It’s her plank, and she’ll caw if she wants to. Yes indeed, Megan Joy (Corkrey), a woman who’s been labeled everything from the perfect package artist to a warbling, gyrating menace, exited American Idol on her own terms tonight: Flapping her arms and cawing like (quite literally) a loon, before finally breaking down in tears at the realization that she was about to go home to her toddler son.
To be perfectly honest, I still don’t know exactly how to feel about the particulars of Megan’s ouster from the competition, and I’m not sure I ever will — not without knowing what was in her heart during tonight’s glacially paced telecast. One minute, I was grumbling at the way The Artist Formerly Known as Corkrey appeared to be thumbing her beak at her participation in a show that maddeningly and consistently denied that same opportunity to so many incredibly talented singers over the opening nine weeks of the season. (I’ll spare you another litany of my fallen faves, but cannot resist the urge to list their initials, especially since there’s almost enough of ‘em to make up a summer season of Idol: KM, MH, JJ, RB, DB, LY, FB, JF, JM, JR, and JL.) It’s not like I was expecting Megan to act like she was about to get shipped off to the Gulag, but it was a little jarring to see her spend the hour making exaggerated faces, dancing a goofy jig, and imploring fellow bottom-three dwellers Anoop Desai and Allison Iraheta to ”don’t forget to caw!” after Ryan Seacrest sent them back to the Plush Couches of Safety.
But then again, none of us have walked a mile in one of Megan’s sleeveless ensembles, and I swear there were moments tonight when her face revealed a tug of war between pure panic and impending relief. Megan’s Idol tenure had reached (or, more accurately, gone past) its expiration date, a fact that couldn’t have been lost on the contestant herself. So why not have a few laughs on the way out? Why pretend she was still seeking Simon’s approval when it was pretty clear she’d never again have to justify her musical existence in front of the guy? Sure, she was openly disdainful when Ryan asked her how she felt about the British judge’s critique of her ”Turn the Lights Down Low” cover — ”I love you, Simon, but I didn’t really care” — but as Carly Smithson taught us last year, sometimes the worst thing a contestant can do is to keep seeking love from the stepfather who’s long since ceased to care.
Then again, it’s clear Simon wasn’t completely unaffected by Megan’s zinger, since he turned the judges’ refusal to consider using their veto on Megan into something very personal. ”With the greatest respect,” he huffed, ”when you said that you don’t care, nor do we. So I’m not gonna pretend that we’re even gonna contemplate saving you. So this is your swan song. Enjoy it.”
Um, actually, Simon, Megan didn’t say she didn’t care about the competition. She just said she didn’t care about your critique of her performance. There’s a difference. But thanks for making it all about you, buddy!
NEXT: An ode to Kara (sort of)