First, unfinished business from Tuesday’s performance episode: After Simon praised Sanjaya, the contestant said “thank you,” and added something else as the audience cheered. Several alert readers pointed out that Sanjaya embraced his ego by saying, “Welcome to the universe of Sanjaya.”
That Sanjayaverse managed to keep him in the competition and well out of the way of elimination; he was in the middle group of three, along with Chris Richardson and Blake Lewis. The hater votes from Vote for the Worst, which Howard Stern has been pitching recently, prompted FOX to say in a statement to The New York Times that “these campaigns don’t affect who moves forward in the competition.”
But executive producer Nigel Lythgoe seems to be preparing us for a Sanjaya win, or at least for the possibility that better singers go home first. To do that, he questions the value of winning the show, which is somewhat scandalous. “What do you mean by ‘winning?'” he asked TV Week. “Taylor won the competition, but he isn’t the one selling albums at the moment. So what is the win at the end of the day?”
Meanwhile, after “the highest vote this season, just under 33 million votes,” Ryan Seacrest said, the three best female singers–Melinda, LaKisha, and Jordin–were identified as the top three, while Phil Stacey, Haley Scarnato, and Gina Glocksen were the bottom three. Phil went to safety first, and while it seemed like Haley, who’s been in the bottom two for two weeks now, would go home, Gina ultimately sang the song of shame.
Speaking of singing, Tuesday’s celebrity mentor, Tony Bennett, didn’t show up to perform. Ryan Seacrest told us that “even legends can come down with the flu,” and so he introduced a performance by Michael Buble. Aftewards, Buble asked Seacrest, “Am I wasting my votes by still voting for Antonella Barba?” Ryan Seacrest, never one to miss an opportunity to assert his heterosexuality, said, “No, I do the same thing.”
Producer Questions Winning on ‘Idol’ [TV Week]