Tuesday, May 22, 2007

American Idol 6: The Top 2 Continue This Farcical Season While the True Winner Sits Home

I'm writing this recap under protest, and call me sour grapes if you want. I'm going to miss Melinda tonight. There have been any number of articles out there speculating whether Melinda's elimination was set-up in order to dispel rumors of contest-rigging to voting irregularities in the phone systems. I'm not going to speculate about all that. I'm just going to say that I miss Melinda, but have had enough of you ask me privately to finish out the season, so I don't want to disappoint you.

Deep breath...pretend Melinda was never on this season...and continue...

It comes down to Idol's favorite formula: one male versus one female. The two are so spectacularly different from each other that it's really hard to put one over the other based on their individual merits in their individual genres and fields. It's like asking you whether a back rub is better than a juicy steak. There's very little with which to create parallels.

Time for damage control. Ryan quickly calls up the issue of Paula's nose. Apparently, Paula broke her face last night, stumbling around her apartment in a drunken haze. She says she tripped over her dog, a St. Bernard, who was sitting there quietly holding her keg of whiskey for her. It looks like some cosmetic surgery might be in order, because whatever's already on that mug of hers could use some straightening out at this point.

At this point, Ryan uses the advent of having an actual dog in the story to say "the b***h is alright." Which in his universe was meant to be funny, because, you know, he got to call Paula the B-word. Real inventive and hilarious, in the sense of NOT. Ryan has the comedic skills of a frightened skunk.

We go back in time to the Seattle competition and the freakishly weird contestants that crawled out of the rain. The northwest brought out both of our finalists this year, though, so it can't be all that bad, right? (I'm trying here, people.) I can't imagine that much rain. Down here in the Mid-South, we only get that in May. I might need a summer home in Washington.

I do like Jordin, though. I can't lie. She's a breath of fresh air. And I can't hate Blake either. Neither of them are really offensive. Tonight is going to be really light on the snark, because at this point, I'd be willing to stick the crown on both of them. In any case, the true winner is decided by CD sales long after the curtain falls, so it's going to take a few months for all this to shake out. Just ask Taylor Hicks. That being said, and based on the ratings dip this year, I don't expect this season's contestants to experience as robust sales as some previous seasons, at least not right away. Then again, they might surprise me. If we are to learn the lesson from Season 5, releasing independently can also be better for your career, vis a vie Elliott Yamin. Oh well, I'll buy the CDs that come out anyway. Man, I am such an A.I. sheep sometimes.

And the coin is tossed... Blake wins the call, and he chooses to kick-off and picks the west goal-line due to wind conditions. Actually, he just decides to sing. And it will be his fan-favorite performance of Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name." I wasn't a big fan of this the first time, and I'm trying to give it a chance this time, since apparently everybody besides me thought it was the second coming of the Sex Pistols. I'm still ready for the beat box to be done and gone, but I'm finding more merit with the performance this time. There's nothing to be said for pitch this time, as Blake rarely stays on it, but in terms of performance, the man does put on a good show. It does suffer a bit from the stale factor, since he didn't do it any differently than he did the first time, but overall, it was a'ight. Randy nails him on the singing, which as a criticism was completely on point. Oh wow, couldn't Paula have taken the day off? That nose thing is a MESS! And I can't understand her. Surely Olivia Newton-John could've cleared a night in her schedule. C'mon producers! Get the rumor mill started again already! Simon thinks Blake's a better performer than a singer. He said something along the line of "best performer ever," but let's be real here...Bo Bice could perform circles around Blake. But Bo isn't here this year, so we have to go with what we've got. I do like Blake's outfit tonight, though.

Jordin is taking a risk singing Christina Aguilera's "Fighter." Unfortunately, with this song, you REALLY have to come out of the corner with both fists swinging, and Jordin kind of came out swatting with a feather duster. The band failed her. Ricky Minor is talented and all, but the band hasn't done much in the way of blowing my mind this year. This song is a classic example of age working against Jordin. This song is about a woman who has had unbelievable hurdles to overcome. Jordin just doesn't have the cynicism or jadedness or even the background to identify with it, and it shows. Also, when you're up against a voice like Xtina's, you're up against a rather tall brick wall, and if you don't match it, you can't do justice to the song. Jordin fell short here. Jordin does NOT fall short standing next to Ryan Seacrest, though. Randy thought her vocals were stellar, and Paula incorrectly states that this is the best finale ever. Hyperbole doesn't serve this crew well this late in the game. Simon calls her shrieky, and he assigns winner-ship of round 1 to Blake. Paula again refuses to pick. She never will, no matter how many times she is asked the question, so I have no idea why Ryan continues to inquire. Randy remains equally non-committal.

