AUDIENCE SPLITS WITH JUDGES ON IDOL FINALISTS
Perhaps the reason why ratings for American Idol have been declining is that the judges and the audience are not on the same track. That judgment seemed to emerge from Thursday night’s vote when the audience eliminated Joshua Ledet, whom judge Randy Jackson had once called one of the “top two Idols of all time.” Clearly the favorite of all three judges, Ledet’s elimination came as something of a shock at the end of Thursday night’s results show — which wound up with Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez heading for the final title round next week. Even before Ledet’s elimination, Steven Tyler announced his choice, telling 16-year-old Sanchez, “I hope you get used to encores. You’ll be the last one standing, I believe.” But USA Today writer Craig Berman commented, “But that’s the Idol judges for you — spreading the compliments so lavishly that the viewers can’t help but tune them out.” Thursday night’s telecast attracted 17.3 million viewers, peaking in second hour with 18.6 million.