American Idol Season 8 Finals Results Show, Wednesday May 20, 2009

I am trying to prepare to have Idol waste two hours of my life tonight.  I expect multiple sub-par musical acts, tiring retrospectives of the season, bad group songs, 15 minute commercial breaks, and badly scripted dialogue from Ryan that will go on and on.

Both contestants looked very odd dressed in white, and it was not a good look for either of them.  Can’t we get the microphones turned on by now?  It’s the last show in Season 8!

After watching the first song, I have an idea.  Record tonight’s performance, buy their album when it is released (if you want to).  Then, instead of pending your hard earned cash, and wasting your time going to see them in concert, you could just play the video from this performance while you listen to the album.  Since they will be lip-syncing, it will be the same vocal recording anyway.  Also, what the hell was Alison screaming at me during that song?

David Cook took the stage, and reminded us why he won last season.  See Jordan, that’s what a real American Idol sounds like when he puts out an album (also, Rueben, Taylor and Fantasia can take notes on this).  That was a great song.  I also liked the classy way he chose to pay tribute to his brother.

I was intrigued by the Golden Idol Awards.  This could actually be funny, and it was for a little while.  Then, they brought out Norman Gentle.  I quickly realized how little I had missed him since he left the show.

Lil Rounds came out and spared up Queen Latifa.  She sounded the best that she has all season.  She also looked better than she did all season.  Maybe she just looks better in black.  The song was better than a lot of stuff that they have had on the show this season.

The song with Alexis Grace, Anoop Dseai and Jason Mraz singing “I’m Yours” was just great.  That song is just cool.  Anoop was really good on it also.

Then we got the obligatory Kris Allen retrospective.

Kris Allen and Keith Urban then teamed up for a duet on “Kiss a Girl.”  It reminded me of a country version of a Bryan Adams song.  It was pretty good.  It seemed like an odd change for Kris who showed us he can sing Michael Jackson and Santana this season.

The girls from this season came out and did a song next.  I was reminded immediately why I hate that ice-pick of a voice that Megan Joy Corkery has.  Then I realized that she is Fergie Jr when Fergie the stage (I now know I hate her voice also).  For some reason someone thought it would be good add Black-Eyed Peas to this recipe.  It was horrendous, but still better than Lady Gaga or Jamie Foxx.  My favorite part of this was the technical difficulty.

Katrina Darrell the Bikini girl has definitely improved her talents during the time she was off the show.  Having Kara sing with her was pretty genius, but I don’t think Katrina really needed her to augment the performance.

Allison then greeted us with the worst version of “Time After Time” that I’ve ever heard.  It’s a pretty song.  All of that affectedness makes it sound awful.  Thank goodness Cyndi Lauper was there to bail it out.  That is, until it just got weird near the end.  Next time I would rather hear Cyndi by herself.

Danny then came out and sang “Hello.”  Lionel is better, but then he joined Danny on stage.  I wish he would record some more popular music again.  I really like Lionel’s voice.  It is holding up much better than a lot of the artists that they have on the show.  How about him as a mentor next season?

Then we got the Adam retrospective.

Adam was wearing the craziest, gayest outfit I have ever seen on the show.  He sort of reminded me of the Gimp from Pulp Fiction.  He was joined by Kiss.  There was something wrong and unstable about this pairing.  Kiss’s act wore out 30 years ago.

If this is what Clive intends to do with Adam, he will be the next Idol failure.  He could make a ton of money if they could figure out how to incorporate his voice into some pop music, but I’m afraid that he will be forced to go toward the metal stuff.  That would be a failed move.  That audience does not watch Idol, and the Idol audience does not listen to that stuff.

Santana took the stage after the break.  The guitar solo was cool, and the way they brought Matt out for Black Magic Woman was the best piece of production this season.  The group song was pretty good there also.

Megan Joy, Michael Sarver and Steve Martin.  What the hell?  Michael was good.  Megan destroyed bluegrass music.  It is now dead as an art form.  I liked the song (after I successfully blocked Megan out).  Who knew Steve Martin was a blue grass artist.