Begin the retrospective of Blake and the Beat Box. The really really REALLY tired beat box. Talk about jumping the shark...the beat box is somewhere in the Mid-Pacific on a Hawaiian cruise at this point. It's sitting on deck sipping pina coladas and talking to the sunbathing women. Blake's going to perform "She Will Be Loved," which is a first for him (the song, not the Maroon 5 thing.) It's sort of all over the place, and he should not ever...ever...EVER attempt falsetto like that again. Oh my, that was rough. The pitch problems are a bit much to handle too. I don't know why he continues to choose these slow songs. The only good thing about this performance is that the beat box is conspicuously absent. Sorry, Blake fans, but that was worse than some of what Sanjaya did this year. Randy calls it natural and pure, while Rick Shroeder in all his bloatedness is out in the audience. Paula's nose AND ears are broken. Simon calls it safe and boring, and says it's a poor choice for the finale. Ryan assigns cool points to Blake for having never watched a previous Idol finale, and meanwhile the votefortheworst crew are busily scribbling down his number.

In case you forgot, Jordin is young. Being on Idol is the most amazing thing she's ever witnessed since the miracle of her birth a couple of months ago. Just in case you didn't remember, Jordin is young, and Idol will nail it home a few more times for you before the show is complete. She's singing Martina McBride's "Broken Wing." Now this is more like it. Jordin's much more comfortable with this type of song than the angry chick rock she seems to like to attempt. I wonder if Simon will criticize this as being safe. Jordin wraps up the song in a pretty little bow, and this round definitely goes to Miss Sparks. That was hot. Randy calls it flawless, unbelievable, and then he steps over the line with "better than the original," which unfortunately it was NOT. Nothin' but love, J-Spark, close but no cigar. Still good though. As Simon said.

The song-writing competition winners are in the house. Their song "This is My Now," promises to be a snore-fest. I can tell from the beginning that it's going to be some of the most sappy dreck ever. There is a reason, folks, why I have not reviewed the song-writing competition. And that is because I didn't have enough toothpaste to keep the cavities away. Someone please tell me exactly HOW this song is different than any of the other crappy coronation songs from the past? Please? It's just another non-descript song that will immediately be relegated to the winner's past, never performed again, and available for 50 cents in the used CD's scratched bin. Especially since Mr. Pitchy B-Shorty can't fully render it live. My wife thinks it's a pretty song, and then it hit me what the issue with this song is: it's the kind your girlfriend likes. It's formulaic, safe, unoriginal, has mildly pleasing harmonies, a semi-uplifting-if-brainless set of lyrics, and the voice of a finalist. It's the kind of song that Kelly Clarkson would refuse to record for her third album. Randy thought it was a weird song for Blake. The judges know it's bad, but because 19 picked the song, they can't criticize it, and Simon urges us to judge Blake based on his first two performances. Ryan actually said "well, you did the best you could with that song." Oh Ryan, the things you say, and the Freudian qualities of them! Because, y'know, that song stinks. Blake bit his tongue, because these gimpy-looking contest winners may possibly have written the song that drove the nail into his coffin.

Because we've all been bad little boys and girls this year, Santa Seacrest has brought us the opportunity to hear this song yet one more time. It suits Jordin quite a bit more than Blake. Folks, I think we're seeing a foreshadowing of tomorrow night. Advantage Jordin, because this coronation song is right in her wheelhouse and way outside of Blake's. Even though this song was cribbed from EVERY OTHER CORONATION SONG in this show's history (and perhaps in the history of music) and is completely unoriginal and trite, Jordin does a better job with it. That's really all it boils down to. And the tears at the end of the song will only serve to get her fans' dialing fingers flexed. Randy calls her the best singer of the night, and Constantine stares at the floor, sort of embarrassed to be there. Paula's face lets something slip through, and I've given up translating her tonight. Simon publicly apologizes for saying that Jordin wasn't good enough for the finals, and he states that she wiped the floor with Blake. I think we're witnessing the chosen one.

