The fix is in.
You don't need to be a talent scout or an American Idol devotee to know what's going on here. What you have at this juncture of the season is a Janis Joplin, in the persona and voice of the immensely talented Crystal Bowersox, and 11 pretenders. (That's Bowersox on the left and Pearl on the right.)
Yet last night the judges lavished praise on mediocre performance after mediocre performance, saving some of their best criticism for Bowersox's finale. Her cover of "You Can't Always Get What You Want" was clearly the best effort of the evening. But getting too far in front of the pack is apparently not good business for Idol.
Hey, it's just fun and games. We know that. Well, except for lives and careers that hang in the balance. The judges don't know any more than the rest of us, and their comments -- however skewed -- probably have nothing to do with the outcome. The lion's share of the votes cast are texted with lightning speed by teens and preteens, god bless 'em. They're probably more honest with their feelings than the judges.
But we're guessing that cute faces and sexy appearances also figure into their decison making process, and that's where Crystal Bowersox could eventualy run into trouble. She's cute, but not boy cute like several of the male contestants. And she's not a pixie or a knockout like Siobhan Magnus, whom judges decided to give the edge last night for her stab at "Paint It Black."
The Sanctuary, a casual bystander here, still likes Bowersox and, among the guys, St. Pete's Big Mike Lynche. But there are too many pretty faces remaining, and the judges for their part are getting just plain dopey.
Interestingly, an early readers poll last night at naplesnews.com -- home paper/website for Florida contestant Paige Miles -- had Bowersox first, Miles second and Big Mike third. But chillions of votes will be cast before this is decided.