The guys’ song was a little uncomfortable, but it let us know that Rod Stuart and his Jacket were in the house.  I think the frog in his throat should have received a credit also.  The dancing was completely unnecessary, but the mandolin player was cool.  Did they really say he was going on tour?  Really?  Sure it has been cancelled after that.

I realize that the next bit was just to give Tatiana an excuse to sing, but she did not belong with those people.  However, the bit with her and Ryan was actually funny.

Adam was finally going to sing a Queen song, “We are the Champions”.  I’ve waited all season for that even if it is a duet with Kris.  It was great.  It was also good that some of the member of queen were there.

And the winner is…Kris Allen.

I hope they both do very well.

American Idol Top 3 Results Show, Season 8, Wednesday May 13, 2009

I am really worried about tonight’s results show.  Everywhere I look, I see more and more Adam haters.  Please, please let him go through.

The Night At The Museum intro was one of the worst examples of unfunny cross-promotion ever to be foisted on the television medium.  So, so unnecessary.

Someone needs to introduce Alicia Keys to a wonderful new invention, the bra.  She might as well have been naked (Hmmmm.).  Her job was to introduce us to one of the strangest performances ever seen on Idol.  She explained that he, Noah, had learned the song ‘in English’ this week, and it was obvious that the producers’ strategy was to put a lot of singers around him and keep him way, way down in the mix.  He definitely exuded some sort of confidence, but you would have thought the Idol producers and choreographers might have assisted him a little with his stage performance.  Then again, I could be very conspiratorial and assume that the Idol producers and chorographers did assist him with his performance, and that was what they thought would have the most audience impact.  I truly hope that they would know better than to do that.

Danny was brought out onto the stage first, and all we got was ‘blah, blah, blah’ from Ryan.  Kris came out to more of the same.  Apparently Ryan thought that no one in the viewing audience watched the show last night.

I was sort of worried about the Jordan Sparks performance because I haven’t liked anything she has done since she was a contestant.  I did not care for this song either, but for the most part she sang it well.  I find that I spend a lot of time every season criticizing female Idol contestants for choosing songs that are too low for them.  This criticism rises to a whole new level when the song that you choose to sing is off your own album, and it is too low for you.  This, unfortunately, was the case for Jordan.  She also screamed much of the song.

We, then were treated to the same thing for Adam that we got for Danny and Kris.  “Blah, blah, blah.”  Couldn’t this have been a 30 minute show, and allowed me more time to watch Lost?  He deserves extra points for being smart enough to sing the national anthem straight up without tricking it up at all.  Greatness.

Nice production having Katie Perry’s mic turned down when she started to sing.  You would think that they would get better at this after 8 seasons.  As far as Katie Perry went, she also sang a song that was too low for her that was hers.  She looked hot, if also slutty, and her song was the equivalent of vocal nihilism.  Does anyone worry about writing a lyric at all anymore?  There may only be seven different notes in music, but there are millions of words and phrases in the English language.  This is where you can get very creative in a song.  She was also very pitchy.  At least she did not use a voice harmonizer.

Kris was named in the first spot next week, and my stomach got a knot in it.  Adam went through, and my faith in America was once again restored.  Good bye Danny.  He was really very good.

Scatter Shooting at Last Night’s American Idol Results Show

Find my latest American Idol article here.

This week’s results show was, admittedly, not as bad as last week’s but that does not mean it was good.  I griped a little about Idol taking liberties with its audience after last week’s show (see the posting ), but there always seems to be more that I hate about the results show.

I find it unpardonable that Idol tweaks the show length.  So, you just can’t fit this piece of crap show into one hour?   Come on.  It’s obvious why the show begins at 7:58 or ends at 9:02.  Someone at CBS has figured out that lots of people use a DRV instead of watching the show live.  Hey, if I’m going to sit through approximately an hour of this tripe, I’m not going to waste time with the commercials.

