Thursday, May 27, 2010

The AMERICAN IDOL finale

If you just tuned in to AMERICAN IDOL for the first time this season because it was the finale (the way a casual sports fan might watch baseball only during the World Series and porn stars only catch the Masters when Tiger is playing) I wonder if you’d look at the two finalists – Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze and say “Out of 100,000 applicants, THESE are the best two they could find?” That pretty much sums up this season in a nutshell.

They both can sing but midway through the show when Christina Aguilera grabbed a mic and you realize neither of them can carry her Chloraseptic spray.

I’m a little surprised that Lee won but I shouldn’t be. The safer choice usually gets the nod. The fact that Crystal has been compared to Janis Joplin, she might as well have been in the Manson family as far as God fearing America is concerned. Lee is much more their idea of a rock star -- a live Build-a-Bear.

Crystal can take comfort however in knowing the only difference between winning and losing is an appearance on THE TONIGHT SHOW. A number of losers have had much bigger careers than winners. Just ask Chris Daughtry, Clay Aiken, and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson. To put it in more perspective – runner-up Elliott Yamin sang the National Anthem at Dodger Stadium. American Idol Jordin Sparks sang it at the Dodgers’ spring training facility in Glendale, Arizona.

Some thoughts on the finale:

Maybe the most jaw dropping production number ever was the Top 10 all in Catholic School uniforms singing “School’s Out” with Alice Cooper (who now looks like Ted Danson in clown make up). And then the final shot with the camera looking right up Siobhan Magnus’ crotch. Holy shit! If she had worn that outfit and struck that pose during the competition she might be the American Idol today. Or Mrs. Jesse James.

Joe Cocker has turned into Fred Sanford.

Dane Cook remains an enemy of comedy. Paula Abdul did a better stand-up routine. (More on the Divine Ms. P. later.)

Is Alanis Morisette now black?

Finally! A true inspirational moment. Not the usual trumped up Idol schmaltz sob story of a contestant who was so poor he grew up in a Maytag box or a contestant who has been a mother since she was eleven. Bret Michaels, who only one month ago suffered a massive subarachnoid hemorrhage appeared on the show and electrified the crowd. I expect thirty hopefuls next season to fake grand mal seizures just before they audition (and the judges to mistake the seizures FOR the auditions).

Janet Jackson sang in a black gown with slits all the way up to her armpits. I imagine that’s what she wore to Michael’s funeral.

The Simon sendoff video pieces were lame, but his little farewell speech was typically smart and succinct.

A few words about why this is my last season reviewing IDOL (and by the way, where was the big sendoff tribute to me? Shots of me at twelve reviewing my Jr. High Spring Sing. Shots of me mugging for the camera. Shots of me being yelled at by Diana DeGarmo’s mother.) AMERICAN IDOL used to be a nationwide shared experience. People actually did talk about it around the water cooler. It was fun to write about something everyone had an opinion about. I enjoyed your comments more than watching the show.

But now the zeitgeist has "Gleefully" moved on. AMERICAN IDOL is no longer a phenomenon; it’s a franchise that Fox will keep alive at all costs. To them it’s the golden goose; to me it’s Terry Schaivo.

The show’s become routine, formula, tedious. Hey, nine years of anything, even POLICE ACADEMY movies gets old. The contestants are now cookie cutter types. And without Simon Cowell there quite frankly is no show. Love him or hate him he was compelling… while the rest of the judges were just gristle you cut around to get to the steak.

Dumping Paula Abdul was a big mistake. At least she was insane or drunk or on drugs. Whether it was critiquing a contestant for a song he hadn’t sung yet or uttering pearls like “I will never forget my humble beginnings as a Laker Girl”, Paula always came through. We need a National Joke and Sarah Palin is just not cutting it as her successor (at least not yet). It was so good to see Paula again last night. She looked elegantly inappropriate in her hot pink prom mini-skirt. Listening to her drone on semi-incoherently I realized exactly what I’ve always loved about her. She’s just as surprised at what comes out of her mouth as we are.

Another mistake was hiring Kara. Who cares if she has music credentials? She’s just not likable. It also doesn’t help that she looks like Cruella Deville after a horrible tanning booth accident.

You need someone unique and surprising and fun… which is why I was very excited when Ellen DeGeneres was hired. But boy, has she been a colossal disappointment. She knows nothing about music, can’t string together a complete sentence, and the kid in your 4th grade class who stuck walnuts up his nose was funnier. Drop her. And here’s the thing -- I swear, no one will notice.

So congratulations to Lee. I hope he and all the contestants have successful careers, a few even in music. May Alice Cooper continue to play championship caliber golf, and will someone please tell Joe Cocker where he is.

Simon had a great line (as usual). You have to know when to leave the party. It’s time. Where is that damn valet with my car?

25 comments:

Steven E. Gordon said...

Joe Cocker? I thought that was Father Jack (from Father Ted).
Feck off!!

Bob Summers said...

Ken, your comments remind me of another Cowell creation, "America's Got Talent". Seems like every year they pass over so many actually talented people in order to put on some of those acts.

I recall last season when the woman with a cleft palate was so loudly praised, then ditched when they got to Vegas/Hollywood. Yet the guy with the Barak Hussein Obama impression, a one trick pony, made it.

blogward said...

Ken, if only you could do the Eurovision Song Contest.

Hilary C. said...

Note to Bob S...
If you are going to use the President's name in vain, at least learn to spell it correctly.

Corinne said...

But boy, has [Ellen DeGeneres] been a colossal disappointment. She knows nothing about music, can’t string together a complete sentence, and the kid in your 4th grade class who stuck walnuts up his nose was funnier. Drop her. And here’s the thing -- I swear, no one will notice.

