Here’s the thing with Siobhan Magnus: She was a mass of contradictions during her “American Idol” stay, which made her 100 percent more interesting than the blandness of the other remaining finalists.
The glassblower from Massachusetts might have dressed like she spent 95 percent of her allotted shopping time searching for the right pair of glasses and just grabbed whatever was left on the sales rack, but the style fit her persona perfectly. She seemed like the dullest person on Earth in her pre-show videos, but one of the most colorful performers once the music started.
Magnus meekly answered Ryan Seacrest’s pre-show questions, then confidently parried with the judges when they criticized her. She was never the best, but always did enough to keep her out of trouble.
Until this week.
Magnus became the seventh singer, and the fifth woman, voted off “Idol” on Wednesday, depriving the show of arguably its most interesting finalist. Now we’re left with Crystal Bowersox, Lee Dewyze, Casey James, Aaron Kelly and Michael Lynche, contestants who (apart from Bowersox) barely have enough edginess among them to warrant a PG rating.
Making the result even more disappointing was that the Wednesday show was surprisingly dull, despite having four live performances, the Siobhan send-off song, a “Shrek” montage, a behind-the-scenes montage before the Ford ad and the usual time-killing filler. When Lady Antebellum sang “Need You Now,” it reminded me of what I sorely needed to get through the final 20 minutes … a cup of strong black coffee.
The show was filled with musical acts plugging new songs, upcoming tours or both. Shakira was excellent and surprisingly understated; Lady Antebellum did her best to get people even more sick of her signature song than they were already; and Rascal Flatts and Sons of Sylvia (who you may remember as The Clark Brothers from “The Next Great American Band,” but probably not, since only seven or eight people watched the show) also performed.
It seemed like everyone but Shania Twain got their chance to sing, which was odd considering Twain was the week’s guest mentor. No word on where she was. (Perhaps she was so hurt at Simon Cowell’s criticism of one of her songs Tuesday night that she couldn’t bear to come back. Or maybe she just didn’t want to miss “Modern Family.”)
In between all that, Ryan and the judges managed to conduct the business of booting a contestant. Lynche and James were also in the bottom three, meaning Kelly was one of the top three vote-getters, which means a lot of people out there owe me an explanation.
With the show running short for the first time in recorded history, Ryan had a lot of time-wasting to do late in the show. One of the resulting bits provided the most comic moment of the night — when he asked Shakira to give the contestants advice: “It comes to my mind that sentence, that quote from Roosevelt: … Keep your eyes on stars, but remember to keep your feet on the ground,” she said.
To which Ryan, Rascal Flatts and millions of viewers shouted, “That’s Casey Kasem! ‘Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars!’ ”
In the end, Siobhan was the singer who had her feet cut out from under her, and after hugging her parents and Simon, and being reminded that she had a pending engagement on Ellen’s show, she was gone.
The hype this season was that it was the year of the woman, but with a month left in the season, her exit left Bowersox the lone female left to carry the banner.
Craig Berman is a writer in Washington. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/craigberman.