The benefit for FOX is that by starting early, they screw with people and hopefully get their ratings up (while negatively affecting the ratings of other networks in the process.  For example, I am a fan of Idol, and as a result have it set highly on my priority list in my DVR recordings.  I also like Survivor (which coincidently came on at 7:00 last night because of March Madness), and I also have it set up to record.  If I had normally recorded any other shows at seven on any other channel, the 7:58 start time scheduled by Idol would have bumped one of the other two.  Say, I had gone out for dinner with my wife, intending to watch all three when I came home.  The result would be that I would still have Idol due to priority, but I would not have one of the other programs.  Sure, I could be really anal about it, and review the start times of all my programs, and adjust their start times individually as Idol continues to adjust its start time, but that defeats the whole purpose of the DVR.  I want to be able to schedule a recording and know it will be there when I want it.

Of course from Fox’s point of view, if they can bump another network’s program from my DVR, that is addition by subtraction.  And, if they can run over a couple of minutes, maybe, the audience watching live will not be so incline to tune over to CSI after missing the initial plot builder (that audience might even hang around to watch that horrible Foxworthy show).  There is no need for the results show to be longer than 30 minutes.  The early start time or late stop time is just a reflection of the ass-holery that seems to pervade the producers of this show.


On a lighter note we were informed that we can expect appearances by the walking skeleton Dolly Parton, Mariah Carey, (Lord) Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Neil Diamond.  They definitely could have done worse (see the appearances by Kenny Rogers and Annie Lennox for example).  It should be interesting.


We were informed, as if were a big deal, that Jordan Spark’s album was “certified as gold.”  That’s really not that impressive, and pretty disappointing.  She has a nice voice, but it looks as if she will quickly be joining several other ex-Idols in the same pasture.


Speaking of Dolly, we got to see the new Dolly Parton, or at least the new Dolly wannabe, Kelly Pickler last night.  She looked nice, and the new rack did not hurt her.  But, she sounds as if she is trying to copy Dolly’s style and sound.  She still has a little bit of a nasally quality to her voice, but like Katharine, she sounds much more polished than in the past. 


On the Air with Idol:  Come on!  As bad as this idea was in the first place, it boggles my mind that they would have done it more than once.  The producers/producer of this show must be the most arrogant people/person in the entertainment industry.  This segment is useless and stupid.  I am a fan of a local talk/sports radio station (sports radio 1310 the Ticket in Dallas), and even they have figured out that producing their own content is much better than going to the phones.  I would rather listen to Barbara Walters interview Paula for ten minutes than go through that again (I had to think about this again before I wrote it, and it’s true).  The writers’ strike is over, come up with something better, or better yet, shorten the show.


The group song was a bigger train-wreck than last week’s, and that is saying something.  The singing was a mess, Ramiele’s microphone was not even on, the camera man almost fell at one point giving the audience a nice sense of vertigo, and I don’t think Amanda was even singing until her solo (which was a good thing).


I will do a whole piece on Idol Gives Back in the near future, so I am holding back fir now.  I also would like to correct myself.  I thought the top twelve went on the tour, but was corrected last night.  It is the top ten.  Kristy is still going to get her horse back though.


In the end, I was shocked to see Carly in the bottom three.  The tattoos apparently do not play well in Peoria.  She is still the most consistently good singer in the competition.  She needs to work on her presentation and personality though.  Seeing Amanda and Kristy standing together at the end was a win-win for me, and it got even better when they called Amanda’s name as the one who would leave.  Now maybe she can get someone to remove whatever is in her throat that causes that horrible sound to come out of her mouth.


Idol Wastes Another Hour of My Life

Find my latest American Idol article here.

When I decided to blog about American Idol, I felt as if I was making a commitment.  If people are going to be nice enough to read my opinions on Idol, I am going to try and deliver on a regular basis.  This has led me to modify my Idol viewing habits.  In past years, I have made it a point to only watch the last few minutes of the results show (thank you DVR).  This year I felt that if I was going to be writing about Idol, I should actually be watching Idol.  So last night I allowed American Idol to strip me of a full hour of my life while giving me little to nothing in return.  It’s clear that the producers of the show are continually searching for a way to make this show relevant, but it is amazing that each and every thing that they try is a worse idea than the last.

