Tuesday, May 22, 2007

This Is My Now

As much as I've complained about how last year's American Idol was so much better than this year's, I will say unequivocally that this year's finale was significantly better than last year's. Not necessarily because of the participants or the singing, but because there was only one repeat song instead of last year's inexcusable two out of three. And the singing tonight was pretty good too--not as good as the judges said it was, but still not bad. Did anyone really go all out and leave everything on the stage? Not really (Jordin crying at the end of her final song doesn't really count because she's done that at least two or three times this year), but you can't have everything....

So Randy is dressed like a doorman and Paula's reportedly broken nose isn't nearly as bad as reported--or she had the doctors take off the bandage for an hour. Paula, though, must have been drugged up, because as the night went on she increasingly became more odd in her behavior, culminating in her complete lack of restraint in shouting out "Chris!" when Chris Daughtry walked on stage to set up at the end of the show, even though that was probably supposed to be a surprise to the audience and Ryan was, at the time,talking to Randy about the competition tonight.

So we see a video of Blake and Jordin auditioning in Seattle, but one important piece of information is left out. On the Tonight Show last week, when all of the three remaining contestants appeared, Jordin said that she had first tried out for the show in Los Angeles but hadn't even gotten sent through to see Simon, Randy and Paula. This is actually one of the most incredible revelations about this show I've ever heard, and has received virtually no publicity. Basically, that's saying that the producers who see the intial contestants are apparently clueless enought that some of them eliminated the person that is favored to be named the next American Idol--and at the very least will finish number two. No wonder there were so many bad singers in the final 24 this year--maybe the good singers never advanced to actually see the three judges. I hope someone follows up on this--it really does raise some questions about how this show works.

So Blake does the chivalrous thing and lets the lady choose who goes first--and Jordin picks wisely and chooses last.

Blake Lewis ("You Give Love a Bad Name")--As I said last week, I'm not as interested when the contestants sing repeat songs. And considering the most interesting part of Blake's performance of this a few weeks ago was how risky and different it was, performing it for a second time means the best part of it is gone. Having said that, I wasn't totally on board with this the first time (not crazy about the beat-boxing, did like the rocking), but knowing what to expect, the beat-boxing didn't bother me as much but I didn't think he rocked out as well as he did the first time in the singing portion of the performance. Overall, still interesting, though.

Jordin Sparks ("Fighter")--I didn't know what this song was when Ryan announced it, and then realized quickly I had heard it before (wasn't this on a commercial? Which one was it?) But I'm still puzzled as to why of all the songs, Jordin would pick this one. Sure, it's certainly younger, as Simon requested, but it mostly consists of talking and shouting, and has virtually no melody. Don't you want to show off your singing voice in the finals of American Idol? Jordin got to hold some notes at the end and her voice sounded fine, but I wasn't didn't think this was all that special.

Blake Lewis ("She Will Be Loved")--Blake picks a Maroon 5 song for the second week in a row. And why not? I would want to do my best to be Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine if I was Blake, considering what I read in the review of the new Maroon 5 CD in the Washington Post this morning. Adam Levine has allegedly been linked romantically to Jessica Biel, Jessica Simpson, Kirsten Dunst, Lindsay Lohan and Maria Sharapova (and, while not mentioned in the article, I think Natalie Portman was also in there too.) I read that list and wept into my cereal this morning. I don't think I've ever seen anything that impressive. Adam Levine makes the Counting Crows' Adam Duritz, who scored that historic Jennifer Aniston-Courtney Cox double in the mid-1990s, look like an amateur. Wilmer Valderrama looks at Adam Levine and says, "Wow, that's remarkable." But getting back to American Idol (and despite my best efforts, I can't get that that new Maroon 5 song that they sang on the show last week out of my head), Simon was correct that it was a safe choice, but I thought Blake did a good job. He didn't beat-box, but just sang it, and while he doesn't have the strongest voice in the world, it sounds good when he uses it.

Jordin Sparks ("Broken Wing")--I'm so glad Randy was able to get in after this song that Jordin is "only 17!" Anyway, I thought Jordin started off very shaky on this song and was being drowned out by the band at times in the early part of the show. Sure, she "worked it out" on the second half, but I thought, like Blake earlier, her performance of her repeat song was better the first time we heard it.

"This Is My Now"--So AI announced a songwriting contest and everyone seemed to think we'd get a better "coronation song" this year. Why did we all think that? It's likely that the same people who were picking the coronation song in previous years were judging this year's songwriting competition. So we got the same kind of overdone pop ballad that we usually get. In fact, after hearing this one twice, it might have been worse than "Do I Make You Proud?" or "Inside My Heaven." Both those songs at least had stronger hooks. And "This Is My Now"? Yeah, I know what the title and lyric is supposed to mean, but it still sounds terrible. Couldn't the winning song at least have proper word usuage, for the sake of the children?

Anyway, the judges were correct that this isn't Blake's kind of song, but he did a decent job with it--he danced a little to provide some pizazz and I enjoyed it. Was Jordin better? Yes, and this is more her type of song? I didn't think she was stellar--she seemed to be a little shaky again when the song started (what is she, Phil Stacey?), but did turn it on at the end. And what was with that look Melinda had on her face during Jordin's song? She had her mouth hanging open and a sour expression like she was stunned about Jordin singing or something. Very strange.

So who's the winner? I think Blake overall probably had a better night tonight, but should we judge just on tonight or on the entire year? I guess you can judge on either, but I think Jordin probably should win based on a more consistent performance overall. More importantly, her win would probably help both of them. Does Blake want "This Is My Now" to be his first single when it sounds nothing like the record he would probably put out? Probably not, and I would imagine that many of his fans, due to his unique style, are still going to be interested in his record even if he finishes second. On the other hand, this is more of the kind of song I would think Jordin would record (actually, after watching her all season, I'm not really sure what kind of record she'd put out, which may make her intriguing or may be worrying), and I think her having the "American Idol" title might fit her a little better and help her sell records (I'm not sure why, but I think as a second place finisher in a lackluster year, people might simply forget about her by next year when her album comes out. But the real reason I think Jordin should win is that Ryan said tonight that Blake had never seen an American Idol finale (and I've read that he'd never seen the show before he tried out.) This guy is a singer/musician and he's never seen American Idol? Is he kidding? Does he live in a hole? I just find this hard to believe.

Who will win? It really could be either of them, but I'll pick Jordin.

Fingerhut out!

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3 Comments:

Anonymous John said...

Nice blog.

This is My Now was pretty bad, but I thought Blake was better overall. To use your parlance from earlier this season, they were definitely pimping Jordin very hard.

I did think that the show was pretty painless. Not the most ringing endorsement...

5/23/07, 11:02 AM  
Anonymous kson220 said...

This Is My Now was so not a good song. I think that Jordin performed it better than Blake, but that isn't really saying anything. Overall, I felt that Jordin did a better job last night. So, if you are voting on the season or the evening, my vote goes to Jordin. I agree that Blake wouldn't put that kind of a song out, and it fits Jordin better. And yes, they pimped Jordin like she was on a corner on 14th Street. I think that Jordin will win, and that both of them will have not stellar, but good careers in the future.

5/23/07, 11:23 AM  
Anonymous John said...

One other thing: I will say that it was kind of fun seeing the other contestants in the crowd last night. They all seemed to be having such a good time and it reminded me of some of the good times from this season.

5/23/07, 3:13 PM  

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