Judges don’t use new power to save Jasmine Murray or Jorge Nunez

American Idol 8‘s judges now have the power to save an eliminated contestant, but they did not use it to save a contestant who they already saved last week. Jasmine Murray and Jorge Nunez went home; Jasmine was a wild card pick last week.

This new rule change/twist, which the show’s executive producer basically revealed yesterday morning, allows the judges to save an eliminated contestant. They can do that just once this season and “up until the top five,” Ryan Seacrest said, and they have to unanimously agree to save the contestant. If they use their power, two people go home the following week, which keeps the show on track for a final two in mid-May.

Ryan introduced the rule by telling viewers, “you told us [contestants like Tamyra Gray and Chris Daughtry] left the competition too early, so in response to that, we’re introducing a new rule this season, the judges’ save.” He asked Simon for confirmation that this “isn’t necessarily reversing America’s vote, right?” Cowell said, “Quite the contrary. The whole point of this competition is America votes for who they want to save; if someone happens to be at the bottom and we think they deserve another a chance, we’re going to give them another chance.”

Of course, that’s a lot of double-talk, as it is reversing the voting public’s decision, because someone America didn’t care enough to vote for may still get to stay. There has been some discussion online that this will help combat Vote for the Worst, because if someone who’s bad gets more votes than someone who’s good, the judges can keep that person. Of course, that assumes Vote for the Worst has vote-influencing power, and considering they constantly have to change who they’re voting for as their target gets voted out, the only real power they have comes from their excellent reporting on the show. The only thing the judges’ new ability might help combat is the mass of morons who vote for weak singers.

At least until the power is actually used, the most significant effect of the rule change is that Ryan’s actual announcement of the person who’s going home isn’t as dramatic, because it gives way to the not-very-dramatic moment when we have to listen to the person who just voted off for performing badly perform badly again while the judges decide and then announce whether or not they’re going to use the power of veto or slam the box’s lid shut in slow motion.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.