Every year, “American Idol” goes through the long process of selecting a singer out of thousands (usually over 100,000) of hopefuls to become the next American pop sensation. The show has become a pageant for itself and a showcase for the nation’s most talented — and untalented — amateur — and not so amateur — performers. And as the job of selecting the next American Idol is handed over to the viewing voting public, critic and heckler website “Vote For The Worst” has been there (since Season 3) to ridicule, poke fun, laugh at, and nominate finalists they believe are not very good — or are the quirkiest, or maybe the most disliked, or just the most entertaining — in an effort to skew the numbers just enough to keep those contestants in the competition. Why? To provide balance with the show’s (and other shows like it) seeming shepherding of opinion toward a certain group of candidates.
“Vote For The Worst” certainly had its work cut out for it this season, especially with the field being so talented (something a plethora of statements on the site denies). There were also the clear frontrunners, contestants the show follows (as they do each season), like James Durbin and Casey Abrams, Lauren Alaina and Julie Zorrilla. And then there are the glaring biased judges’ remarks, like Steven Tyler’s calling Alaina “the one” and Jennifer Lopez telling her fellow panelists at the San Francisco auditions that Zorrilla might be the winner. Then there’s Randy Jackson telling Jacob Lusk that his performance of “God Bless The Child” might be the best single performance in “American Idol” history, not to mention his telling Casey Abrams that he might be the most talented contestant ever.
But mistakes are made. Timing goes off. Singers forget lines or do something impromptu — or practiced — that looks strange, amusing, or awful. And with that in mind, the first “Worst” candidate of the season on “Vote For The Worst,” chosen after Tuesday’s Top 12 guys’ performances, was young Brett Loewenstern, with “Vote For The Worst” noting that his hair whipping antics were what put him in over top of Jordan Dorsey’s simply awful “OMG” performance.
(At least if Brett Loewenstern makes the Top 10, he’s far more deserving than Jordan Dorsey, who may not be the worst in the competition this season, but he certainly was on Tuesday evening. Tim Halperin also performed poorly, oddly reminding this writer of last season’s Tim Urban — but that may have been caused by suggestion due to similarity of name.)
“VFTW” thinks the girls are the most talented this season although they believe that the guys are going to be more entertaining. After the Top 12 girls performances on Wednesday night, “Vote For The Worst” easily chose Rachel Zevita. And rightly so. Her “cape of wonder” (at the beginning of her number, she stood with her arms upraised and cloaked; when the music began, she whipped her cape off, revealing herself in a short sequined form-hugging dress), out-of-breath performance, and her vamping up her stage presence didn’t help. “We always pick the entertaining WTF,” the blog reads, “so Rachel Zevita gets our love this week.”
(In this instance, “VFTW” got it exactly right. Rachel Zevita went all Broadway and made a wreck of “Criminal.” The judges called her out on it and, if there is any justice on the planet, she won’t make the Top 10.)
And if one were to sit back and dismiss the power of “Vote For The Worst,” it must be noted that they have an avid following and this year, with the advent of online voting, also have two weapons at their disposal to lodge more votes for those they’ve chosen as the representative worst. So even if one were to think that Brett Loewenstern’s version of the Doors’ “Light My Fire” wasn’t all that bad but still undeserving of your vote to keep him on “American Idol,” there are those motivated just enough by “VFTW” to perhaps get him the votes he needs to continue on.
The same can be said of Rachel Zevita. Even if everyone thought her performance was the worst, with a backer like “Vote For The Worst,” plus those who have become her fans, we could see the 23-year-old New Yorker in the Top 10 after Thursday night’s results show.
And here’s the thing: If neither makes the cut via the voter results, Brett Loewenstein might still win a reprieve when the judges announce their Wild Card picks. It is a pretty safe bet that Rachel Zevita will not. Even professional oddsmakers have little faith in her, placing her dead last to win Season 10 at 50/1 odds.
Whether what the website does has any true effect or not on the total votes at “American Idol,” the blogs are entertaining as hell and provide a respite from all the serious chatter of who did what and who’s going to win that comprises most of the usual chatter about “American Idol.” And they shouldn’t be too lightly dismissed. Although it is unknown, it is firmly believed that “VFTW” is part of the reason contestants like Sanjaya Malakar, Tim Urban, and Megan Joy Corkrey remained contenders for as long as they did.
“Whip Your Hair Back and Forth and Vote for Brett Loewenstern – 1-866-436-5705,” VoteForTheWorst.com
“Vote for Rachel Zevita And Her Cape of Wonder – 1-866-436-5704,” VoteForTheWorst.com