Thursday, May 24, 2007

AMERICAN IDOL FINALE

At least this year’s AMERICAN IDOL FINALE featured music numbers and actual entertainment. Sure, there was as much suspense as watching the Yule Tide Log but at least the show wasn’t padded with scenes of Simon in the make up chair, Paula walking it off, and former contestants now turned hard news correspondents reporting from filled arenas where thousands of people with no lives assembled because one drunk yelled “tailgate party!”

IDOL is tape delayed here in Hawaii. No wonder there hasn’t been a Hawaiian finalist since season 3. The polls close two hours before they can vote. (and half of them would still be voting for Jasmine Trais while the other half would vote to repeal statehood.)

Was there ever any doubt Jordin was going to win? Especially after she and Blake both had to sing that cringeworthy “This is My Now” power ballad. I do think there’s a place for that song though. It should be playing on an endless loop in Jerry Falwell’s casket for all eternity. And Chris Richardson should record it.

Randy Jackson wore his formal majorette jacket to mark the enormity of the occasion. As William Faulkner might describe Randy: "He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary." Sorry, dawg, just keepin’ it real.

Meanwhile, over on the season finale of LOST, Kate is strapped naked to a big wooden wheel about to be sacrificed... but back on IDOL Blake Lewis and two beatboxers are doing mouth farts into microphones.

So she wouldn’t forget to take her used bedding to the cleaners, Gwen Stefani wrapped them in a ball and attached it to the back of her dress.

Notice how the Top 12 was used very sparingly unlike previous years? No big Top 12 production numbers that felt like the best of H.R. Puffenstuff.

Kelly Clarkson is the American Idol’s American Idol. The others are just her backup singers. I loved Carrie Underwood’s dress. She could go from the prom to bailing hay in five minutes. Poor Rubin Studdard didn’t even get a solo.

This is the first season there hasn’t been a finalist from the south. Hopefully America has learned its lesson after selecting that grey haired buffoon who has been nothing but a joke and disappointment. Same goes for Taylor Hicks.

Taylor's brown jacket was from Aunt Tillie’s couch. He sang “Give Me Some Slack”. Katharine McPhee is singing “Give Me the Title”.

Six months from now it all begins again. Predictions that the ratings will drop, stadiums filled with the great unwashed, six nights of deluded idiots with big targets on their chests all hoping to be the next Kelly Clarkson or even better, William Hung. The judges looking stunned for the ten millionth time. Great guest judges like Englebert Humperdink and Tiffany. Then Hollywood week. Kids who in a few weeks will be asked to perform live for thirty million people can’t remember the words to “Rockefeller Skank” when singing for three. Late night hissy fits when they’re put into groups of four and given the almost impossible task of preparing the first stanza of the “Shoop Shoop Song” for tomorrow. Then two nights of eliminating groups and individuals, and watching kids with bad teeth cry. And after all that (with five added “re-cap” shows) we’re left with the top 24, 15 of which can’t sing. Thank God we’ve got the summer tour (150 cities in 49 days), CD, Ryan will be on E! 24 hours a day even being featured in the E! TRUE HOLLYWOOD STORY of Kristy MacNichol, Haley will be in PLAYBOY, Antonella will be in SHAVED, and Sanjaya as the new co-host of THE VIEW to hold us over.

Meanwhile, on LOST, they’ve discovered Amelia Earhart. But back on IDOL this insane woman in a big bird dress is on stage kissing Ryan.

You voted, didn’t you? Come on. You did.

Maybe it’s because I’m in Hawaii but there’s a wooden tiki at the hotel that looks just like Smokey Robinson now. I don’t think Jack Lord had that much face work done. I loved the medley with Smokey and the six groomsmen.

Melinda Doolittle out sang LaKisha AND Gladys Knight.

No, I will not be recapping SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE?

Teri Hatcher is probably firing her manager because Jerry Springer got more audience reaction shots than she did.

Checking out LOST again, a subway system is discovered under the island that leads to…but wait, back on IDOL some nimrod is trying to sing “Silent Night” to the back row without a microphone.

I was surprised Forest Whittaker wasn’t at the Kodak Theatre still giving his Oscar acceptance speech. He’d be up to Paul Robeson.

Highlight of the night for me was Tony Bennett. Fortunately, not in that yellow jacket. He’s also quite the painter. In fact, they sell his work at a gallery here in Wailea. I’m not joking – the sign out front says paintings by
TONY BENNETT
DAVID BOWIE
Picasso (yes, in smaller letters)
And others.

Speaking of “Others”, back on LOST, in addition to the “Others” a new group has emerged, the “Us Too’s”. Oh, but on IDOL a guy who looks like Tweedle Dee and Steve Buscemi’s evil twin are on stage getting an award.

