'American Idol' Recap: Robbie Got Robbed - Rolling Stone
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‘American Idol’ Recap: Robbie Got Robbed

In the anointing of the final thirteen, everyone got jerked around – one contestant more than the rest

Robbie Rosen, 17, from Merrick, New York.

Michael Becker / FOX

Poor Robbie Rosen. Last night he was always the friend, never the boyfriend. And it was all by design. The first sour note struck with Ryan’s sinister promise of “drama like you’ve never seen before … live!” Anyone who guarantees drama in a live production clearly has a foolproof plan. Ryan explained it: Rather than announce the ten chosen singers in one go, all undramatic-like, he’d pull out smaller groups and eliminate from within. The judges would then re-audition a select few of the rejects for wild card slots, pushing resolution until the last possible moment. In other words: Drama like you’ve never seen before!

Robbie mounted the chopping block first, alongside Scotty “Babylock” McCreery. Since drama was a chief concern, Ryan made it seem like Scotty and Robbie were fighting for a single spot. After a prolonged nail-biting time, Scotty heard the good word and Robbie didn’t. There’s still the wild card, Robbie fans across the nation murmured. In the meantime, more groups stepped out, and some or all or none of the members stepped through. The new revelation that the group formations were clearly just a time killer caused a momentarily cooling of drama. Finally the ten emerged: the One (Lauren Alaina), the growlsinger (Haley Reinhart), the 15-year-old (Thia Megia), the aggressively proud Latina (MySpace’s Karen Rodriguez), the standing O (Pia Toscano), the quirky guy (Casey Abrams), the other quirky guy (Paul McDonald), the screamsinger (James Durbin), the one who sounds like he’s undergoing exorcism all the time (Jacob Lusk) and the Baby lock them doors-enthusiast (Scotty “Babylock” McCreery).

Now was the time for the truly desperate. The judges announced their wild carders: Ashthon Jones, Stefano Langone (a Marc Anthony lookalike who J. Lo has a crush on), Kendra Chantelle, Jovany Barretto, Naima Adedapo (a Na’vi lookalike who Steven has a crush on), and finally, Robbie Rosen. Poor Robbie Rosen. The five ahead of him sang adequately enough. After each of them finished, the judges said things like, “You’ve tried your best and that’s all you can do,” and “I just love your attitude.” Gentle break-up lines. It seemed like Robbie had a window. When it came time, the lights “dimmed” to blood red. His mouth opened. A sound came out. It was … earth-shattering? That’s what it seemed like, at least in the cross-section of the earth that is the American Idol Superdome. His female competitors wept and the men shook their heads in disbelief. The cameras caught him from every angle, as if he was to be studied. When he was done, his mom did a fist pump. She knew. “The Robbie we fell in love with is back,” the judges pronounced. They begged for more time, and Ryan discovered a brand new J. Lo music video he could play in the interim. Phew! At long last, they were ready to declare the winners of their little contest: Ashthon, Stefano and … Naima. Yes, the judges chose Naima. After all that jazz, Robbie Rosen had to pack it up and go home, to meditate on the fact that he and he alone gave us drama like we’ve never seen before.

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