Man I hated the setup for tonight’s episode. It was so herky jerky. Jumping from the waiting room back to performances and back to waiting room had a discombobulated feel that left me frustrated. I understand they edited that way to provide a little more tension and mystery. I just don’t think it was needed. Giving us the performances straight up and then delineating the final contestants is a format that works fine and is easy to follow. The cutting back and forth was shameless time filler. They gave us some extended looks at some performances, but why waste so much time with the other crap? People watch American Idol to watch and listen to these folks sing so we can figure out the places the judges got it right and where they missed. Tonight’s format (especially given the amount of time set aside for this episode and another hour tomorrow) was just a bit frustrating.

Regardless, I started out strong in this episode. I was diligently recording each contestant and their song and what I thought of the mini performance. Then I started thinking about other things like my laundry and what time I had to get up for work tomorrow. After that I lost some focus. The point is, two hours is a marathon with tonight’s format. The performances aren’t consistent and we’re not totally endeared to the contestants yet. It makes for a choppy and disconnected episode where we’re forced (or at least subjected) to 500 cuts to the judges shuffling around cards and making vague statements.

I’m not saying Idol should rush us through this whole thing. I just want a well-connected episode that flows nicely (and happens all in one night). Even when we got to the final decisions the conversation was flat, the intensity non-existent and the banter forced. In the end, here is what came out of tonight’s episode: We got a partial list of the top 24 (which is a major league big deal obviously) but it took a freaking eternity to get to that point.

Anyway, here are the goods:

Staying – Michael Lynche**, Didi Benami, Katelyn Epperly, Casey James, Aaron Kelly, Lee Dewyze, Todrick Hall

Going – Shelby Dressel, Jessica Furney

I’ll have some more thoughts on the final group after the whole thing is finalized. Tomorrow night we get a little more of the same I suppose as the struggle for the Top 24 continues.

Some other thoughts: (Moderate Spoiler Warning)

*** It’s been reported from various sources that Michael Lynche is actually not going to make it through to the Top 24 because of his father’s meddling. A pretty sad story all around.

- I am so glad Mary Powers got bounced. When people are too cocky I want them off the screen and out of the competition.

- Here is a general rule future contestants on Idol should take to heart: Don’t beg. It just sounds pathetic never sways the judges. I’m talking to you Jessica Furney

- The only reveal worth it, from viewing standpoint, was Todrick Hall’s because the judges just said “yes” and allowed him to react without jerking him all over the place. And it was probably the best moment of the episode.

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