This season Jewel was an audition round celebrity judge. Next year she’ll be an audition round auditioner.

I loved the African Children’s Choir. Send them out on tour and leave the Top 12 home.

Oh no! On LOST, Sawyer has somehow just given birth, but on AMERICAN IDOL, Clive Davis is droning on endlessly about God knows what – song writers and Chris Daugherty and how he discovered the Fifth Dimension – I dunno. And he’s giving Carrie Underwood some award no one has ever heard of.

Gee, I wasn’t laughing at that Kelsey Grammer/Patty Heaton promo for their new sitcom. “Your nails are so long. It’s like there’s a falcon on my wrist!” Uh oh!!! I had the same feeling watching that as I did seeing Sanjaya sing with Joe Perry. And by the way, Sanjaya, let’s just say it. You’re singing is awful and that outfit looked better on Carrie Underwood.

Bette Midler must have bronchitis or something. She was not on her game. And yet, she still managed to command the audience without a single big bird suit.

The Sgt. Pepper tribute was great but weren’t you sort of hoping that as a big surprise, Paul McCartney would appear? Chris Sligh is not the same thing. Paul’s paintings are also available at that Wailea gallery. But I’m still holding out for one of Red Skelton’s clowns.

74,000,000 votes. 60,000,000 for Jordin. 13,500,000 for Blake. And 500,000 for Jasmine.

Highlights of the year: LaKisha singing “You’re Going to Love Me”, Sanjaya getting hair tips from Diana Ross, Antonella’s internet pictures (if only the winner was determined by downloads not votes), J-Lo giving singing advice, Haley’s legs, shots of Jordin’s father playing in the NFL alongside Fantasia, $70 million raised for charity, everything about Chris Sligh but his singing, the shot of me in the audience, Gina singing “Paint It Black”, Simon’s utter SHOCK at learning there were poor people in America (Spago always seems so crowded when he’s there), Paula breaking her nose tripping over her little dog…er, Corey Clark, Elliott Yamin’s dental work, Phil Stacey on country night, Blake Lewis taking chances (good and bad), Jordin’s “I, Who Have Nothing”, and Lulu needing the “Jaws of Life” to pry her out of that dress.

Someday the phenomenon will run its course. AMERICAN IDOL will hang on one year too long. Fewer people will apply. Stadiums will be empty. Ryan will be standing outside the Altoona Hilton begging people to come in off the street and audition, eventually having to offer T-shirts. Paula will have a stroke that goes unnoticed. Guest mentors will include Gary Lewis, Harvey Feinstein, and Bucky Covington. Ryan will be showing off his new face and neck. Hollywood week will be held at the Universal 32 Cineplex, theater 31. Once they go to the much smaller Idoldome (Santa Monica City College studio D), one family and set of friends will have to double for several contestants. They’ll get killed in the ratings by FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS. Their charity event will be so disappointing there will need to be a cents column on the tote board. The final night will be held at Wilshire Blvd. Temple. The big moment will arrive. Ryan will say, “America has spoken, and after 45,000 votes, Apple Paltrow-Martin, you are the next American Idol!”

22 comments:

la guy said...

The finale was nice. The only way the outcome could have been suspenseful is if they had limited the voting to Florida.

Crowning a winner seemed incidental to the show, for the most part the it was an exhibition of what talented singers can do and why we like them.

I was most impressed by Kelly Clarkson, she has continued to evolve as a singer and her cover of the Beatles song was among the best I have ever heard. (Coincidentally I heard Joe Cocker perform this past weekend-- his Beatles covers are still the best)

Gladys Knight should go on tour with Melinda and Lakisha. Hearing them all side by side made me appreciate how good those two really are.

I was most surprised to find myself liking Taylor Hick's song, and even his contribution to the Beatles Medley. One thing I notice is that the previous "Idols" generally improve a lot in their first year after the show. I assume it's because for the first time in their lives they can seriously focus on making singing their profession and have access to top flight voice coaches. I'm not going to run out and buy his CD, but he was better than I remember him from last year.

(Incidentally, one of the unsung heroes of the show is Deborah Byrd, a vocal coach who has been with the show from the beginning and who works tirelessly with all the contestants on their songs every week. She is a very good singer in her own right-- in the early seasons, before they could afford back-up singers, she recorded the back ground vocals for the contestant performances)

That was the most spirited Tony Bennett performance I seen in a long time, but that's probably the most enthusiastic group of fans he has performed for in a long time.

Green Day's performance of Lennon's "Working Class Hero" was not spectacular but one cool thing they did was conclude the song with a track of the real John Lennon singing the last couple of lines of the song.

The Sgt. Peppers tribute was the highlight for me, but you're right, having Paul McCartney make an appearance would have been a great touch... and then Heather Mills could have run out on stage and beaten him with her prosthetic leg-- kind of an "American Idol" / "Dancing With The Stars" cross promotion.

