Common sense -- a tad of it -- reaches "Idol"


There is some common sense in the "American Idol" world, after all. Unfortunately, none of it seems to belong to the voters.

Tonight, their bottom three -- Jessica Sanchez, Joshua Ledet and Elise Testone -- were virtually the top three in ability. Sanchez, a marvel, was at the bottom ... rescued only by the "save" that the judges can use only once during a season.

What went wrong? A few explanations:

-- The easy one: The others -- Colton Dixon, Hollie Cavanagh, Skylar Laine and Phillip Phillips -- are cute and show more personality. Sanchez follows a tradition of great singers (Tamyra Gray, LaToya London) who seem too poised for their own good.

-- A temporary one: While some of the others chose solid, melodic songs, Sanchez chose a trickier, bluesy one.

-- A more complicated one: If singers have already had great nights, then the viewers sometimes forget to vote for them after they merely have very good nights. Sanchez and Ledet gave the season its triumphs, with "I Will Always Love You" and "When a Man Loves a Woman"; once you've heard those, nothing else they do can send you rushing to the phone.

Anyway, things are back to normal now and the extra attention should help Sanchez in the weeks ahead. Here's a history of what's happened since the save was added:

2009: Matt Giraud would have finished 7th, but the judges saved him. He finished 5th.

2010: Michael Lynch would have finished 8th. The judges saved him and he thrived, finishing 4th.

2011:Casey Abrams would have finished 11th and missed the tour. The judges saved him and he finished 6th.

2012: Jessica Sanchez would have finished 7th. Let's hope she jumps to the top.