Thursday, May 25, 2006

American Idol - The Weird and Wonderful Finale

Linda: Finally!! The American public has redeemed itself. It’s about damn time. Kind of sad that voter turnout was higher than for any prez, but we only get to vote once for the prez. And you do have to be over 18 to vote for the prez, so despite the “drama” of that statement, it’s not an accurate or fair comparison. Can I just tell you that once I saw Prince, I didn’t really care who won. I am of the Purple Rain generation, and that was the highlight of the evening for me. I’m so glad that Taylor won. No more Kat crap. He’s shaky with his victory song, but it must be quite overwhelming at this point. Poor guy. See the bozo from Birmingham with his sign upside down?? OK, good finish, though. A gentleman in victory. Good call. Yes, Taylor, you make me proud. Good thing Dionne Warwick isn’t competing on American Idol tonight. Poor Burt. Just have to mention that I still think Chris should have taken the whole thing - would have liked to see him do a duet with Prince. I giggle at the thought of them as a duo.

Nerdia: My retraction of my previous comments on Mary J. Blige: What good is a dynamic performance when you can’t fit your ego into the spirit of a show? If you’re dismissive of the kids who appear on the show or the show’s intent, if you steal the stage from poor, already beleaguered Elliott, how great can you really be? Ditto with Prince. If you exploit the show to plug your album and refuse to so much as smile at anyone on stage, let alone deem them worthy of your time and guidance, you’re nothing but an a-hole peddling your new crap to a bunch of young kids who only vaguely know your history and old fans who have since grown up (hey, maybe you should too). I am of the Prince generation myself. Smack in the middle. His songs were the soundtrack of my high school years. His last tour was the best live show I’ve ever seen. But so what? I felt like I was being sung to by a smug, heartless salesman. If you don’t care enough about the American Idol experience (and the millions of us involved), why should we care about you? I know these types: they’ve been dismissive of the show for years but now that the show has literally enraptured the world, they’ll cynically make an appearance to childishly grab the huge audience share, the attention they so shamelessly crave so much they’re willing to do a show they have no respect for. So how can I respect that? Okay, so you’ve reminded us you exist. Now take your album-spiking sales that American Idol helped you get and get out of my face. Besides that, last night was a highly entertaining finale. Strangely, I don’t remember Taylor and Katharine being on it much. I ran the gamut of emotions from disgust to delight. I missed a few performances while I was playing host and there was a lot of chaos during the LA Ape Culture finale party. I need to go back and review the Kevin, Chris, and Kat/Meatloaf performances. But I love just the idea of those duets. They had a real variety show feel to me, harkening back to the oddball but heartfelt duets of the duets on Sonny & Cher and Tom Jones. America, we still like these crazy hodgepodge juxtapositions. Take note: variety is not dead. The moment with Clay swerved elegantly from exploitative and cruel to touching and memorable. That has a lot to do with the surprise element of Clay’s smiling, coy entrance and his gracious demeanor with his imitator. Clay’s warm interaction with this failed contestant is a lesson to the cold ambition of Prince and Mary J. Blige, who may outrank Clay in talent but not in heart, which represents the poignant difference between having soul and being a true soul.

Linda: Nerdia, I wanted to respond to your Prince critique. I agree with you - the attitude was a bit much - but I think of that as part of his persona. I mean, the guy may be talented, but he’s a little off-center in general. I just assume that he was “hangin” with the contestants backstage, you know, once he let his hair down. Telling “Knock Knock” jokes and stuff like that. Or maybe I’ve been sniffing too much cow manure. It is spring out here, you know. Lots of fertilizer in the air. OH!! Another thought occurs to me - perhaps Katharine can adopt that “attitude” thing. It would cover up the fact that she has no personality. She could just chalk it up to “attitude.” I missed Mary J. - I think we were finishing up “Clifford’s Big Movie” so I missed some of Idol. I will watch on TIVO later, though. Assuming it worked. I thought Toni Braxton was lame. It’s kind of like she didn’t know what song she was singing and was just kind of “hanging out” in her nightgown. Man, I am cracking myself up today!!! I would also like to comment on Kellie’s hair. Although I think it’s an attractive cut, I liked our “little innocent” Kellie. I don’t want her to grow up. I realize that now she’s surrounded by the glitz and glam - and she’s ruined forever. Whatever honest innocence she had will be devoured by the Idol machine. I mourn the loss nonetheless.

