~March 11, 2009~
Americans voted nearly 33 million times, making sure their voice was heard. But will it be the last time the American public has sole choice in what singer should go on, unhindered by judge oversight? See what the new rule is all about and what two contestants got a plane ticket home.

Contrary to popular belief, the bombshell announcement came at the beginning of the show instead of the end. Ryan immediately cut to what's now known as "The Judges' Save". The judges have the option of saving one contestant America has chosen to vote off. You saw it in action last night: while the designated "loser" sings their song, the judges deliberate on whether they would like to save them. They only have one save to use before the Top 5 and they have to decide on that person unanimously. The week the save is used, no one is eliminated and then the following week, two are dropped. That's the bombshell new rule and it will absolutely change the face of the competition.
Why have a Judges' Save?

It was designed because of such greats as Chris Daughtry and Jennifer Hudson. Remember them? Of course you do. Why? Because they were amazingly talented people who were voted off the competition far too soon. I clearly remember Jennifer Hudson after getting voted off saying, "This is a talent competition and I got gypped." We all know how that ended, though. Finishing in the Top Six was no hurdle for her as she went on to a successful singing and acting career. It's possible her not winning the competition was the best thing that ever happened to her. Chris Daughtry is another success story. You could see the shock on his face when Katherine McPhee went on to be in the Top 3 and he was voted off. His fans were shocked too. Fuel asked him to be their lead singer just hours after he was voted off the show. After much soul-searching, he decided to form a band on his own and "Daughtry's" first album sold four million copies. It's proved to be a good move for him as well. So the Judges' Save will breathe new life into a singer who maybe didn't get enough votes or picked a poor song that week.
My Reaction

I actually really like this idea. You know my fear was that the judges were taking the voting power out of the people's hands. But this system is by no means doing that. It's not putting all of the power into one person. There can't be any hidden agendas on what singer one judge wants because the judges will be keeping each other in check. And it doesn't determine who wins; it solely gives one person another chance one time. It's going to be really interesting to see who it's used on and how things turn out for them.
Contestants' New Digs

After that announcement, we got to see the unbelievable mansion the contestants will be staying in. The gated $40 million, 20,000 square foot home to the hopefuls for the next ten weeks has an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, a bowling alley, a basketball court and a screening room. It's spacious, it's luxurious and likely far beyond the means of any of the finalists. It's been years since the Idols were housed in their own residence and it will be nice for them to be there instead of in hotel rooms. What people watching the show probably don't realize is the Idols won't have a lot of time to use all of the amenities. They are generally kept going from morning until night between rehearsals, events and promos. But either way, it's definitely something lovely to come home to.
Group Sing

The Top Thirteen did a Michael Jackson medley for the Group Sing and some wondered how that would work for Scott MacIntyre. The choreographed part of the show could prove to be difficult for someone who has been almost completely blind since birth. But he moved easily with the guidance of the Idols around him and it just became a part of the singing routine. It was very cool.
Here's a Rant-ito (also known as a little rant)

Can everyone please learn Scott MacIntyre's name? He's too often referred to as the blind guy and it would just be nice for people to actually know the name of the talented individual he is instead of solely referring to that one aspect of him.
On to the safe... and the uncertain

Michael Sarver
and Allison Iraheta both went through but Jasmine Murray went front and center as possibly going home. She had to wait as Matt Giraud and Kris Allen were told they were safe. Then Megan Corkrey joined her and waited to find out their fate. I thought -- complete no brainer, between those two based on last night's performance, Jasmine will sail through. Imagine my shock and dismay when Jasmine was the one to go. She sang her song the final time while judges deliberated about whether to save her. Randy snuffed out any ray of hope she might of had.
Sweet moment

Jasmine watched the montage of her journey with Idol with tears streaming down her face. Ryan hugged her and told her "You really are talented, tremendous, we've enjoyed having you." Ryan genuinely said the best words for such a hard time. I really like him and how well he does with people. He seems to truly care and constantly remembers these singers are people and not commodities whose humanity should be forgotten.