Thursday, May 25, 2006

Soul Patrolling to the American Idol title

Wow, who cares who won? Prince performed on American Idol!

With so many “spoilers” swirling around the Internet, it’s not that often you get totally surprised by something on TV. I had seen rumors about many of the performers that showed up tonight on the Internet in the last couple days. But when Prince walked out, I actually said out loud, “Oh my God.”
But I’ll get back to that later. It really was Taylor’s night.

It was certainly no surprise that he won to anyone that watched the show last night, and the correct one. As I said last night, Taylor was more consistent all year, could be really special when he sang the right, soul-inflected song, and did better with his cheesy “coronation”song than Katharine did with hers.I was disappointed that once again this year, they didn’t announce the vote totals–as they did in the first three years of the show. I presume that’s because it wasn’t all that close. (Dial Idol had Taylor up 45-37, which isn’t percentages but some kind of score the guy calculates. I’m not sure what it means, but considering that same score has often had the bottom two in other weeks separated by one or two points, that’s not close.) By the way, the guy that handed Ryan the results–did you buy that guy actually worked at an accounting firm, or was it some guy they hired from an acting agency a couple hours before the show who normally dresses up as George Washington at parties?

Tonight’s show also partially answered one of the questions that everyone, and I mean everyone, was asking this morning (I hope the producers are reading the blogs or visiting office watercoolers):Why did they sing two songs they had already sung? (The other question, of course, was why were those original songs so bad?) The reason they probably were told to pick two songs they had already sung might have been because they were so busy this week learning all the songs they ended up singing for tonight’s show. They sang a song with Carrie, the song from Dirty Dancing, songs with celebrity guests and songs with the 10 other finalists. They didn’t have time to learn another new song, I guess. Personally, and I think most viewers would agree with me, I could do with one less duet from the finalists or whatever on the results show if I got one more new song on Tuesday night.

Having said that, this was without a doubt the most entertaining, swiftest-moving finale they’ve had, even if it is too long at two hours. And they didn’t even have any lame original comedy bits like that bizarre Corey Clark parody from last year. My one big complaint was the virtual absence of Simon, Randy and Paula from the proceedings. They’re a huge part of the show and why people watch–particularly Simon–so why can’t they critique parts of the results show or something? Or at least go to them and say, “So what did you think of Prince?” or “What was going on with Toni Braxton?”

Since this wasn’t a conventional show, I can’t recap it like I usually do, so I’ll just do a stream-of consciousness review, if James Joyce wrote about Idol: Portrait of the TV-Watching Blogger as a Not Young Man Anymore.

I started my evening by watching the red-carpet show which I assume aired in many markets on Fox stations. It was hosted by Jillian Barberie and those two other people from that “Good Day Live” show, and it was horrible. The guy, Steve Edwards, introduced a clip of them interviewing Carrie Underwood, which they played. Then they went to a commercial, came back and Edwards said, “We’re right now going to see a interview we did with Carrie Underwood.” And it was an interview with Bo Derek, who had nothing to do with American Idol but has a new television show coming out in the fall. They did have one interesting interview, with Katharine McPhee’s parents. For those wondering if Katharine’s mom is a pushy stage mother, as some have speculated, it sure seemed like it. She was asked what happens if Katharine loses and started to talk about all the offers out there from Hollywood, etc, and there was just something about it that I can’t explain that seemed kind of creepy, like this was what she had always dreamed about for her daughter.

Anyway, so the actual show started out with everyone in white, and then we saw Heather Locklear and Ben Stiller in the audience. Ben Stiller was there two nights in a row! And he’s not dating Heather Locklear, is he? (I believe he’s married, but this is Hollywood.)

The O’Donoghue twins have returned at Taylor’s party! But why did we never see them again? Same with Tamyra. And what happened to Tamyra? One could make an argument she was the second most talented female vocalist ever on this show, and yet no one bought her album and she seems to have disappeared.

Paris sings with Al Jarreau and the two even do something resembling scat singing. Not bad, although an interesting choice of duet partners since Jarreau is kind of a laid-back vocalist and Paris is so big voiced. Apparently, Al borrowed Ace’s skull cap for the performance.

Just in case anyone is wondering, I won’t be blogging about “So You Think You Can Dance.” I will, though, be blogging about lots of other things hopefully starting this weekend after a couple days of recovery following Idol, including TV, the media, sports, politics, etc. So keep coming back.

Ryan has a podium like he’s hosting the Oscars or something. I wrote that in my notes, and what do you know, a few minutes later, he actually started handing out awards. I guess if they have to review the bad auditions (I don’t really think it’s necessary to embarrass those people again, but I did laugh again at a few of them, I’ll admit) so I guess the awards gimmick was at least a different way to do it rather than just showing clips for ten minutes.

