Okay, my obligatory American Idol post for the week.

The media are going to make a lot of fuss about Pia Toscano being eliminated from the show tonight. She was an early favorite and, I’ll confess, in terms of raw vocal ability and control, Pia is probably (though not handily) the most impressive of all of the contestants.

That said, I’ve been suggesting for weeks that Pia needed a turn in the bottom three, and tonight she got it. It was just her bad fortune that her first turn in the bottom three was also the week she got eliminated. Though it isn’t particularly surprising. I’ve been saying all along that this season’s contestants are all talented, and this week in particular, the bottom nine were all largely impeccable. When all nine remaining contestants are as good as these kids are, somebody talented is going to go, and at that point, it’s inevitable that personality is going to be a factor. And Pia rarely evinced much personality.

Pia ToscanoBut what really lost it for her? This terrible costume that Gwen Stefani, apparently, helped her select. I mean, come on now–you’re not going to win American Idol dressed like a cow. Actually, that picture doesn’t even reveal how unflattering it was when seen live.

So yeah. Pia Toscano. Great singer. Nice girl. Not surprising that she received the fewest votes.

Moving on, it’s worth mentioning that one of the best contestants during this week’s show was Paul McDonald, about whom I’ve always been on the fence. I love the character in his voice, but his performances have ranged from “I don’t get it” to “Charming, but a little bit all over the place.” Paul narrowly escaped elimination last week, but Liliana and I were glad he got to stick around, because he brings something different to the line up. Not always great, mind you, but different.

But Paul really rocked it last night, doing Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues”. Easily, I think, the most fun performance of the night. My mother expressed my sentiments about it best when she said it was the only performance she didn’t want to end. So here it is, for those who missed it.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that the reviews on YouTube are mixed at best, polarized at worst. Paul is a queer duck with a very strange singing style, so it’s easy to understand why he isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. Hell, he’s not my cup of tea most weeks, but I did like him this week.

Apparently, there are a lot of Johnny Cash purists out there who just had to be douchey about it. But who’s really listening to the lyrics, anyway, when the song is performed with such infectious energy?

Speaking of douches…the American Idol judges. The extent to which they were appalled at tonight’s result was kind of gross and insulting. As I said, from this point on, somebody good is going to go home every week. That’s how the show works, you three.