Then you didn't catch this news, Ken:

Ellen launches record label, signs Greyson Chance

Kevin Arbouet said...

I don't understand the question, "Is Alanis Morrisette black?"

What do you mean?

Kevin Arbouet said...

Corinne,

By the way, Greyson Chance (isn't that the real name of Batman's sidekick?) signed with Interscope.

http://allieiswired.com/archives/2010/05/greyson-michael-chance-signs-to-interscope-records/

That Ellen thing is probably more for appearances (non-musical) and other television type opportunities.

noblin28 said...

To me, the whole point of American Idol is discovering talent. Lee was working in a paint store & Crystal has been performing for several years. They will both have successful careers now. I also LOVED hearing Joe Cocker again! You need to chill out & enjoy life Ken.

Dr. Leo Marvin said...

"and by the way, where was the big sendoff tribute to me?"

The only thing worth following about Idol for the last few years has been your reviews. Since I don't know how to say it in a montage, that will just have to do.

Gary said...

Joe Cocker still rocks, give him a break, Ken...or I'll make ya watch Cliff and Norm fight, again!

D. McEwan said...

Thanks for filling me on on the visuals. I was working at this computer while I had it on, listening to the show like radio, and seldom did it ever pull my eyes over. Only Janet Jackson's shirtless back-up dancers got me to look. I actually didn't even glance at Joe Cocker. Drat!

It was 2 hours and 7 minutes that shuold have been 7 minutes, as only those last 7 minutes had any reason to be. Who won? Lee. Thank you. NEXT!

I don't think America's horror of girls who are the nice version of Janis Joplin was the reason Lee won. The only people who actually vote on that show anymore, particularly with speed-re-dial to register as many votes as possible, are tween girls, who naturally voted for the guy to win.

Gary said...

They didn't actually dump Paula, did they? They just didn't want to pay her the gazillion dollars she imagined she is worth.

SonDan said...

OMG. This is the best, and most honestly refreshing, review of the AI Finale of the many I have read so far today.

It's a keeper for me so that I can re-read it when I need a smile.

Thank You so much.

jackscribe said...

Cocker should have been a more signature spastic mode. This was truely the year that AI jumped the shark. I also wondered how they could find such a limp group of talent out of 100,000 hopefuls. And it was odd to see such a talented entertainer like Ellen contribute so little.

olucy said...

Here's someone who took the finale a little harder than you did:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYX51WgSjE0&feature=player_embedded

stargazer said...

I may never stop laughing. Thanks for a great blog.

LMAO said...

This is the most hilarious recap ever. You are spot on man.

Jaquandor said...

To put it in more perspective – runner-up Elliott Yamin sang the National Anthem at Dodger Stadium. American Idol Jordin Sparks sang it at the Dodgers’ spring training facility in Glendale, Arizona.

Ummmm...I'm not sure this is the best illustration of the point you're trying to make, given that Jordin Sparks has sung the National Anthem at the NBA Finals, the AFC Championship Game, and the Super Bowl, among others.

Ref said...

Look, there just isn't all that much top flight talent going begging in this country. The really talented people are making a living performing. This doesn't make anyone a bad person for trying, just deluded. How many AI winners are currently considered A list performers? Not many. They just aren't that good.

discount coupons said...

Pretty awesome XD.

Anonymous said...

Bob Summers said...

Ken, your comments remind me of another Cowell creation, "America's Got Talent". Seems like every year they pass over so many actually talented people in order to put on some of those acts.

Bob, you don't know how right you are. My wife is a fairly well-known singer in our city, and when they came here for auditions, she was among a group of pros invited to audition the day after the cattle call. I knew some of the other people on the list, and they are the cream of talent in this part of the country. Not a single one was accepted, but they took a guy who was a complete joke, just so they could ridicule him.

I later talked to a producer friend in another city who had a similar experience. A fantastic act she repped was invited to audition, she flew them in at her own expense, then they passed over them and took no-talents for the judges to ridicule. She says she warns everyone she knows to avoid that show, which she considers to be a rigged freak show, not a legitimate talent contest.

Would love to sign my name, but I don't want to give any clues to her identity.

IFeedUrTV said...

"To put it in more perspective – runner-up Elliott Yamin sang the National Anthem at Dodger Stadium. American Idol Jordin Sparks sang it at the Dodgers’ spring training facility in Glendale, Arizona."

And then there's Bo Bice, who's now so famous he did a Christmas tree lighting ceremony at an outlet mall on Long Island last year:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EKDc3nSXTQ

Wordifier: Unforke. "Goest on thou diet!"

Charles H. Bryan said...

"She’s just as surprised at what comes out of her mouth as we are."

I missed Paula this season, too. This show used to be a must watch for me and this season it became, "Oh, it's on?"

The judging structure was what helped this show work. Randy was the cool teacher, who graded on class participation; Paula was the nice sweet supportive teacher, who gave everyone an A; and Simon is my 7th grade science teacher, who scared the crap out of everybody but later you realized how much you learned and how hard you worked. Hot, cold, and in-between.

You knew you were good if Simon liked you, and you knew you sucked if even Paula couldn't find anything nice to say.

Kara just didn't fit in; there was no spot for her. And Ellen was just boring (but I find her show fairly dull as well).

Kelly Clarkson said...

Jaquandor...are you the President of the Jordin Sparks fan club? If so, will you let me in?

Jaquandor said...

Jaquandor...are you the President of the Jordin Sparks fan club? If so, will you let me in?

Nope! Er...nope, I'm not the President. I'm not even a member. I liked her when she won, but that's about it. I'm sure you can join her fan club, though!

I am, however, a football fan, so I remember her doing the anthem at the Super Bowl. And just out of curiosity, I Googled "Jordin Sparks national anthem" and turned up a whole bunch of other places she's performed it.