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!