"We decided, recently, we're going to make this a Top 13."
With those words from Simon Cowell, the American Idol-verse erupted with applause, because it meant that fan fave Anoop Desai would proceed into the next round of the Season 8 competition.
Anoop says, "It was intense" being plucked from the ashes at the end of Thursday's Wild Card show, after believing his run to be over. "It was the difference between having all of your dreams dashed, and seconds later they're alive again."
Immediately after the show, he says, "The producers and Simon and all the judges sort of apologized" for putting him through the emotional roller-coaster ride. Still, "It was a genuine shock for me," he says of his reversal of fortune. "I'm just glad I'm still here!"
As the show's "Lucky No. 13," does Anoop feel an added burden to now wow the crowd with his next performance and thus earn his salvation? Not really. "I happened to be the last one chosen," he says, "but I'm very comfortable with that."
The 22-year-old singer actually says the Idol audience is the biggest beneficiary of the Top 13 twist, as they will now get a slightly broader range of music to sample.
"Every one of the Top 13 is really, really talented, and has their own style," he points out. "I think it's going to be a boon for the show, because it will showcase that wide variety of talent."
What's your take, Idol fans? Is 13 in fact a lucky number, or is the expanded field just a publicity/ratings ploy?