Tuesday, May 19, 2009

2 Cool 2 Be 4Gotten

So here we are, at the end of yet another season, feeling all wistful and sad, turning our chairs over on our desks and writing in each others' autograph books. Didn't this season just fly by? Will we see each other over the summer? Will we be in the same class next year?

I had a stunning realization last night, one that I wish I had learned much, much earlier in the season: American Idol is ten times more enjoyable when there's a glass of Malbec involved. It made hearing Randy say both "You can sing your face off!" and "You can sing the phone book!" in a single episode that much more tolerable.

It did not, however, make that godawful "coronation" song No Boundaries go down any easier, unfortunately. For the eighth time, I cringed from the first note to the last. Hearing Kara had co-written this one, I was momentarily optimistic. I like her. She seems cool. I thought she might bring something new to the table. They're always blathering about how they want contestants to be contemporary. Perhaps this would be a step in that direction. You know, like actually give them a contemporary song as their first single.

And then I heard the lines, "With every step, I climb another mountain." And I knew it was all over.

Please. For the love of all that is good and holy, make it stop. Whitney Houston had a great version of this song in 1986. It was called The Greatest Love of All and we all heard it at our high school graduations. I can still sing every word. And that was more than 20 years ago. Are we really still doing this, with the dreaming, and the flying, and the climbing mountains and the believing in yourself? Really? It's the same damn crap every time.

And so, without further ado, I present my recipe for an American Idol Coronation song.

1 liberal cup dreaming
1/2 c climbing mountains
1/3 c believing (preferably in yourself)
1/4 c flying
1/4 c breathing

Mix generously with moments, lifetimes and wings. Garnish with schlock, cheese and gagging. Go straight to Billboard Hot 100.

So now you're going to ask me who's going to win tonight, and I'm supposed to get it right. This is a toughie, peeps. A real toughie. Last year I was sooooooooo sure it was David Archuleta. Totally sure. And I was soooooooo wrong.

This year, I feel like common sense says it has to be Adam, the clear front runner. He towered over Kris, if the judges are to believed. He's the best contestant EVER, they tell us. He's the obvious heir to the throne. It's totally Adam, right? But if I predict that, and it's true, that's so....boring.

Could squeaky little under-the-radar Kris play David and slay Adam Lambert's Goliath? Remember that I wondered last week if we've been set up for this "dark horse" story all along. He really wasn't that great last night, at all. If you had watched the show for the very first time last night, like my brother Matt did, you'd never peg him as a star. (Matt predicted "Where are they now" status for both contestants in five years, fwiw.)

Which is why I'm going to say that...Kris Allen is the next American Idol. Ack! Did I really just write that? I'll be so happy if it's true. I'm just still not sure I believe it.

And if he isn't, well, I'm going to take my cue from MTV and look on the bright side. "If Allen loses because of “No Boundaries,” it will be a shame," they wrote. "But even if he loses, he wins, because that means he won’t have to release it as his debut single." Neener, Neener, Adam.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Three's a Crowd

Oh wait, is there a blog to be written? I'm too busy cowering in the corner from how much Adam Lambert's earpieces had the unfortunate effect of making him look like Dr. Spock last night. I was skeered. But this is the only picture I could find.

So, um, Adam's going to be in the finals. He's got to be, right? Because nobody's listening to what I think. But I'll say it anyway. I'm just so...confused. I sort of had a love/hate relationship with Adam's rendition of One, and a hate/hate relationship with his rendition of Cryin'. Where I think Adam excels, you see, is in the Broadway ballad-y kind of thing. That's where he sometimes gives me chills, and where I see the incredible artistry of his voice. I can totally get that he's in the cast of Rent. Where Adam makes me want to throw up in my mouth a little is when he does his rock god impersonation. It just. doesn't. work. for me. Not ever. Even my husband said last night, "Who's going to buy his record?" I dunno. Maybe they told Freddie Mercury the same thing. And he seemed to do all right in the end.

We all know the only question tonight is whether Adam will face off against scruffily sympathetic widower Danny or dreamboat boy-of-the-moment Kris. Can anyone guess which way I'm leaning? I sort of suspect deep down that my boy Kris will go, just as I (incorrectly) predicted last week. But now I'm starting to wonder if there's more of a wellspring of support for Kris than we've been led to believe. The whole dark horse thing. Remember that they didn't even show a single clip of him in the preliminary rounds. And they seemed to anoint Danny from early on. So, I'm going to put on my rose-colored glasses and send Danny packing. Just for a goof. Say hi to the kids in Sunday school!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Amateur Night

Over the last umpteen seasons watching American Idol, I've developed a litmus test of sorts. I sit back and watch a performance and try to imagine the singer as an established recording artist performing on an awards show, or say, The Today Show. Would they stick out as egregiously out of place?

Some contestants over the years have passed with flying colors. Fantasia singing "Summertime"? Check. Just about anything Carrie Underwood did? Check.

Last night was one of those nights where almost nobody passed my test. It all felt, to me, like some awful American Idol prom, where the theme was "rock and roll" and all the kids were doing their best to dress up. Even Kara, in her heinous black leather studded getup and tough girl hairdo, seemed like the favorite English teacher, trying to be a cool chaperone.

I know everyone in the universe loves Adam Lambert. I get that. But I can't explain why he just doesn't move me. I hate Led Zeppelin, so probably nothing he could have done would have won me over, but Kara calling him a "rock God"? Really? Am I just completely out of touch? Where is the market for a totally gay, eyeliner-wearing hard rock star? Do 12 year old girls love him? Enlighten me.

My favorite of the night was, well, Kris. I'm starting to see Kris through a pink puffy lens, with Partridge Family songs playing in the background every time he appears. I just love him, and thought he did much better than the judges gave him credit for. I even liked him and Danny doing Styx, an admission that will totally eradicate any hopes I ever have of being considered cool.

Allison was clearly in her element, delivering another solid performance. And her lipstick was positively mesmerizing.

As for Danny, I'm still trying to recover from the trauma induced by his shriek-arific Dream On.

Now, as for who's going home, I have a weird feeling something unexpected might be happening tonight. Did Simon's calling Danny safe mean his fans didn't call, and could it possibly be Danny? (And was that purposeful on Simon's part?) I don't know. I'm going to stay in my safe zone. I'm sure it's either Allison or Kris, and am tempted to flip a coin. I could just predict Allison's departure and be wrong for the third time. (Or is it fourth now?) Anyway, I'm going to be safe and, with a heavy heart, say farewell to Kris. It was good while it lasted, little buddy.