I did not want to go to Compton and thanks to the 60 million people who voted to send Jacob Lusk home this week, I don't have to.
I thank you. My ears thank you. And the dogs of America who have been tortured by his increasingly shrieky performances over the last several weeks thank you.
After getting eliminated Thursday night, Lusk said that he feels America fell in love with him this season and that he can't wait to put out a truly great R&B album in the vein of the Luther Vandross. I wish him luck with that, however delusional it may be.
But moving forward, I think that Lusk's elimination could prevent this season from being the worst Idol season ever - yes, even though Pia Toscano was eliminated too soon.
Here are my season rankings from best to worst:
1 - Season 1: Not only was it the season that got this pop-culture phenomenon going, it produced Kelly Clarkson, who is now a superstar, and three B-list celebrities in Justin Guarini, Nikki McKibbin, Tamyra Gray, who still make headlines from time to time.
2 - Season 4: According to Forbes, this season's winner, Carrie Underwood, was the highest earning Idol alum last year and has sold 9.6 million records. She more than makes up for the rest of this season's mediocre cast.
3 - Season 2: Runner-up Clay Aiken has become something of a superstar for the GLBT community and has a loyal massive fanbase of mostly women called "Claymates." And winner Ruben Studdard, Kimberley Locke (third place) and Josh Gracin (fourth place) have all also had successful post-Idol careers. In fact, Gracin managed to put out an album that was certified Gold and a No.1 single on the Billboard country charts - AFTER he went back to finish his service in the Marines.
4 - Season 3: The Top 4 finalists - Jasmine Trias, La Toya London, Fantasia Barrino, Diana DeGarmo - mostly fizzled out and this season was marred by accusations of racism. But it produced superstar Jennifer Hudson and she won an Oscar for Pete's sake. This season also gave us... William Hung! That alone bumped it up at least one slot on my list.
5 - Season 5: Taylor Hicks and Elliot Yamin were busts, but fourth-place finisher Chris Daughtry was Forbes' third-highest earning Idol Alum last year ($10.2 million) and runner-up Katharine McPhee has enjoyed decent singing, acting and modeling career.
6 - Season 7 - Winner David Cook was the seventh-highest earning Idol alum last year ($2.8 million), just ahead of this season's cheeseball runner-up David Archuleta ($2.2 million). I admittedly have this season ranked so high mostly because my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed how Cook regularly reworked legendary songs to make them sound fresh.
7 - Season 10: I know, I know. The season isn't over yet and the judges have been terrible. But I have this season up this far for two good reasons - Scotty McCreery is going to be a country superstar whether he wins or not, it's only a matter of time. And James Durbin and Lauren Alaina have the potential to have semi-successful careers in their own genres as well. But even if they don't, McCreery will carry this season like Underwood and Clarkson have carried theirs.
8 - Season 8: Chris Allen and Adam Lambert were the only good things to come from this season. But Allen really hasn't done much other than perform for American Idol viewers and pitch Ford vehicles since. And Lambert, who was terrific during his season, has put out awful song after awful song since being upset in the final. I know Lambert's albums have done decently in sales, but the songs themselves are terrible.
9 - Season 9: Lee DeWyze's performances were fun to watch during his season, which was Simon Cowell's last. But the season lacked any real star power and I don't see it producing any superstars. Even though DeWyze and fellow Top 4 contestants Crystal Bowersox, Casey James and Michael Lynche should all be able to make a living off of their music. But the fact that "Pants on the Ground" is the most memorable song from this season moves it down a few pegs on this list.
10 - Season 6: Jordin Sparks was the fifth-highest earning Idol alum last year. That's it. It's the only good thing to say about a season that had Blake Lewis, Melinda Doolittle and Lakisha Jones in the Top 4.
If anyone but Lusk had been eliminated Thursday night, I think that it would have put this season closer to the bottom of this list and depending on who was eliminated, it had the potential to be the worst.
Votes will be more important than ever next week, with two males and two females, as well as two country singers, drawing votes from each other. Scotty and James "should" make it through the week, and who joins them will be up to which one of the girls has a stronger performance. With Lauren's confidence wavering, it could very easily be her time to head home.