"Judges' decision" to be 'Grease's regular elimination format
By Christopher Rocchio, 02/16/2007
America will ultimately have the final say in who wins NBC's Grease: You're the One That I Want, but until then, it's the judges who will decide which Danny and Sandy hopefuls are eliminated following live performances.
On last Sunday's Greaseepisode, the bottom four vote-getters from the previous broadcast's performances were revealed and then had to compete in a "sing-off." However the two contestants who received the fewest votes from home viewers -- Allie Schultz, a 19-year-old ballroom dance studio clerk from Nashville, TN, and Jason Celaya, a 31-year-old teacher from Foster City, CA -- were spared elimination.
Instead, Grease's judges decided to override America's vote and send home each group's second lowest vote getters: Matt Nolan, a 22-year-old professional sports publicist from Rockville Centre, NY, and Ashley Anderson, a 21-year-old waitress from Nashville, TN.
The New York Daily Newsreported on Tuesday that a NBC spokesperson called the sing-off "a surprise twist for the audience" while reiterating that during the season finale, "America's viewers -- and only America's viewers -- will decide which Sandy and which Danny will star in the new Broadway production."
On Friday, Grease's NBC spokesperson confirmed to Reality TV World that last Sunday's format for eliminating contestants will be "how it will be every week except for finale" and was not just a one week twist.
Unfortunately for viewers, the "twist" means that Grease co-creator Jim Jacobs, Tony Award-winner Kathleen Marshall and theatre producer David Ian, who serve as the reality competition's three regular judges, will be receiving more power than NBC previously announced.
According to NBC press materials released before Grease's live performance shows began (and before NBC ordered two additional live episodes and added Matt and Ashley into the show's original group of 12 finalists) "the top 12 contestants from Grease Academy will perform each week in six live episodes, and America will decide which Danny and Sandy hopefuls will be eliminated each week."
While the elimination model Grease is now using is unusual, it's not unheard of.
During the first season of Fox's So You Think You Can Dance series, the show's judges chose three couples as the worst of the week, and those six dancers went into an individual dance-off, with one male and one female contestant then being eliminated based on viewer votes.
On So You Think You Can Dance'ssecond season, the voting was completely the opposite, as viewers voted for the three worst couples and the judges decided which one of the three male and three female contestants that had received the fewest viewer votes ould be sent home each week.
However after the first five weeks of So You Think You Can Dance's second seasonfinals, the elimination process changed again. Viewers began voting for individual dancers, and the male and female who received the lowest votes were sent home each week, with the judges having no direct control over the elimination process.