American Idol Mar. 7

No way…I’m kicking off the American Idol thread this week? Definitely “if someone told you five years ago” category. Also in that category is how much I enjoy it now*. Defintely need to record it beforehand to cut out the fat (laulaus have less fat than AI), but then I get to watch a wide variety of songs by good young singers giving their all. Well, I’m on vacation right now, and I’m very rarely going to get the chance to recap the show before the results, so enjoy it while it lasts.

First off…man, if Whitney Houston knew how her postmortem would go, she would’ve been fuming. A few CNN reports. A few tepid message board discussions. Some obligatory slagging on Bobby Brown. A heartfelt speech from Aretha Franklin or Gladys Knight or Beyonce Knowles or whoever. Then they had a nice, big lavish funeral…and after that, NOTHING. The radio stations continued cranking out the same four overplayed hits they’ve been overplaying for the past 15 years and the world kept on turning. And AI? Ryan Seacrest gave a perfunctory intro (“Whitney Hous…’scuse me, the late Whitney Houston!") that didn’t even include a picture. And on top of that, she had to share billing with Stevie Wonder, so only six of her songs were showcased, the lowest possible number on AI…and one less than Wonder! It’s almost insulting.

I don’t think this male-or-female judges’ pick is going to make any difference. Note that they only get this power at the very beginning of the season, another token measure that gives them absolutely zippo control over who wins. If I were a judge, I’d turn down such a patronizing gesture. It’s real power or nothing.

Oh, before I forget, can we finally acknowledge that all the snarking and hand-wringing over there being a Haley, a Hollie, a Halle, and a Brielle was just stupid (I heard it mostly from TWOP, if you’d like to look it up)? When you have twenty-four people, there’s a chance that a few of them will have similar-sounding names. And guess what, problem solved the very next freaking week. I remember one season we had two guys named David go all the way to the final, and I don’t recall any crisis of identification.

On to the hopefuls. Of course, as always, the problem with detailed analysis is that a contestant you lavish elaborate praise or criticism on could be gone tonight. So just overall prospects for now:

Joshua Ledet - He’s good. I like what he did. He’s seems to be really enjoying himself out there, and he has just the right amount of bombast and hamminess for a show like this. The problem is, does his brand of R&B have any chance? We’ve had Reuben Studdard and Fantasia Barrino, and ever since then it’s been a long, cruel winter. A dark horse at best.

Elise Testone – First off, shin-dai saikyo Chiyonofuji domoarigatosity to Mary J. Blige for telling her not to do Greatest Love of All. There are certain overplayed, overwrought, baggage-crammed no-win-situation songs to be avoided in a reality show, and GLoA is about five of them. Anyway, she was pretty good. I’m not certain that this is going to be enough to go far. If you’re supporting her, what you really should be concerned about is the fact that she’s so BIG. Not fat (although those are the thickest arms I’ve seen on a female AI contestant in a long time), just big. Fair or not, America doesn’t go for this.

Jermaine Jones – Props to the judges for seeing talent and giving him a moment in the spotlight; unfortunately, a moment might be all he gets. There are places for deep-voiced Barry White-type singers in music. American Idol is not one of them. I have the sinking feeling he’s going to go down hard, and it won’t be pretty.

Erika Van Pelt – Similar body as Elise (not nearly as wide in the hips as Elise but may have even shorter arms), and I think they’re going to learn very soon that AI ain’t big enough for the two of them. Also, she has a sultry, middle-low voice, which is the kiss of death on a show that demands ostentation and glory notes. I’m almost afraid to like her because that generally means she’s toast.

Colton Dixon – I give him credit for understanding the nature of the game and doing his job; you could tell that taking on an R&B icon like Stevie Wonder wasn’t easy for him. He should make a nice run, but I get the feeling that credibility will be what finally does him in.

Deandre Brackensick – Meat on the table. It’s just a matter of when he’s going to get carved up. The only thing keeping him going is what kept Sanjaya Malakar going. And even Sanjaya didn’t last that long.

Skylar Lane – An early favorite. She’s pretty and likable, and she showed great aptitude in overglorynote-ing and overemoting, which we all know the voters eat up. And she’s country, which alone is worth at least two rounds.

HeeJun Han - I’m going to say it RIGHT NOW…I have no idea, and neither do you. We’ve never seen someone of Korean descent make it this far, so any and all prognostications to his prospects are useless. He does sound pretty good so far, but that’s as much as I’ll ever venture.

Hollie Cavanagh – I personally hate the Patriarchy Suck-up Song, so I can’t really judge this either. She seems amazingly generic, which generally isn’t too good for long-term prospects.

Jeremy Rosado – If all he can do is Michael Bolton-style high-up wailing, he’s in trouble. Otherwise, too early to judge.

Jessica Sanchez – Forget it. I am not listening to that overblown, overwrought, overbloated, overbaked, overplayed, overrated, over-everything-elsed piece of glurgy, gooey schmaltz ever again. That song should be grounds for DISQUALIFICATION.

Philip Philips – Working in public housing with its diverse ethnic groups, I am highly used to unusual names by now, so this didn’t faze me in the slightest. My concern is with his voice. He’s not that good at forming words. Bruce Springsteen often had lousy pronounciation, but became a success because of his great songwriting and musicianship, and because he was a genuinely good human being. That’s not going to help Philips here. Could produce a few surprises, but I don’t see him winning.

  • I flat-out loved The Amazing Race in the first two seasons, then after the third got totally digusted and gave up forever. The last season of Survivor I watched was the first all-stars one, and I think I caught half of it. I’m tepid at best about America’s Got Talent, find Minute To Win It and It’s Worth Whaaaaaat just plain annoying, and don’t even want to think about Dancing With The Stars anymore. Yeah. Unexpected.

I still can’t understand Joshua when he sings. He sounds good, but not worthy of the praise he always gets.

I’m liking the girls more than the guys.

Sure wasn’t!

What is the Patriarchy Suck-Up Song?