March 03, 2005 01:12 AM by Joe Blackmon
Evidently responding to criticism over a brutal elimination process last week, Fox cut the Wednesday night results show back to 30 minutes and put on a kinder, gentler show. Ryan Seacrest gently broke the news to Celena Rae, Aloha Mischeaux, Joe Murena, and David Brown that they had been eliminated from the competition. Where was the drama? Where was the excitement? We miss the old "Ryanator." What happened to "You’re Out"? Just kidding. However, Joe Murena did raise a good point about screen time. While, screen time by itself doesn’t necessarily decide if a contestant is going forward, it can be an important factor. Bo Bice obviously didn’t need screen time, because he was virtually ignored by the producers in the early stages, but he put on a performance that could not be ignored by voters. David Brown received extensive screen time early on, but two lackluster performances in the competition were enough to send him home. However, for a contestant like Joe Murena who had a solid but not spectacular performance, more screen time could have been the difference between him lasting a couple more weeks in the competition. And who is to say that with a couple more weeks that he might not have had a spectacular performance. There is an obvious solution that we’re surprised hasn’t been implemented by Fox. American Idol 4 is a ratings powerhouse, and obviously Fox would probably like an hour long results show. Instead of attempting to stretch eliminations into an hour, how about a background segment piece on each contestant. Sure, there will still be complaints about some contestants having better background pieces than others, but the show told us virtually nothing about Joe Murena’s background, and we have to believe knowing something is better than knowing nothing.