Brandon Rogers goes home; Sanjaya was in the bottom two

The first finalist to be eliminated from American Idol 6 was Brandon Rogers. He was joined in the bottom two by Sanjaya Malakar, whose actual vote totals were the exact opposite of what DialIdol’s predictions suggested, but whose safety led Vote for the Worst to claim victory.

Ryan Seacrest sent Brandon home by saying, “after nearly 28 million votes, America has decided that Sanjaya–you are safe.” That’s when the audience started booing, and Sanjaya slinked back to the side of the stage. Poor guy’s going to need serious therapy when this is all over.

Rounding out the bottom three was Phil Stacey, and with only men occupying those positions, does that support arguments that Tuesday’s theme was unfair to the men? The show’s executive producer says maybe: “I think that’s a fair comment,” Nigel Lythgoe told TV Week. “At the same time, when you look at some of the people that have recorded Diana Ross/Supremes songs, like Phil Collins, he’s certainly not a woman and did a great job. There are a lot of good songs there…and there are a lot that they left out, but they didn’t know the songs in the best of times. But there were a lot of good songs that could’ve easily been turned around to be sung by a guy.”

By the way, TV Week’s interviewer, Chuck Ross, who’s identified as the publication’s “editorial director,” needs to turn in his journalism credentials immediately. This is how he concluded the interview: “Excellent. Well, I want to thank you so, so much, and it was a great beginning for the final 12. You’ve got America hooked and you’re doing an incredible job. Thank you, and I want to urge everybody out there: Let’s raise a lot of money for a very good cause. Thank you so much, Nigel. … Fantastic. Thank you, my friend; we’ll talk to you soon.”

It’s one thing to thank the executive producer of a major television show for wasting his time by having him discuss his perceptions of the contestants. But “it was a great beginning”? “you’re doing an incredible job”? “You’ve got America hooked”? Unnecessary, horribly incorrect (in the case of the “great beginning”), and credibility-damaging, as is his avoidance of any actual news during the interview (Mario Vazquez?).

In other news from last night’s results show, during the recap segment, Ryan’s narration said that, because of Diana Ross’ presence, “everyone was in diva mode.” The coming out/gay taunting segment from Tuesday’s episode was replayed–to the tune of Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out.”

Backlot Talk: American Idol [TV Week]