Colton Dixon exits Idol: less surprising than the judges throwing away their save

Colton Dixon, one of American Idol‘s presumed front-runners, was eliminated last night, giving this season its first surprising elimination, and making judges Jennifer Lopez, Randy Jackson, and Steven Tyler look stupid for using their save last week. Also, it would have been more of a surprise if Ryan Seacrest didn’t say it was going to be shocking, and had Nigel Lythgoe and others not teased that on Twitter, because neither Elise nor Hollie exiting would have been earth-shattering.

All you really needed to know about why Colton went home was the song he sang as he exited: it kinda sucked. His Wednesday performances weren’t up to the level of his previous performances this season. Of course, he’ll be fine; Tamyra Gray or Jennifer Hudson or any of the other prematurely eliminated strong singers can attest to that. And he exited with class, saying, “I need to apologize. I wasn’t myself last night, and I get it.”

However, considering that teenage straight girls are usually assumed to be the largest voting block on the show, it is pretty remarkable that a cute guy went home for just having a bad night, and may blow up that argument that they’re in control–or just reinforce the idea that they’re easily scorned.

But now, there are only two men among the six contestants left on a show that hasn’t had a female winner since 2007.

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.