Chris Daughtry and Live performed together, and I think Chris was better than the lead singer of Live. Hey, they haven’t exactly been burning up the sales charts in recent years, maybe they should do a duet with Chris. To Live’s credit, they didn’t take the arrogant attitude as some bands do and say American Idol is lame and all about manufacturing a pop star–they were willing to go on the show and perform because they had a big fan of the show. And of course, it’s a smart move–more than 30 million people watched the show tonight, and as I said, they aren’t exactly burning up the charts in the last decade.

I really don’t know what to say about “Puck and Pickler.” It didn’t seem that scripted, so I’ll take it at face value and say I was amused but kind of concerned. Kellie seemed to have a heck of a lot of trouble reading–yeah, some of them were foreign words, but she is 20 years old. And her screaming about the lobster was kind of crazy–its claws were rubber-banded together. But I did actually want to see another segment of that bit–maybe they’d give Kellie stuffed kishka or something and tell her what it was.

Is Meatloaf OK? I figured all that shaking and trembling when he got out there was part of his overly dramatic act, but he really was doing a lot of trembling and shaking. This was pretty good, though, and I though Katharine, who has been criticized, did a pretty good job with her acting in the performance of the song. What was the deal with the red scarf though? What was this, a Jewish wedding where they couldn’t touch each other?

Kat and Taylor each got brand new cars. What is this, “The Price Is Right”? Then again, with all that advertising they filmed for Ford, they actually earned them.

Elliott brings out Mary J. Blige to sing U2's “One.” Pretty cool, although I would have liked to have heard them duet a little more. Couldn’t they have traded lines in a verse or something? They only really sang together at the very end.

Carrie Underwood looked great, but that song was kind of boring, and didn’t it sound a lot like “Jesus Takes The Wheel”? I think they both talked about driving.

Why are they giving Rhonetta Johnson more screen time? She wasn’t all that funny to begin with. Her rant was just an obvious attempt to get on television–which worked. The only funny thing she did was her horrible non-singing. Instead Ryan makes a joke implying she’s a prostitute and we got to see her swear and get bleeped out again. Real classy for everyone involved.

Taylor brings out Toni Braxton to sing with her and she sings so low that I could barely hear her, swallowing her words on almost every line she sung./ And she seems to be trying to molest Taylor too. Is she in some kind of feud with Paula Abdul and trying to one-up her? Taylor looked like he was enjoying it, though. But it was very bizarre.

So they bring out the guy imitating Clay to win an award and ask him to sing–which I suspected probably meant Clay would appear. And he did, in a terrible haircut that made him unrecognizable and caused the Clay imitator, Michael Sandecki, to almost have a stroke on the stage. The funniest part of it, and probably the funniest thing all season other than Simon laughing at Paula’s crying, was that Sandecki–is he really that self-absorbed?--actually thought he was supposed to duet with Clay. He kept singing until Ryan walked up to him two-thirds of the way through the song and urged him to sit down. Great stuff.

The Bachrach medley wasn’t bad, and Dionne Warwick was a pleasant surprise. She sounded pretty good too, although she did seem kind of old. Highlights: Mandisa was really good singing “Say A Little Prayer” and Elliott rocked “A House Is Not A Home.” Lowlights: I hope Dionne told Kellie Pickler never to sing one of her songs again after her massacre of “Never Fall In Love Again” and there are no words to describe Kevin Covais singing “What’s New, Pussycat?” At least anyone attending the Idols tour knows when to get up and go to the bathroom.

Broke Note Cowboys? Nice to see them again, but I don’t really have much else to say.

And then Ryan faked us out by saying all the celebrites were finished and Prince strutted out. It didn’t even matter what he was singing (I presume those songs are from his newest album), just seeing him appear on Idol was quite amazing. And he was great. And by the way, if you’ve never seen Prince in concert, I can’t recommend it highly enough. I wasn’t even a Prince fan before attending a concert of his nine years ago, and it was unbelievable. After watching him very early in the concert do “Purple Rain” and “Little Red Corvette” in succession, I turned to my friend John–after four songs--and said something like “We could go home now and we would have gotten our money’s worth. That was incredible.”

Then Taylor and Kat did the song from “Dirty Dancing,” and unfortunately Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey didn’t come out to perform. Nor did anyone utter two of the funniest lines in movie history: “Baby, I’ll do your hair,” which comes a few minutes before this song in the movie, and, of course, “Nobody puts Baby in the corner,” uttered as the song is beginning.

