise Testone, Hollie Cavanagh and Colton Dixon in the bottom three; they were.
I also predicted, alas, that Elise would go home. Instead, it was Colton. Two contestants (Cavanagh and Phillip Phillips) were reduced to tears; I was reduced to my usual stunned look. Here are a few comments about the show and about Dick Clark:
1) First, Clark. For the second straight night, Ryan Seacrest had an excellent mini-tribute.
2) More tributes are coming. Just added is "Dick Clark: American Music Pioneer," at 7 p.m. Saturday (April 21) on the TV Guide Network. Also on Saturday, GSN (Game Show Network) has added an extra hour (noon to 1 p.m.) of Clark hosting "$25,000 Pyramid." Each half-hour will have a mini-tribute; that will also be true of the previously scheduled "Pyramid" block, from 7 p.m. to midnight Friday (April 20).
3) And Colton? Let's attribute this to the "catch you next week" syndrome. If a person who has had great moments suddenly has a week that's merely good, people shrug and don't get around to voting for him; they'll do it next week. So Colton -- who had never been in the bottom three -- sank all the way to last.
4) That same syndrome tripped up Jessica Sanchez last week; fortunately, the judges used their only "save." This time, they had no way to save Colton.
5) To his great credit, Colton went out singing a gorgeous religious song. Religion is one of the key factors in life, but rarely shows up on TV. One year, "Idol" announced that the week's theme was "songs of inspiration." Three of the six contestants that week had gospel experience; none sang anything remotely religious.
6) Colton sang it beautifully. He has a good voice, great instrumental savvy, a rock star's face and haircut and, possibly, a choir boy's soul. He'll be back in the spotlight, becoming the best-known seventh-place finisher since Jennifer Hudson.
7) Hollie? Timing almost killed her. She was sensational on Adele's "Rolling in the Deep," but that was at the start of the show; voting didn't begin for another two hours and her second song, "Son of a Preacher Man," was merely OK.
8) And Elise? Well, she's always in the bottom three, isn't she?
9) I often disagree with the judges, but I almost always agree with Jimmy Iovine. I especially agree that Jessica, 16, should sing something that fits her age.
10) Judges keep telling the singers to be themselves, so let's start there: People should emphasize what makes them distinct. Tall women should wear heels, to tower; tiny women should wear no heels, so they can seem short and cute. On "Idol," alas, Jessica and Hollie are both in absurdly high heels. Let them be themselve -- a couple of cute little kids, ages 16 and 18, ready to charm.