Sorry for the long post. Enjoy the rest of your stay in Hawaii.

Will Teullive said...

Jordin Sparks kinda resembles Laila Ali, but thankfully she doesn't speak or sing like Herman Munster.

Al Sharpton came away with his meeting with Mormon leaders claiming Gladys Knight is a Mormon. The Pips are Scientologists.

Randy to Paula: "Let me get this straight, you tripped over your dog, dawg?"

Gwen Stefani is Madonna-lite.

Angelina Jolie is filing papers to adopt the African Children's Choir.

RAC said...

"The Divine Miss K."

(Kelly Clarkson deserved all the titles last night.)

VP81955 said...

Someday the phenomenon will run its course. AMERICAN IDOL will hang on one year too long.

And for me, it can't come a moment too soon.

Michael Zand said...

We're probably in the minority but both my wife and I thought Taylor Hicks had the most enjoyable performance of the night. I don't agree that he's a buffoon. He's a throwback to a different time but he's a helluva singer and a great performer. Daughtry's sound may be more contemporary but he damn sure isn't a lot of fun to watch. Wheras Hicks brings a real joy and energy to his performances that nobody else matched all evening. Taylor Hicks will be packing them in at Vegas casinos long after Daughtry and Katherine Mcphee are pop music footnotes.

Also really enjoyed the boys' medley. Everybody except that untalented little bitch, Sanjaya, sounded great. Goes to show how great music can make okay singers sound great.

Anonymous said...

Amen to your "Back to You" comment, Ken. How often will they milk the nice on camera, at each other's throats off schtick? It's already got a been there, done that quality to it.

Ian said...

Another great post, Ken, one of the best I have read and right up there with yesterday's guest appearance by Ms. Morehead.

So, will Ryan be playing Kristy McNichol? Haley in Playboy? Entirely plausible. Antonella in Shaved? I've already reserved my copy.

For the most part, I enjoyed the show, despite the lack of any real suspense about the outcome. I greatly admire Tony Bennett, but I thought he sounded, well, "off." I thought the worst performance of the night came from Bette. Talk about pitcheeeeee... dawg. Unlike the others, I thought the "Sgt. Pepper" tribute was a mis-fire... Clarkson, normally terrific, forgot the words to her song, and each successive perfomer sucked more than the last. But that's just me. I liked Carrie Underwood, Green Day, Gladys Knight, Smokey, et al. I'm not a huge Gwen Stefani fan but that was a great song... perfectly suited to her boop-boop-ee-doop voice.

Finally, there seems to be near-universal disdain for that lame "This is my now" song... I don't think Jordin's first single will do much for her, but when she records material better suited to her voice she should have a great career. And I don't think we've heard the last of Melinda or Lakisha.

Sorry for the long post... my boss is out of the office today!

D. McEwan said...

"Daughtry's sound may be more contemporary but he damn sure isn't a lot of fun to watch."

I completely disagree. Speaking as a gay man, I could look at Daughtry all day. You can have that gray-haired sack of potatoes Hicks, who will be "entertaining" them in Laughlin or Branson if he's lucky and they aren't, while Chris is being inducted into the R&R Hall of Fame.

But, also speaking as a gay man, I was deeply embarrassed to hear Bette Midler sail deeply underneath the pitch throughout her entire song. I have never heard her be flat before. I've never cared for that dreary song, but she used to sing it on key.

"Randy to Paula: 'Let me get this straight, you tripped over your dog, dawg?'" I can state authoritatively that Miss Tallulah wishes like hell she'd thought of that one. Perfect.

The damn show ran overtime. I was taping it, while I watched LOST, which rocked. (R.I.P. Charlie. "We have to go back.") So when I watched the tape, it had shut off just BEFORE the big announcement that was the only reason for the show in the first place.

Who won?

Anonymous said...

I thought Rubin Studdard had a solo during the Beatles tribute... Bette better tune up her pipes if she's going to replace Celine in Vegas. Geez, she was disappointing. Give BShorty a break. His mouth flatulence is entertaining and he stayed true to himself throughout the competition except for when he had to sing "This is my Now" - ACK! Of course, I live in the Seattle area so I'm a tad prejudiced. Sign me ~Blaker Girl

Tom Quigley said...

A few observations that I wasn't able to make earlier in the day:

It was nice to see that Ruben Studdard managed to hold off the sweating until he was almost all the way through "You're All I Need" with Jordin... After that, you could have filled a rain bucket...


Good thing Bette Midler wasn't a contestant this year.... I could hear Randy Jackson sucking his teeth and going "Mmm... I don't know, doll... It sounded a little pitchy to me... And you really need to pick songs that suit your style..."