Coolia: This finale was 2 very entertaining hours. What a cavalcade of stars! I enjoyed seeing all the idol kids singing together in their medleys. I think I’ve developed a soft spot for Bucky but somehow he sounded good last night - particularly on “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head”. I hope he gets a country career. The Bacharach medley was a highlight for me and it reminded me of the Bacharach night from a past season - they should bring Burt back next year and give him a whole episode. It was great to see Dionne too, made me recall when Nerdia and I ran into her at CompUSA a few years ago. I liked Kellie’s sassy haircut and I loved her comedy bits with Wolfgang Puck. I think she could have a future on a sitcom or playing Kelly Ripa to Regis on a show of that ilk. If Katharine had 1/10 of Kellie’s likeability she might have been able to win. Not sure about Clay’s new look - is the hair dying a reaction to all the “firecrotch” hatred directed at Lindsay Lohan? But he really had fun with his nerdy protege. They could have eliminated some of the other bad audition awards - it went on a bit too long. It goes without saying that they also could have eliminated Carrie Underwood’s solo song - but that’s just my anti-Carrie feelings coming out. The duets were awesome. I thought Kat and Meatloaf were great. Kat seemed much more relaxed singing with Meat than she did the night before when it counted. I’d agree with Nerdia’s take on Mary J. although I didn’t feel that way as I watched it. I just love seeing Mary sing so I didn’t give a second thought to Elliot other than to say “He’s no Bono” which certainly isn’t fair of me, just as she wasn’t being fair to Elliott by blowing him off the stage. I loved getting to hear Taylor do “In the Ghetto” again but I’d agree that Toni didn’t add much. They had a little chemistry together, which was fun, but her vocals sounded muffled to me - maybe it was a sound problem and not a Toni problem. Terry and Linda will let me have it for this one, but I thought Chris’ duet with Live only showed off how unoriginal Chris is and how he’s most comfortable as a cover-band singer. He looked like Ed Kowalcyz’s twin brother there, and Ed outsung him and showed more range. I still think Chris has talent, and my wish for him is that he steer clear of Fuel, form his own band, work on some original material and show us his own uniqueness. One of my favorite moments was the singing cowboy trio, with my early favorite, the hyperactive Garet Johnson. They actually sounded pretty good - mostly in tune. Maybe Garet can get some lessons from Kat’s mom and try out again next year. It was a real shock to see Prince there, but cool. At worst, Mary may be right and he just showed up to hawk his poorly selling album. But really, can we ever expect Prince to mingle with the kids and tutor them? That’s why I never believed he’d do an Idol episode in the first place. He doesn’t want to be around people. At best, maybe his presence will attract more music icons to future Idol episodes and we can look forward to Depeche Mode night or Mariah Carey night. The outcome should put an end to the “it’s all fixed” Idol conspiracy theories. There was no way the Simons and Clive wanted Taylor to win. You could tell Simon Cowell was pissed by his expression at the end. They’ve got no idea how to market this guy and it will be interesting to see how his album turns out. I know I’ll be buying it. I can only guess the margin of victory wasn’t very close, because they didn’t talk percentages. I’m thrilled for Taylor since he was my favorite from his first audition, and he was a graceful winner, clearly moved by it, but not balling uncontrollably like Paula or Kat’s dad would. I’ve been humming “Do I Make You Proud” all day, and I’ve never even been able to remember the tune of a past Idol single. Soul Patrol! Soul Patrol!

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