A Finale Bright Like a Diamond

“You guys are singing like it’s the Final!” (K-Urbs)

BEAST VS BEAST. (Michael Slezak, TVLine.com via Twitter)

“FINALLY! After 15 frickin’ years, America got it right!” (My Daughter Diandra, who somehow has been able to block the Kris Allen/Adam Lambert thing from her memory. Good for her. I can’t. I won’t. #NeverForget)

It seems that the Evil Genius Producers were able to work their evil genius one last time by giving America a pathway to find two amazing singers. Has there ever been an Idol Finale with this level of quality? I think not.

And with that, herewith are my final Idol performance musings.

Round 1: Winner’s Single

These were the songs written for each Idolist for the purpose of being released to radio (Ryan’s words) should they win. “Released to radio” is a technical term that means Ryan’s radio station is the only station in the country that will play these songs. Not just because they were awful but because an Idolist has a better chance of making a hole-in-one on Augusta National than getting a new song on the radio, i.e. the real world of music as opposed to the reality TV world of music[1].

Trent Falling. The song fit his style but had a very dated sound. A for performance; D for currentness[2].

Boy Band Dude Strike A Match. He’s just not a good singer. And the song was more Adult Contemporary rather than Top 40, which was surprising given who his most likely fans are. C for performance; C for currentness.

La’P Battle. This had the most anthemic hook and therefore would be the most memorable if you heard it on the radio. But the song doesn’t grab you right away, which may turn off radio programmers. They should have paid Sia to write a song for her. B+ for performance; B for currentness.

After the initial round, Boy Band Dude got his bad news (and a certain muser got his good news). In spite of having twice the Twitter followers as Trent and La’P combined, BBD’s vocal deficiencies given the competition eventually caught up with him. Unlike Jax’s horribly rushed and insensitive send-off last year, at least the Evil Genius Producers allowed him to have his moment and a proper goodbye.

Round 2: Simon Fuller’s Choice

With a show created to discover a current pop star, Simon mystifyingly chose songs from the 70s and 80s. Is the demographic really that old for that to be necessary? These song choices had a stunning lack of vision. “Old” people will buy songs like Uptown Funk (or anything by Bruno Mars) or Happy or big diva songs by Beyonce or Rihanna. At this penultimate juncture, we should have been imagining Trent and La’P as radio-ready artists rather than people we’d see on Soul Train re-runs.

Trent If You Don’t Know Me By Now (Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes). Somehow, this was energetic and lifeless at the same time. Too full of faux-soul. C+

La’P A House Is Not a Home (Dionne Warwick). She actually started singing the epic Luther Vandross version before just flat out making it a La’P version. In concert, I’d LOVE to hear this. I just wish Simon had picked something with a more recent vintage. A-

Round 3: Idolist’s Reprise aka The Sia Round

The show finally began here.[3] Current songs both written by Sia – a current hit songwriter. Imagine that! If such a thing is possible, they both did their respective songs better than they did the first time.

Trent Chandelier (Sia). Critique-proof. A++

La’P Diamonds (Rihanna). Critique-proof. A++

After 15 years, it’s perfect that American Idol will end with America having to choose between two extraordinary singers going out with two extraordinary performances. One – La’P – was consistently amazing all season. The other – Trent – seemed to come out of nowhere as he got better and better each week. Either would be a good choice to be The Last American Idol Forever.

Who are we kidding? La’P is the best singer in the history of this show – yes, consistently better than My Boy Adam Lambert and with more epic performances, too. In the words of Kelly Clarkson, “You’re gonna win . . . if you [La’P] don’t, there’s something wrong.”

Tomorrow, we’ll see if the first American Idol is right about the last American Idol.


[1] Home written for Phillip Phillips was a notable exception. Ironically, P2 hated the song.

[2] Yes, I know that’s not a real word.

[3] I neglected to mention the show began with the season’s first Cheesy Idol-Sing-A-Long! It wouldn’t have been a proper season of Idol without one of those.

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