Far from giving anything back, especially to its audience, Idol is in the business of taking.  They take as much money as they can.  I’m not against them making a ton of money.  They are one of the biggest shows in the history of television, and they deserve it.  I am against them exploiting a loyal audience in order to make even more money.

I’m sure they already make “superbowlean” money for the spots that they sell, and they tend to squeeze a couple of more spots in than most shows, but the cross-promotion during the show itself goes too far.  I don’t even mind seeing Coca Cola on everything in the set or hearing Kodak every time they talk about the venue, but beating me to death with the Horton movie four times during an hour was ridiculous.  The opening animated montage was confusing, Jim Carey was an unfunny waste of time both times he was on camera, and the Horton/photo-shoot sequence was one of the most pointless parts of the evening.

They need to either spend more time on the group song or cut it.  I found the montage of massacred Beatles’ songs unlistenable, and it was pretty obvious that even Michael Johns did not was to hear his attempts at harmony (I’m not just throwing him under the bus, this was a group train-wreck).  I am sure that preparing for these presentations involves a lot of time (just as running them all over God’s green earth with cameras does), but if there is not enough time to put out a decent product, then scrap it.  I would much rather see the contestants given more personal time to work on their own presentations.  This would probably be a lift to the competition.

The most irritating waste of time in the history of Idol was the “On the Air With Idol” segment.”  Someone on that show should have known better than to ever bring that idea to the air.  If that it the best thing the producer can come up with, then its time for a new producer.

Even the pre-screened questions were bad.  Why would you ever ask Jason Castro a hypothetical?  I was expecting the answer to be “pot” regardless of the question.  But it got worse when they asked Paula, of all people an impromptu question (I expected to see smoke coming out of her ears).  When asked the question, “What should I do to make the top 24?”  Her answer was, “Keep…singing right straight to Simon….Right now.”  Then she held her palms out with a smug look on her face as if she had made a witty retort.  Please, please Idol, never do this segment again.

Katharine McPhee was the one good standout segment of the night, but she, as a musical guest on the show, was a rare highlight (see Kenny Rogers for a good example of most Idol guests).  She looks great (She must have finally had that baby she was carrying a couple of years ago, because she no longer looks pregnant- Ouch.  I really meant that as a compliment.  She’s hot now.), and her vocal was on par with some of her best Idol performances.  My only criticism of her was that she worked the stage like a tree stump.  You can move a little, even with a slow song.

Finally, after paring the contestants down to the bottom three, Ryan turned to the judges for a bit of wisdom.  Attempting to get wisdom out of Paula must be like trying to wring pretty out of Juliette Lewis, it just ain’t happening.  For all of you English majors out there, your final exam will be to diagram Paula’s response to Ryan’s question.

Paula, “My head right now is at, uh…I want to say, first and foremost, I’ve never seen a more stronger bottom three.  That’s the truth.”  Then she added, “It is difficult.  This is by far, I mean the whole country’s talking…[something unintelligible, then I think the next word was supposed to be a slurred ‘guys’], (g)uys are…superior this whole season.  So did America get it right?  It’s pretty much yes what they did.  Pretty much is what the three of us talked about would probably happen.”  I swear MS Word did not flag this for grammar once, so what the hell do I know.  Wow.

In the end, David Hernandez was shown the door.  His terrible performance from Tuesday, together with his seedy off the show revelations were enough to do him in.  This further separates Archuleta (assuming this week’s performance was an aberration) and Smithson from the rest of the field.

I am not going to simply criticize the results show without offering a solution.  My solution is to do what the spin-off show American Band did this summer.  They waited until the following week, put all of the contestants in a room, and if your name got called, you were still in the competition and got to sing, if not you waited until the last group’s name was called and then you were sent packing.  That was a genius idea, and is a true way for Idol to give back by giving me back an hour of my life.