American Idol 11: Housekeeping

FOX has announced their “end of season” dates for all of their spring shows, and the announcement confirms that both the addition of a 13th finalist and the sudden revival of the Judges’ Save (after Jermaine/Joel/Kareem Jones was turned over to the authorities) were both scheduling necessities.

The announcement from FOX was that the final two nights of American Idol for the spring will be on Tuesday, May 22 (8pm, one hour, Final Two performance night) and Wednesday, May 23 (8pm, 2 hours 7 minutes, The Big Ol’ Finale).  As it did last season, Idol will be closing the May Nielsen sweeps, which is why the Finale shows are shifting back one day – the sweeps end on May 23, so this ensures the large Idol finale audience counts for local stations in their fall rate cards.

Now… here’s where FOX got into a jam.  Count backwards from May 22-23 and you get this schedule:

  • February 28-29; March 1 – Semifinals
  • March 7-8 – Round of 13
  • March 14-15 – Round of 12
  • March 21-22 – Round of 11
  • March 28-29 – Round of 10
  • April 4-5 – Round of 9
  • April 11-12 – Round of 8
  • April 18-19 – Round of 7
  • April 25-26 – Round of 6
  • May 2-3 – Round of 5
  • May 9-10 – Round of 4
  • May 16-17 – Round of 3
  • May 22-23 – Round of 2 / Big Ol’ Grand Finale

Now if you’ve been following the season, you know 19 Entertainment struggled to get enough material to wrap up the preliminaries in mid-February and get the semifinals on the air on time – partially because they cancelled the New York area auditions abruptly during filming.  You also had to know that 19 knew exactly what their end date was.

So… with no way to extend the preliminaries another week, the only solution was to extend the finals a week – this is why someone had to be brought back… they needed another body, so there would be enough eliminations to fill the schedule through Finale Week.

That body turned out to be Jermaine/Joel/Kareem Jones.  Too bad FOX and 19 didn’t know that the Gentle Giant had a less-Gentle side – and multiple names – until after he’d already been cast as the “surprise” for the first Finals round.

Had he not been a bad, bad boy, there probably would have been no Judges’ Save – or, if there had, they could have paired it with a double-elimination week.  Considering Idol’s addiction to cheap heat, I think they’d have gone for the save/double-elimination scenario.

With the extra body gone, the schedule is now broken.  This week was supposed to be the Round of 11 – the week we cut to the Touring Ten – but there’s only 10 bodies left on Idol Island.  Since even 19 won’t go so far as to add a finalist 3 weeks into the Finals Series, they only have one choice.  The Judges’ Save is not only back, it is NOT optional.  The Judges will use it – and there won’t be a double-elimination the following week.  They need 10 singers to fill 10 weeks, and the only way that’s going to happen now is if an elimination is skipped (the eliminations have to total one less than the number of weeks left, since you’re not eliminating the eventual Idol).  To make it easier, here’s how the schedule now looks:

    • March 21-22 – Round of 11 10
    • March 28-29 – Round of 9 or 10
    • April 4-5 – Round of 8 or 9
    • April 11-12 – Round of 7 or 8
    • April 18-19 – Round of 6 or 7
    • April 25-26 – Round of 5 or 6
    • May 2-3 – Round of 5
    • May 9-10 – Round of 4
    • May 16-17 – Round of 3
    • May 22-23 – Round of 2 / Big Ol’ Grand Finale

So now you know where Idol is going for the rest of the season… a season that will continue with the likely elimination of another of the girls on Thursday night.  See you Thursday morning for the Wednesday recap.


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