Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Backstory Idol

My feelings for this season of Idol haven't changed. I think this is the worst group of finalists since at least season two. I think there are about eight singers who would be somewhere around ninth-place finishers in most previous years. I think that the show is no longer a singing competition, but has become mostly a "Who's got the better backstory" or "who is more commercial or can be packaged" competition. (This is the change I really don't understand--sure, it's never been totally a singing competition, but the whole focus on singing seemed to work for the show for the last seven years...) I don't like how the producers are manipulating the show so obviously. And of course, I still can't stand Kara and feel like the value of my Duke University degree is declining each week she sits at the judges' table. But I've decided to do a quick Idol wrapup tonight because it was the first week of the finals. But only a couple sentences for each competitor. And to sum up now, my problem with the singers is that most have decent voices, but they aren't particularly interesting singers or performers, or have anything particularly special about their vocal talents. So most of tonight's performances kind of made me shrug my shoulders and say, "Eh, that was alright, but I won't remember it tomorrow."

Oh, and what's the twist tomorrow (which if you didn't set your DVR to record a few minutes past 10 you may not have heard mentioned)? The way they described it, I think it's going to be some sort of judges' veto on the person voted out. I really hope it isn't, but from the way they described it, it seemed very possible ("change the face of the show," etc.) If it is, considering all the other manipulation of the show already, it's a very bad sign for the future of Idol.

Lil Rounds -- I found it kind of shouty, and I barely remember it now a couple hours later.

Scott MacIntyre-- Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder are blind and play the piano. They're also great singers, two of the best popular music singers of the last 50 years. So I don't understand the big deal about Scott MacIntyre being blind and playing the piano--because he's not a great singer (although he does seem pretty good on the ivories.) Can we stop acting like he is a good singer? As for whatever judge said it was very safe (Randy, I think), every time we've seen Scott sing it's been just like that. Did he do a Guns and Roses cover in Hollywood we didn't see or something? What did you think you were getting? He's a pleasant singer but nothing else.

Danny Gokey -- The overemphasis on Danny's family tragedy (which thankfully wasn't mentioned tonight) may have blinded me to an important fact about Danny--that guy can sing. He's even got a somewhat distinctive, bluesy/raspy voice. Yes, Simon was right, the dancing was horrible, but the singing was actually memorable.

Michael Sarver -- As for singing that wasn't particularly memorable, we have Michael the oil rig guy. Kind of like Scott--pleasant but nothing special. Oh, and Simon's strange advocacy for Michael reached a new low tonight when his critique was "you gave it 110 percent." Simon, what is wrong with you? After eight years, you can get a good comment from you just by trying hard? You're embarrassing yourself. Or maybe this is just him trying to say that this year's finalists are so bad, as long as you try hard you can make the top 5.

Jasmine Murray -- Why exactly did she get a wild card over like 12 better singers? I'm including people who didn't even sing in the wild card round, because there were plenty who showed more than she did. I guess they like to pick teens to attract the kids, but other than Jordin Sparks, don't they know that every teen singer usually peters out by the top 6 at the latest because they're just too young to deal with the pressure? Jasmine won't make it anywhere near that point. She was flat on the chorus--and for some reason only Paula was willing to point that out.

Kris Allen--Seems like a nice guy, good voice, but nothing special about him. I will say, though, with the guitar and everything, he at least gave an exciting performance.

Allison Iraheta -- With all the blandness, her "rocker chick" thing makes her stand out in a way the rocker chicks may not have stood out in past years. I didn't think she was as great as the judges thought she was--I thought she had a lot more power in her voice in her semifinal performance.

Anoop Desai -- I like Anoop, but this was a horrible song choice. Of all the songs from Thriller, Beat It is probably the song that sounds the most dated and of its era. Plus, it doesn't really go anywhere vocally. This makes two out of three poor song choices for Anoop. Having said that, what he did sing wasn't bad--and sounded a lot more exciting vocally than some other contestants.

Jorge Nunez -- I didn't think this was as bad as the judges thought it was--but I didn't like this guy that much in the semifinal round. Another, "Eh, I won't remember it in the morning?" performance.

Megan Joy Corkery -- Megan is very attractive (except for those tattoos). Unfortunately, she also made a bad song choice in picking the very repetitive and vocally unchallenging "Rockin Robin." I have no idea what she was thinking and hope she survives. I did like her bird call or whatever it was at the end.

Adam Lambert -- I said a couple weeks ago that Adam had a good voice but that I wasn't crazy about his "over the top" performances. Well, I'm a convert. He was great tonight. Simon was right--no one else was even close. Could he become tiring a couple months from now? Sure, but he kicked butt tonight.

Matt Giraud -- The piano livened it up, but otherwise another unexciting peformance.

Alexis Grace -- Another bad song choice (I've never really like the song, but putting aside my feelings, Dirty Diana is kind of repetitive) and I wasn't a big fan of the performance. I was a fan of that skirt that barely covered her crotch, though. Wow, Kara and company really dirtied her up--she'll be naked by April. Oh, and I'm now a fan of Alexis--anyone who teaches their baby to say "Seacrest out" is awesome.

Who's going home? Jasmine for sure, and unfortunately, perhaps Megan. I hope the teenage boy audience turns out for her tonight.

16 Comments:

Blogger Ross said...

Ah don't worry so much Eric. Your Duke education isn't worth nearly as much as you think it is. Go Gators!

3/11/09, 7:22 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Eric-I pretty much disagree with you this year on most of your comments. First of all, you are really wrong about this being the worst top 12/13 since season 2. This happens to be one of the best as the past several years there were at least 2 or 3 that really sucked and this year no one really does. They might not be the winners but oh well - Season3 - John Stevens, Leah Labelle, Camille Velasco, Season4, Anthony Federov and Nadia turner guh, 5 - kevin Covais, Buccky - torture, 6 - Sanjaya! Gina Glocken, 7- Ramiele, Kristy Lee, David Hernandez - I mean really have you missed something. Last night was the first time I have not had to FF my DVR during a performance. (Not to mention I love MJ songs) And for young ones, Diana Degarmo was 16 and made the final and Paris Benett made it farther then 6 too and Jordin actually won, so your point does not stick there either.

As for Kara, I like her. She knows music and voices and her comments are pretty real and solid. And, to be a singer that makes it, honestly if you just stand up there, sing and have no stage presence or I guess shtick, you are boring. Heck, look at Britney Spears - not the best singer but she is a superstar and just made one of the best comebacks ever...Fingerhut Jr out...

3/11/09, 11:22 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

oh and my picks are Jorge and Matt Giraud to go home.

3/11/09, 11:40 AM  
Blogger Eric Fingerhut said...

Amy,

Maybe there isn't anyone that's outright terrible (although give it a few weeks and you might realize how bad some people are--we've only seen them twice), but there are very few people that are actually really good, that you actually say, "Oh, good, she's next..."

And Nadia Turner did not suck, she just had some unfortunate song and fashion choices.

Nothing wrong with stage presence--but people like Elliott Yamin didn't have big stage presence and everyone ended up liking them a lot as the season went on...

3/11/09, 2:38 PM  
Anonymous John said...

I need to watch this tonight, so no real comments, but great post!

3/11/09, 5:40 PM  
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