A non-surprise ("Idol"), a huge surprise ("Fringe")


Several things:

1) Please read the previous blog. "Fringe" will be back next season; this is a terrific  surprise.

2) I guess we can't call tonight's "American Idol" a surprise, because it's what we predicted: Elise Testone and Hollie Cavanagh finished in the bottom; they'd been there often. Then Elise was sent home.

3) Whenever Elise stands near Hollie (or the other women), it seems like "Take Your Daughter to Work" night. She's 10 years older than Hollie or Skylar Laine, 12 years older than Jessica Sanchez. She seems a full head taller, even when they're in absurd heels, looking like those painted kids in a toddler pageant.

4) That decade difference is important. She seems to have spent it working the clubs. She comes off as a performer filled with gusto and zest.

5) Still, that experience can work against her. Elise chose a Jimi Hendris song that the others (including viewers) had probably never heard of. It was a tough one to sing, sort of the opposite of Hollie's straight-ahead "The Climb."

6) Phillip Phillips made an even-worse choice, of course. But he got a big boost from Ryan Seacrest, who kept emphasizing he was in trouble. And he was one of only two men, against four women -- with no more Colton Dixon to compete for the cute-guy vote. And he's Phillip Phillips, with enough charm (especially in those talk-about-each-other segments) to survive, even during a bad week.