Based SOLELY on tonight, I would have to award the crown to Jordin. I'm pulling for both of them. I'll be happy with the results either way tomorrow. Well, as happy as I can be without Melinda... I might be slightly more happy with a Jordin win, though. :)

See ya tomorrow!

Oh wait, Daughtry is on. Whoever did the sound check on the rhythm guitar cranked it up way too loud. It is nice to see Chris with a guitar in his hand, though. I wished all last season that he'd break one out. I'm totally proud of how well he's done, though. I have to admit having completely forgotten about Sundance Head until I saw him on the screen behind Daughtry though.

Alright, see ya tomorrow for real this time.


At 9:10 PM, Blogger Colleen said...

JD, I missed the show for the first time EVER! UGH! Thank God you had a recap up or I might have had to freak out. Thanks for everything this season!!

At 9:18 PM, Anonymous jordin fan said...

I have to disagree that the better singer is sitting home, not because she was sitting in the audience, but because to some she is not the better singer. Hands down, Jordin is way better than Melinda. Of course, it's a matter of opinion and not everyone will like the same singer. Either one can win tomorrow and it will be good, but I do think that Jordin is the better vocalist, Blake the better performer. Loved Daughtry, but man oh man, why did Chris have on eyeliner and eyeshadow? You're losing a bit of your steam, bring back the old j.d., the really funny laugh out loud causing reviews! And Melinda will make out fine, you'll be seeing her cd in the next year, so don't be so down. She's good. Go Jordin!

At 11:15 PM, Anonymous Kathy said...

You know, JD, just like you said it's apples and oranges, trying to compare Blake and Jordin, it's the exact same thing when people constantly compare Taylor and Daughtry. Can't be done!

Yes, Chris has been wildly successful in cd sales. Taylor has been wildly successful touring, and in many other areas. He's jammed with (and earned the respect of) people/groups like Widespread Panic, Snoop Dog, Willie Nelson, Keb Mo', the Allman Bros., Marty Stewart, etc.

He's sung for the President, and been a charismatic representative for AI on all the talk and entertainment shows. He's played in charity golf tournaments and donated a LOT of money (and time) to charities. He's written a book that will be coming out in July, and after finishing a national (mostly sold-out) tour a couple of weeks ago, he's preparing for a summer tour beginning June 14th. He has a wonderful band and when you see them on stage performing, you can tell that they're having a great time and that they all love working with Taylor. He's stayed down to earth and accessible. His has good friends travel with him and they "keep him grounded."

Tomorrow, when taylor performs on the finale, I hope that the three judges and the other "Powers that Be" give him the recognition and kudos he deserves. (They certainly haven't given him any support or publicity as far as his album goes.) He's been a great ambassador for American Idol and has represented them with class and integrity.

When Taylor takes the stage on Wednesday, I think you'll see the excitement level rise more than a few notches. What I really hope more than anything else, is that people (the media especially) will realize that the competition is over - and that success isn't measured by cd sales alone. Taylor Hicks is a success - both personally and professionally. And when he's finished performing tomorrow night, check out the audience. They'll all be smiling - because that's what Taylor does best - he makes people happy!

At 5:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

jd- what ya think about ths theory-
Melinda was too old to be a American idol?

At 6:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now, I like some pretty cheesy stuff, the Backstreet Boys being the prime example. But this girlfriend (or wife, in my case) does NOT like the coronation song. I would never buy that song, but I'd also likely never buy a Jordin Sparks album despite the fact that she's a great singer. It's not my thing. I can deal with cheese much better from guys than from girls.

Even so, the coronation song was a horrible fit for Blake. I was miserable for him but glad that they publicly acknowledged how strange a song it was for him. I'm glad he looked uncomfortable doing it, because it would have been even worse if he'd tried to look happy to be singing it.


At 7:37 AM, Blogger J.D. said...

Sorry, Jordin Fan...Melinda's hands down a better singer than Jordin. That's never been up for debate, even among the Idols themselves.

And like I said, the reason I don't have as much to poke fun at is that the lesser contestants have been shaken out...not much to laugh at besides Paula and that ridiculous songwriter-competition snore-fest.

Anon, I don't know that Melinda was too old...Bo was older than her, but then again he didn't win either. Actually, Taylor Hicks is older than her too.


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