Who was Haley giving the look (and the tongue) to every time she managed to get a close-up?... Wasn't me, that's for damn sure... I've got a 50-yard minimum restraining order against me...

How embarrassed was Smoky Robinson to be singing with back-ups who couldn't even hit the high notes in the harmony during the chorus of "Tears of A Clown"?.... Like Ms. Hatcher, someone else was probably on the phone to his agent first thing this morning....

Paula didn't look half bad with the new nose... Unfortunately, it will probably no longer fit where the producers would like to have it.... Wonder who was more drunk by the way: Paula or her drinking companion -- her Chihuauha?.... I think her "accident" was most likely inevitable... Her prone, liquor-induced unconscious body is too big for the dog to trip over....

And on a serious note, Jordin and Melinda were clearly the class of this year's contestants... In fact, Melinda (who would have been my pick had my cell phone not malfunctioned every one of the 32 million times I tried to vote -- I kept getting a Chinese takeout restaurant in Riverside County) out-CeCe'd CeCe Winans...

Seymour said...

You'd think Paula could have waited one more week to get her nose job.

130 minutes to open an envelope and read Jordin's name? The GREAT Lost finale was time sooooo much better spent.

Dhppy said...

I stopped watching after Melinda was shown the door. She was the highlight of my season. The ratings were down for the finale and the result show so maybe others felt the same way (yes, I'm bitter). Weird year, dawg. But it did it's thing. Good lookin' out! (However will I get through the year without these pithy phrasings? My guy and I have thing we do now where we say "That was hot! You blew out Lakisha's box, baby!")

I couldn't miss tivoing the Veronica Mars and Lost finales, anyway. One has to be prepared to freeze frame these shows at any moment, and God knows I can't watch Idol without fast forwarding, so something had to give.

Sorry I missed Kelly, though. You never quite forget your first idol.

Febrifuge said...

The entire thing was a commercial for American Idol: The Synergistically Branded Musical Experience, coming soon to a city near you!

Green Day was amazing, but it was really weird seeing a mature, powerful rock band in the middle of a cheesy singing show. Smokey and Gladys were much more in the spirit of the thing, and made the top sixes look like they had a purpose in life. Signore Benedetto might indeed have been a little muted or off, but he sure classed up the joint.

In my house, "This Is My Now" has become a great all-purpose punch line.

cath said...

Gee Ken, may I assume that you did not particularly care for the American Idol Final Show, but that you thoroughly enjoyed your own written piece dripping with caustic humor?

Ian said...

Caustic humor is what we're here for, baby, and nobody does it better than Ken.

hawk said...

I have to admit that I thought Taylors performance was the most entertaining as well. Riveting actually because I find myself holding my breath until he finishes or messes up or does something totally embarrassing. He didn't mess up though and hit every note beautifully. I hope he does em proud.

John said...

When I was driving through Oklahoma last year, I noticed Carrie Underwood had received her own highway signs in Muskogee telling everyone this was her hometown. Since then, I've been watching out for the other 11 roadsigns of the apocolypse.

On the Grammer/Heaton ad -- In 20 years, has Fox ever done a sitcom that doesn't have a broad over-the-top preview promo for a commercial, in search of the lowest common viewing demoninator? The only positive thing is it's still impossible for me to ever picture a Fox sitcom having one of those "very special episodes", since it just wouldn't make a proper Fox ad, especially if the show airs during the NFL season.

Mike Barer said...

I doubt anyone's counting, but this is the second straight season where the winner had a last name for a first name. Of course that would have been true with either winner.

Seymour said...

"I find myself holding my breath until he finishes or messes up or does something totally embarrassing."

I hold my nose when Taylor sings too.

Scott said...

this is how i pictured it after Blake finished his version of "this is my now":

Eyeing Jordin from the wings, Blake feels really good about his chances…He's pumped for victory. He says to a backstage hand, "Hey, Dude, I think I'm gonna win this….shit! Oh Shit! Is Jordin…"

Suddenly, Blake is seized with fear. His hair has gone completely white. Not just streaks.

For Jordin Sparks, the 17 year old Giant of the NorthWest has pulled out the oldest trick in the book…

Jordin…is…weeping!



"No Fair! No fair! There's not supposed to be any crying on stage!" Blake rants in protest, jumping up and down like a school girl.

"There's no crying on American Idol!"

Blake realizes that any chance he had of winning has been flushed along with Jordin's tears. He can see the crowd crying in empathy with his nemesis. Paula's broke nose is dripping with moisture.



The song is finally finished. Jordin bows to the crowd, blows a kiss soft kiss to her family, and smiles to the Judges. Turning to the wings, she spots Blake and mouths the words, "I Gotcha, Sucka!"

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