Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Off Topic: American Idol Rant

Yes, this is off-topic and completely out of left field, but there's something I have to get off my chest. I'm so shaken by the mediocrity of American Idol's final three that I literally can't move on until I take the opportunity to vent.

When you find yourself longing for the days of a Clay Aiken v.s. Ruben Studdard finale, something has gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Fox could have chosen to air a test pattern for 60 minutes last night and I might have been more entertained; increasingly, I find myself wishing they had. Casey James, Lee Dewyze and Crystal Bowersox collectively have about as much personality and charisma as mung bean. If you mashed all three of them together, I'm not even sure they'd make one complete performer, much less one of interest.

On the bright side, Casey James is H.O.T. - hot; and a talented guitarist as well. Give him an amp, put a band behind him, and he'll be alright ... because he's hot. He's nominally capable off some kind of watered down, bluesy vibe, but rather than showcase this, last night judges Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi saddled him with the incredibly limp (and really kind of creepy) "Daugthers" by John Mayer. If my life goes on as planned, I will never again have to hear this song, much less any other by John Mayer. Merciful Jesus, this is my prayer to you.

On the dark side, we have Lee Dewyze - this year's version of the "obligatory pale imitation of a rocker." If you've been watching, lo these many years, you've seen this character before ... and you've seen it played better by Bo Bice, David Cook, and even (heaven help me) Chris Daughtry. Lee is so utterly lacking in both self-confidence and stage presence that he hasn't even managed to convince himself that he's a musician, much less the me.

Now, don't get me wrong, I like the sound of his voice - when its on key - and I love his back story. He seems like a genuinely nice guy and I'll be happy for him if he wins. He'll probably sound great on radio too, once the studio has a chance to clean up his pitch problems. My issue with Lee is lack of personality and passion ... that and the fact that Simon forced him to sing "Hallelujah" last night and he complied.

If anyone knows the "secret chord" that would "please the Lord" such that we would never again hear this song on this show - call me. Please. Collect, if you must.

And, finally, on the darkest side of all, we have Crystal Bowersox. She makes me saddest of all. In the same way that I wanted last year's Idol to be a slightly raunchy, sexual-shape-shifter with black nail polish and more eyeliner than Ellen DeGeneres (have you noticed her make-up lately?!) - I want this year's Idol to be a dreadlocked, single mother with giant tattoos and all the fashion sense of a bag lady. But the Idol Machine doesn't want what I want. It never does.

One look at Lee's ridiculously OTT blaze of glory lighting and the Gospel throngs behind him as he butchered "Hallelujah" told me all I need to know about who the Idol Machine wants as its victor. (A production so offensive, that were I not made comatose from boredom, I might have picked up the phone and voted 470,000 times for Casey out of spite alone.)

Sure, Crystal is not the most original performer by a long shot. Adam secured that spot last year and we all know how that turned out. I've seen dozens of Crystals busking for change in the subway ... and, no, I've never bought their cd's and I'm not likely to buy hers either. But I like her. I like the sound of her voice and I like that she doesn't fit the typical American Idol contestant mold. And, up until two weeks ago, I liked her performances too. But, clearly, this show has sucked the very life out of her. She's a shadow of her former self and that makes me sad.

As American Idol limps towards the finale, sputtering and wheezing as if in the throes of death - and no, I don't just mean Lee's vocals - I find myself becoming increasingly perplexed and furious. Where is the fun? Where is the joy? Instead of looking forward to next week's finale, I find myself dreading it. I'm not even sure I care who wins - and that's a first for me.

I'm not afraid to admit I like the show. Its cheesy and stupid and not at all in line with the music I typically favor, but up until now its always been fun. This year its just sad and boring. I haven't voted once and I haven't downloaded a single tune. Another first for me.

Show? Meet Mr. Shark. You might have noticed him while you were soaring over his head 13 weeks ago.

Apologies to all who don't watch the show and stay tuned for Thirsty Thursdays tomorrow. Heaven knows I need a drink after last night!



Molly said...

I can't share in your rant, because I only watch the early episodes that show everyone trying out....but on the bright side I passed a blog award on to you!

Mo Diva said...

Diva, i can only say this is the reason i stopped watching after carrie underwood won. its gotten so CHEESY and CAMPY that I beleive the three runners up would have a promisng career if they were cast on the old show "Kids Incorporated" or "Mickey Mouse Club" I think the one show i caught this season was when the entire ensemble was singing "I've got a feelin" and I couldn't watch. It was liek a recording of Kids Bop Volume 9823.
So, i hope you find a new show next year... oh and we have So You Think You Can Dance which is Waaaaaay better than Idol ANY DAY of the WEEK!

Wilma said...

Thank you Auntie! This is what I've been trying to drill into Mom and Dad's head for not weeks, but years now. They value your opinion.Maybe they will finally wake up and admit that the dream is over. Move on, and find some meaningful entertainment. I don't have high expectations, but I still have hope.

pixelgal said...

Although I'm not as vehement as you are about the contestants, I do agree the program has lost it's appeal. I can't say why, though. I was hoping for Crystal but last night's performance says it will be Lee. The judges are all over the place and have succeeded in confusing the poor kids in the race and why they picked those songs for them is anybody's guess. Poor Leonard Cohen. And the Sisters song is terrible. They've already decided it's Lee so next week will be redundant. I'm so glad for DVR so I can FFwd through all but the performances and so called judging.

pixelgal said...

Oops, I meant the Daughters song!

Tangled Noodle said...

Y'know, I've been 'watching' AI while typing away on my laptop. That's what it's become for me: white noise in the background. I admit that Crystal is my favorite but I do agree that the 'star machine' is polishing all the rough edges that made her so appealing.

How nostalgic am I for Clay & Reuben? I remember exactly where I was on the night of the final. Oh, I need a life! 8-)

The Diva on a Diet said...

Molly - Thank you!!! Funny, I can't bear to watch the audition rounds. I only start watching once they get to Hollywood. LOL

Mo - I never watch the results night either, so fortunately I missed the "I've got a Feelin'" group sing ... ugh, you've got to be kidding me. Lame!!

Wilma - somehow, I knew you'd like this post. :)

pixelgal - you're right, the judges have been awful this year! I could probably write another 5,000 words on that topic too ... but I'll spare everyone. LOL

I used to enjoy the show so much and now its feels like they're all just going through the motions. Such a shame. Oh well, at least we'll have our Tuesday nights back next week!

Tangled Noodle - I could hug you for admitting you're into show too ... or that you were. I don't feel so crazy for ranting about it now! ;)

I couldn't agree more with your thoughts on Crystal. I still like her too, but clearly she's been beaten down by the process and that just stinks!

Hugs and kisses!

Lentil Breakdown said...

OMG! I am so embarrassed to admit that I've seen it a few times this season, including the one you're talking about, and I have THE EXACT SAME SENTIMENTS! I haven't seen it in 3 or 4 years till this season, and it's a parody of itself. The talent is not up to snuff at all. Randy seems so dated with his "dawg" stuff, and what is up with Ellen's makeup? She used to be the girl next door and now she is scary looking! The very first one of the season when Crystal sang, I thought she was great, but what happened to her? And that one guy who sang Hallelujah? (but don't diss Leonard Cohen for writing it. He's a genius). That guy is so uncharismatic! He can't "own" the stage. Jesus! That big black guy could own the stage but he's gone. Listen to me. I could go on, but you perfectly articulated all my thoughts! Pfew! Thanks for letting me vent! : )