Wednesday, February 18, 2009
… Reacts to the American Idol Top 36 Group A
Just so you know, I’m typing this about one hour before watching the results so my commentary isn’t colored by the outcome. It’s more honest that way, no?
Aside: this is Kara Diogaurdi's first live show. How are we feeling about her? I think I like her. She's a little bit of lucidity sitting between two lumps of dumbass. By that I mean, she compensates for Randy and Paula without preventing us from enjoying their altogether pointless, but occasionally entertaining, presence. Well played, show... well played. /Aside.
A blanket comment about the six girls who performed: they all sucked. If I had my way, not a single one of them would move on to the Top 12. The worst offender was definitely Stevie Wright, who had the worst performance I’ve ever seen on live television. Poor dear, bless her heart, I truly felt sorry for her, which is something I try very hard never to do, especially when it concerns a contestant on Reality TV. She was nervous and scared and totally in over her head, and the arrangement and key she chose didn’t do her any favors, either. She seems like a great girl, so I hope she can move on from this without taking it too much to heart. The others were forgettable and bad; Casey, Anne Marie, and Jackie gave us weak vocals paired with awkward stage presences (Jackie also decided to wear her crazypants, which… unhelpful). Their performances were so awkward, in fact, that I was unable to sit through any of them without my finger poised over the mute button, which I pressed every time I could no longer handle the horror (often). Tatiana, meanwhile, gave a decent performance of a song I just adore, but, just like everyone else in the world, I couldn’t get her behavior during Hollywood week out of my mental periphery. Thus, she is doomed, despite of all her efforts to corral her crazy. I think Alexis is the sure-fire choice for the Top 12, even though I wasn’t particularly enthused with her Aretha Franklin tribute. She was certainly the best of the worst, though.
The men, thank GOD, were a different story. I didn’t like Stephen Fowler’s Michael Jackson cover. However, I heard enough to recognize his potential. His failure was his song choice, which is unfortunate, but hey… that’s life. Brent Keith is certainly easy on the eyes, and I applaud his (attempted) strategy of singing something sincere and true to the artist he wants to be, but his nerves got the best of him. Michael Sarver is a personal fav of mine from the auditions and Hollywood, but I can’t say I enjoyed his very karaoke version of Gavin Degraw’s I Don’t Wanna Be. Having said all that, all of those guys were better than every girl, in my humble opinion.
Ricky Braddy was a revelation and I can’t understand why the show would throw him to the wolves like they did. As good as he is, we had never really seen him until last night, so he’s cannon fodder. I can’t help but feel like the show sabotaged an amazing singer. A singer they didn’t sabotage is Anoop, who I’m totally in love with, you guys. I loved his song choice – it was unexpected but welcome – and he interpreted it very well. Anoop would be the obvious choice for the Top 12 if it wasn’t for Danny Gokey.
Ya’ll, I have beef with this guy (do not yell at me, please). I can’t deny that he is talented, but I can’t get over how much Show is manipulating me into liking him. I mean, talk about favoritism. He has been given the pimp treatment from the very first time he said ‘dead wife’. I wish this show wasn’t so desperately transparent about where it would like us to park our emotional RVs. Like, why does his sad story make him more likeable (and more deserving of screen time and positive edits) then any other contestant? Of course, I’m sorry that his wife died… that is, well… it’s awful. But I’m not sure I can appreciate using that terrible circumstance as his hook. I realize that Show might be more guilty of exploiting his wife’s death than he, because I don’t think anyone would consciously do it, but I… I don’t know… it makes me squirm. And then he decides to sing Hero and dedicates it to all the people going through hard stuff (which is everyone, true, but he’s really referring to himself), and I’m like, I GET IT! I KNOW! You’re a GOD DAMN INSPIRATION! You’ve been through HELL but now you’re RISING ABOVE and don’t we all WISH we were as CAPABLE of surviving CRIPPLING GRIEF with that kind of GRACE??!
What I’m asking: would America like him AT ALL if he didn’t have his sob story? True, he has a great voice and he’s cute and his bromance with Jamar was ingratiating, but really… would he be any kind of front-runner if the show hadn’t decided to constantly mention the untimely passing of his spouse (over and over and over) at the expense of all the other contestants, who may or may not have lost loved ones recently, but perhaps decided not to cry about it in front of a camera? Does it make you like him any LESS if you let it sink in that he might be using his wife’s death as a way to connect with the voting public, ie the entity that controls his fate on a gameshow? Does it make you at all uncomfortable that the odds are you wouldn’t even know his name if he hadn’t decided to talk about his dead wife the very first chance he got, regardless of his intentions? Without the fortunate ingredient of pity added to his storyline, would we give a crap about him at all?
My answer is yes, of course I would. He’s obviously a good person and the boy can sing. I loved (LOVED) his performance of Hero – after all, it was one of the few performances off the night that didn’t make me wince or choke or any other kind off unpleasant, involuntary muscle spasm - and I’m completely on board with America if America so chooses to put him in the Top 12. The truth is, I’m not a heartless bitch – and I don’t think he would ever exploit his situation for personal gain. But I do think he is using American Idol as some sort of platform, whether it’s building awareness about the disease that took his wife, or simply giving people hope or whatever… but that is not, I mean, really not, why I watch this show. Call me cynical, but I like my reality t.v. trashy and unwholesome and fame-whorey… you know, the way things used to be...
So: there’s no way Danny Gokey won’t claim the first spot in the Top 12, and I'm sure he will be followed by Alexis (by default). Since they are going to make me choose, I want Anoop to grab Spot No.3, while also reserving a Wildcard Spot for Ricky Braddy.
Woot! I finished just in time for the results show!...
… Reacts to the Results of American Idol Top 36 Group A after the jump...
2 out of 3… not bad, not bad. I winced just a little bit when Michael Sarver beat out Anoop, but I’m not unhappy. Michael is incredibly sexy – totally my type – and I think he’ll be great in the competition, IF (note, big if) he can pick the right songs.
I’m crossing my fingers Anoop can sneak in with a Wildcard.
Oh, and how disappointing that Tatiana mostly kept it together as the ax came down. HOW DARE SHE RETAIN HER DIGNITY! Is it weird that I think I’m going to miss her?
Adieu, crazy lady, adieu… your insanity is matched only by your entertainment value.