I think at this point in the show, though, it was obvious that Taylor had won. Would Katharine really have picked a dress with a tail that needed to be held up by her if she had won? She was really going to sing her victory song with her dress wrapped around her pinky? That made no sense at all, did it? (If it did, please explain to me in the comments section.) I’m kind of puzzled why she wore it to performing “Time of My Life.”

Ryan said that there were 63 million votes cast, which is more than any presidential candidate has ever received. That’s correct, but meaningless, since this was the total amount of votes for both singers (and I’m assuming they split the votes relatively evenly, no more than 60-40.) The two major presidential candidates combined received more than 100 million votes in 2004, so this was, although technically true, an incredibly dumb and misleading statistic (not to mention meaningless, since you’re only allowed to vote once in the presidential election and you have to be 18.)

As for Taylor’s victory song, I really liked how he thanked the band, the other singers, etc. during the song, even if he did have to sneak a last “Soul Patrol” shout in there as well.

And so we’ve come to that sad time that occurs after the crowning of an Idol champion–the realization that there’s no more American Idol for more than seven months. We’ve done it before, so I know we can all survive. And at least I can go to bed before 1 a.m. on Tuesday nights for a while.

Fingerhut out!


Anonymous Mark said...

2 things. First "was it some guy they hired from an acting agency a couple hours before the show who normally dresses up as George Washington at parties?"
Umm...anyone we know referenced here?
And second, Blige recently did that U2 song with the band at a live gig. The recording of their song is played often on the BBC channel and it's pretty good. AI basically just redid the song with Elliot cast as Bono.

5/25/06, 9:45 AM  
Anonymous kson220 said...

What a long post!! Really good though. First off, I would like to say, Yeah Taylor!!!! You totally deserved to beat Katherine. Too bad the best Idol of the season was not in the finals, but she showed us all last night that she can sing circles around the others in the top 12. Yes I am speaking of Mandisa, and it was great to see and hear her last night. Song choice not withstanding, there was not a single person in the top 12 that could really compete with her. OK, I got that out, so I will move on.

Can you believe they got Prince on the show??!!?? What a coup!! You could have knoecked me over with a feather. I have been a huge fan of his since mt junior high school days back in the late 70's. He looked great, he sounded great. Intersesting that he didn't sing with either of the finalists, or any of the other Idols. My husband and I said that if he was going to sing with anyone, it would be Mandisa. She is the only one that would have been worthy of that honor.

Paris and Al Jarreau were good. Al looks the same as he did when I 1st got into him. I have to agree that Chris did sound better than the lead for Live. They did a great job together. The whole Puck and Pickler thing was stupid. How many times does Kelli have to confirm that she is an airhead? Meatloaf scared me. As an avid Rocky Horror Picture Show fan, it was sad to see him looking so bad. Mary J. and elliott were hot. I love her music, and am a fan of Elliott's, so it was cool to hear them together. Doesn't make a difference how much they sang together, it was a good performsance. Unlike the Toni Braxton Taylor duet. Toni needs to put some clothes on, remember that she is almost 40, and sing so that we can hear her. My God, her moaning annoys me. Taylor was great though. What was up with Clay? His hair is a mess, and he didn't sound all that great either. The guy singing with him was a nincompoop. Carrie what. Having Burt Bachrach and Dionne Warwick appear was a great treat. They are both icons, and both did a great job. Dionne looks and sounds great for someone as old as she is. No spring chicken there. Once again, Mandisa proved that she is phenomenal. Katherine and Taylor doing "Time of My Life" aws really cute. Fortunately, they sang it well. And the dance pose at the end from the movie was a nice touch.

Good for Taylor and Katherine getting new cars. They really did earn them. They probably got a lifetime supply of Coke also. But, the biggest prize of the night went to Taylor, and rightfully so.

I hope that some of the non-winners from this year do some memorable things in their careers. There was a good talent draw, and many of the top 12 could go on to some decent fame. Not Kevin, or the girl that messed up Stevie Wonder's lyrics, but there is talent there, and I am looking forward to following their careers. This was agood season, and I will miss Idol, but next year will get here soon enough.

Fingerhut, you really should check out So You Think You Can Dance and blog on it. It has been a blast following Idol with you this season!!! Thanks!!

5/25/06, 4:16 PM  
Anonymous John said...

This post was a fitting conclusion to the season: much like the finale itself, it was very satisfying.

And not to sound too lame--though it's never stopped me before--but I really like Kat and Taylor duetting. I think their voices and styles are very complimentary.

Loved the GW reference...

5/30/06, 9:36 AM  

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