"Nice Game Pretty Boy!"

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

"Ohh-my-God. The Queen is dead."

Is this our 2006 American Idol? Based on what we heard tonight, I think the answer is an emphatic "Yes." Taylor started by working the room with Stevie Wonder's "Just Enough for the City," which for me was the highlight of the entire night; then showed his tender side with a little Elton John, and closed with a gawd-awful American Idol single, "Do I Make You Proud," on which I thought he did an okay job, but seemed to greatly impress the judges. All of this appears to have been enough to put Taylor over the top to be crowned our first male American Idol since Reuben Studdard back in Season 2. What kind of Idol he'll be, is another story. Every time I hear Taylor sing, I feel like I'm listening to the Adult Contemporary station. The songs are nice, and he is fun to watch, but it all seems like something I would enjoy sipping a drink in the lounge with my parents, and not something that is going to have your average teenager donning a black concert t-shirt and asking for a ride to the local arena.

Katherine, God bless her, wasn't bad, but really didn't step up and grab the moment. Katherine suffered from some poor decision making--choosing to resing two songs she performed in the month of May really sucked a lot of the poignancy and spontaneity out of what were otherwise fine performances. I mean, her "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" was terrific, but we just heard it last week!! As soon as she started singing, I immediately lost interest and cranked up the PIP to check out the Mets-Phils game (what a finish!! Great comeback. Recap here). Even worse for Katherine, was some bad luck in the form of her Idol single, "My Destiny" an unremarkable bland ballad, into which Katherine could not inject any life, notwithstanding her earnest "Aw Shuks" smiles into the camera. My wife doesn't agree with this, but I find all of Katherine's on-stage emoting to be insincere and calculated plays to the camera. This, combined with her total incredulity every time a judge says anything negative, makes me think that she's just not that nice of a gal. Of course, I don't know her from a hole in the wall, so I have no idea what she's really like. But aren't those sort of shallow judgments are part of the Idol voting process (it certainly seems to factor into shows like The Apprentice).

In any case, I thought the real losers tonight were the Idol viewers and fans. First, we are forced to sit through retreads of songs that the contestants already performed. Why not something new and exciting? Why not let each contestant pick any song, by any artist from any era (subject, of course to clearance)? However, the real disappointments were the Idol singles themselves, which were supposed to be the show-stopping culmination of each contestant's journey though the contest. I don't know what it is about the show's songwriters that drives them to compose these saccharine-filled boring ballads as each contestant's debut single, but I think therein may lie the explanation for the disparity between the unparalleled success of the TV show and the tepid response each recent Idol winner seems to receive from the public when off on his or her own as a recording artist. If I heard either of last night's songs on the radio, I would immediately change the station. The situation is particularly troublesome in the case of Taylor, who made his Idol reputation as a hyperkinetic stage performer who ignite a crowd with his energy. By introducing Taylor Hicks to America as a newly-minted pop star with a klunker like "Do I Make You Proud," the shows producers are sending him up to the plate with a two-strike count. Can a stint on The Surreal Life really be far behind?

Of course, in 7 hours or so, we could find out Katherine won, and the whole thing will moot. Kelly Clarkson survived "A Moment Like This" to have a terrific career, so maybe Katherine could withstand "My Destiny" and become a hit as well. We will see.


  • Taylor is weak.

    McPhee and her two friends are much better singers.

    The best part of the show was Mary J. breaking down some U2 and Meatloaf staring at Katherine's boobs while he was pretending to 'feel the music'.

    Chris with Live was good, but I'm not into Christian Rock.

    The last few idol winners have been pretty dissapointing. They should stop letting the public choose after they get down to ten and let them pretend they are choosing because when left to the masses, the entire thing is screwed up.

    By Blogger michael o., at 2:30 PM  

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