As a general observation, I think veterans benefited from it more than newbies. Although newbies, in general, tend to not do as well in mini-seasons as they do in full ones. (less room for the learning curve to kick in and being able to carve out their own niche in the community) There is still definitely a few chances for newbies to still take this thing, but the numbers aren't in their favor at the moment.
I would probably also figure out a way to encourage teams to shuffle their memberships a bit, in order to get folks to meet new people. Not sure how well that one would work - since the thing that I've heard the most in favor of teams is that folks have liked being able to form and deepen existing relationships. I also put things in place that, if used, could have given people a reason to move around a little more. But not every twist is always seen for it's full potential the first time out. (some twists never are)
What are your "early takes" on the Teams? Is it something you'd like to see in the future? A nice "one time" experiment that you hope Idol never repeats? A little of both? ;)
This could be the last round you can use a Bye. So if anyone is hanging onto them - or wants to use a gift bye to help someone else out... now would be the time!
After this, no more safety net for anyone!
That being the case, it's also the last week to "tag out" with someone. (since that was based on being out of byes)
The topic thread: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/913429.html
The Work Room: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/913760.html