Did American Idol's inarguably charitable act — not sending home a contestant at the conclusion of "Idol Gives Back" week — put a small dent in the voting system's integrity? Was Elvis served well by his cameo? And who stands poised to rock Bon Jovi week? We asked Kimberly Caldwell and Rosanna Tavarez, the hosts of TV Guide Channel's Idol Chat, Idol Tonight and Reality Chat, for their takes on these topics and more.
TVGuide.com: "Idol Gives Back".... I feel cheated. I know it was supposed to be this "feel-good/charity" night and all, but...
Kimberly: See, I completely and totally did not feel cheated in the least. I thought that was the best Idol show ever, I really did. The [guest] performances were awesome, and I thought the kids really stepped it up this week with the inspirational songs.
Rosanna: I'm glad the focus was the charity event throughout and that it ended with no one going home. Really, could you have imagined it any other way? Awk-ward! It was a challenging show to work out, I'm sure, but in the end I feel they made all the right choices.
TVGuide.com: My beef, though, is with not voting anybody off. Idol has effectively tainted its own results, because booting two people this week will not necessarily, and probably won't, net you the same results.
Kimberly: No, probably not. But I also think that no matter which two go home, it's not going to be the two that would have been in the finale anyway. Whoever is the front-runner is going to be the front-runner in the end.
Rosanna: Good point. Unless, they're just retaining last week's results so that that contestant is "marked" and doesn't qualify regardless of how well he/she does. Then they just go with booting off the person with this week's lowest votes aside from last week's marked contestant. Hmmm?
TVGuide.com: But still, it allows for the remote possibility that whoever got the fewest votes last week could rebound and go on to win this thing. Someone who should not be in the competition could become the American Idol.
Kimberly: I guess.... It just doesn't bother me, it really doesn't. In my year [competing on Idol], Corey Clark was kicked out of the competition, so that week they didn't kick anybody off, which was a big surprise.
TVGuide.com: Do you think either of you could don a "Paula" disguise, get backstage and find out who actually got the lowest votes last week?
Kimberly: Yeah, right! I wish.
Rosanna: I can clap like her! Is that disguise enough?
TVGuide.com: Had you heard beforehand that no one would go home? Because there were some rumblings to that effect.
Kimberly: As soon as Ryan said this was going to be one of the most shocking results ever, I knew. I was like, "What else are they going to do?"
Rosanna: I had no clue and thought it really was going to be Jordin [leaving]. Then they would've gotten her moving performance twice in one night.
TVGuide.com: On a scale of 1 to 10, how mean was it to do that to poor Jordin?
Rosanna: 11. The child looked like she was about to pass out. Just cruel. That's not very charitable.
Kimberly: But if you listened, Ryan never said that anybody was in the bottom two or bottom three. Jordin was probably not in the bottom.
TVGuide.com: That's what the show rep said to me, that he wasn't naming off people in any particular order. But would you have screamed if she got cut? Or had you pegged it all as a hoax by that point?
Kimberly: I had figured it out. I wasn't concerned. I knew that if she was sent home, the competition was pretty much over.
Rosanna: They were fooling me, so yes, I would've gathered our Idol Tonight fans to storm the castle in retaliation for that injustice.
TVGuide.com: Celine and Elvis: Compelling or creepy?
Kimberly: [Laughs] I don't think either one. I think that it was not what anybody expected, and that's why it was cool. It was modern and new, and seeing Elvis on the Idol stage was really great. But at the same time, I was personally hoping for someone like Elton John or Prince or Madonna to sing with Celine. Somebody who is here today, who we could have seen a real, live performance from, a real duet.
Rosanna: For most of the song I thought it was a bit odd and interesting at the same time. Then I was riveted by the fact that Elvis was lit as though he were on stage. His "presence" looked pretty convincing.
TVGuide.com: I happened to notice that toward the end of the duet, when the finalists joined them on stage, Sanjaya was part of the group, because they must have had to tape the Celine portion at least a week in advance.
Kimberly: Yeah. I knew that they had taped it, because one of our [TV Guide Channel] crew members worked on that.
Rosanna: Kudos to you for observing that, Matt! I was still looking at Elvis' lighting.
TVGuide.com: Who, living or dead, would you like to duet with?
Rosanna: Thom Yorke from Radiohead or Celia Cruz... the list goes on.
Kimberly: I would say Wynona Judd or Anne Wilson from Heart.
TVGuide.com: Not going for Janis Joplin?
Kimberly: Ooh, I love Janis Joplin.... How about Melissa Etheridge? I love Melissa Etheridge.
TVGuide.com: They promised a lot of special guests for "Idol Gives Back" who never actually showed. What was the most disappointing absence for you?
Kimberly: Johnny Depp! He was totally not there. But Annie Lennox's performance was my favorite. She's a great, amazing, phenomenal idol.
Rosanna: Agreed!! Where was Johhny Depp singing "Staying Alive"?!
TVGuide.com: Bono — is he the grown-up love child of Chris R. and Blake?
Kimberly: My god... you are so sick. And so right.
Rosanna: Um... what?! I don't see that at all. And in more than one way that would be physically impossible.
TVGuide.com: Kelly Clarkson — pregnant, or simply a tragic fashion victim?
Kimberly: Next question! Ask [Idol Chat/Idol Tonight cohost] Justin [Guarini]. [Laughs]
Rosanna: Not pregnant! She looked cute!
TVGuide.com: What are your predictions for Bon Jovi week?
Kimberly: Phil will do really good. He's been kicking butt the past couple of weeks. That, and just that I will be very jealous and bitter for the entire week.
Rosanna: I agree. I'm looking forward to seeing what Phil will do. It's rock, so he'll have to decide — to twang or not to twang? That is the question.
TVGuide.com: Did they even have guest mentors back during your Idol run, Kimberly?
Kimberly: No, they did not. All we had were guest judges, and they would just do "Paula" to us.
TVGuide.com: It was like, "Your guest mentor this week is... Lenny, the manager of the Sam Goody on Wilshire!"
Kimberly: Yeah, me and Justin are jealous and bitter for sure.
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