Amykrebs_americanidol6_240Let’s play Jeopardy!

Answer: Stevie Scott, Becky O’Donohue, Bobby Bennett and Patrick Hall.

Question: Who were the first four members of the American Idol Top 24 eliminated last season?

If you remember Becky at all, it’s from her semi-raunchy Maxim pictorial. If you remember Bobby, Patrick or Stevie you’re probably a member of the Bennett, Hall or Scott families.

Joining that esteemed group on Thursday (Feb. 22) were Season Six’s first four eliminated contestants — Paul Kim, Amy Krebs, Nicole Tranquillo and Rudy Cardenas.

The four eliminated contestants weren’t the four worst singers in this field, not close, really. They weren’t even the contestants who gave the worst performances on Tuesday and Wednesday night (with the exception of Rudy, if you ask me). They were, however, the latest embodiments of the truism (cliche?) that we Idol-watchers like to use, "It’s better to be memorably bad than not to be memorable at all."

If you’re bad-but-likable (Think: Sanjaya Malakar), you mobilize whatever fans you have. You scare the people who think you’re cute or friendly or that you’ve overcome adversity into voting for you to save your hide.

If you’re really awful, you have the chance to get championed by the Vote For the Worst folks. They don’t have the power to be kingmakers just yet (though they try to take some credit for Taylor Hicks), but they certainly have the power to ensure that people like Sundance Head and Antonella Barba, early choices as the contest’s worst, can skate through the earlier rounds where few singers have entrenched and devoted fanbases. Did it hurt that Antonella has become an online search juggernaut thanks to the dissemination of a series of semi-nude candid photos? Well, it didn’t help Becky last year, but being a girl gone slightly wild didn’t hurt Antonella.

But if Randy just nods his head and says you were aight? Well, at least you got several all-expenses-paid trips to Hollywood and enough national exposure to have you cutting ribbons at Applebees openings for at least two months. You probably won’t get invited to the Idol finale, but that’s just a snooze anyway.

Paulkim_americanidol6_240In elimination, everybody was well-behaved. They were polite, mild and meek in accepting defeat. They smiled and nodded graciously, never generating a second of drama through 60 minutes of filler, which is exactly why they’re going home in the first place.

Antonella would have torn off her shirt and clawed at Simon’s face. Alaina, who deserved to join Antonella on the hypothetical block, would have bawled, burbled snot everywhere and enrolled in college on the spot. Sundance would have turned red, then purple, then burst. Nick would have quit by the time Ryan Seacrest said "Sorry, you’ve been…" People would remember displays like those and maybe that’s the kind of gratification you want to delay?

In their absence, next week’s show will be slightly poorer, but not much.

I’m trying to think of other highlights from Thursday’s show, but I’m at a loss. The 24-person group-sing of Tears For Fears’ "Sowing the Seeds of Love" was about as cheesy as you’d expect a smiling, ensemble rendition of a song about sperm to be. Fantasia, there to announce her upcoming starring role in Broadway’s The Color Purple, looked zaftig but sounded fantastic on one of that musical’s overwritten tunes. And Chris Sligh apologized to Simon for the perception that he might have been rude to the caustic judge, a move that really ought to cost him votes. Clown princes should never say they’re sorry.

Are you OK with the first Idol eliminations? Did you lose any favorites? If so, why didn’t you vote for them more?

Posted by:Daniel Fienberg