Posted tagged ‘Daughtry’

Anybody In America Can Win

January 6, 2016

In the premiere of The Final Season of American Idol (FSAI for short), the Evil Genius Producers went overboard reminding us that anybody – literally anybody – could be the next American Idol. To that end, we were inundated with, uh, Americans of every demographic. We had Indian-Americans, Police-Americans, Off-the-Grid-Americans, overweight[1]-Americans, over-sharing-yodeling-Americans, new-parent-Americans, hairdresser-Americans, arguing-husband-and-wife-Americans – and a very small demographic – world-famous-rapper-with-famous-gazillionaire-wife-Americans. Unfortunately no militia-Americans were available during the months of auditions. Can any of these Americans become The Last Winner of American Idol (LWAI for short)?

Well, I really liked that last guy, the rapper from Chicago. But America will never vote for him. I wish him well, though. Maybe something will work out for him.

I had two favorites tonight. Sonika was the cute Indian-American girl with a lovely soft voice. Not a lot of stage presence, though, or provocative personality. But who am I to argue with Carrie Underwood who tweeted that Sonika may be her favorite to win already[2]. I also liked Shelbie Z, the hairdresser with a cool name and sassy attitude. And I’ll give a little nod to Lindita the personal trainer who’s got a lot of soul in her voice but way too much Christina Aguilera-on-steroids with the vocal runs.

Having said that, none of them are of the OMG I think they can win variety. I recall too many knock-my-socks-off auditions like Chris Daughtry’s and Adam Lambert’s both of whom did eventually go on to win.

Uh, what? Really? They didn’t? Well, how the %$^# did that NOT happen?

OK, how about My Girl Jax’s audition last year? Or Should Have Been My Girl Brandy Neelly a few years ago[3]. These, likewise, were examples of this-person-can-win auditions more so than Sonika or Shelbie Z. But it’s early and I am quite willing to change my mind when they get to Hollywood.

As to Kanye’s appearance – yes, it was superfluous and gratuitous and unnecessary – and way out of context. Golden Tickets, acceptance and rejection, and tug at your heart backstories[4] are what Idol’s auditions have always been about. Sure, a little – and I do mean a little Harry! – hijinx with the judges is alright. But the reason for the show’s success in putting Idolists into successful music careers is that the focus was always on the contestants. Not the judges. And certainly not on celebrities who have zero connection to the show; or on Ryan’s friendship with Kim Kardashian. I’m fine with Kanye. I just would have preferred a killer audition to end the show – someone who would have left me with the feeling that this person can be the LWAI.

I’m so happy to be musing again. 🙂 See you tomorrow!

P.S. For some reason, Clay Aiken felt the need to go on a Twitter rant against Idol. I understand and am OK with people who want to hate Idol. But I don’t understand and am not OK with someone hating Idol when the show made you, dude. Seriously, what’s your deal?


[1] Not throwing shade. He called himself that.

[2] Carrie, please don’t do anything to, say, the headlights, seats or tires of my car.

[3] It’s the last season of Idol blogs. Prepare yourselves to hear the names of Adam and Brandy early and often.

[4] They did a great job tonight with flashbacks of some of the memorable backstories including Kellie Pickler’s.


Voter Vexation

April 3, 2014

Dexter. Daughtry. Pretty much everything you need to know about Idol voters can be summed up with those two names.

Dexter = never underestimate the power of country voters in reality singing shows. They have kept more bad country singers in the competition[1] for more weeks than their talents deserved (can you say Kristy Lee Cook?).

Daughtry = never underestimate the power of Idol voters to underestimate talent. Fourth place? Really?[2] Wasn’t he great tonight? Seriously, how did he only finish fourth?!?

So why should anybody be surprised when it was Malaya rather than Dexter who occupied a place in the Dreaded Bottom Three?

Otherwise, it was business as expected. Sam and CJ took their rightful places. Sam sang for survival and was saved. And what was with the confetti shower, anyway?

One of the “charms” of Idol is enduring what seems to be outrageous voting results such as Daughtry’s. Or Jennifer Hudson (7th place). Or Adam Lambert. Or even Jessica Sanchez having to sing for a save two seasons ago.

I’ve learned to try not to get too excited about voting results as long as it doesn’t affect the people who truly have a chance to win, e.g. the weeks when Jessica and Adam were in the Bottom Three. While I think Malaya deserves a higher place in the competition than Dexter to this point, I have never thought she could win. I also think that the voting limits will help prevent truly outrageous results.

It’s likely we’ve seen who will make their exits over the next few weeks: in some order it will be Sam, CJ and Malaya. While Malaya has outperformed Jessica and Dexter so far, it’s clear that the voters like them more and Dexter, in particular.

I want to make a further comment about last night’s outstanding show. My favorite Idol writers[3] must have been reading into my thoughts as all of them agreed that Idol was “back” in the sense that it was the first week where they felt they were watching something akin to the great Idol seasons of the past. For me it recalled the nights of Taylor Hicks/Katherine McPhee/Elliot Yamin/Daughtry/Paris Bennett/Kellie Pickler[4]; or David Cook/David Archuleta/My Girl Syesha Mercado/Jason Castro/Brooke White/Carly Smithson/Michael Johns[5].

Again, I don’t think our current Idolists are as good as a group as the names I just listed but they have improved tremendously and deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as past great seasons. And I think the judges’ fair and pointed but kindly-worded criticism has played a huge role in that. Furthermore, I think HCJ has made that happen. K-Urbs and J-Lo have followed his lead and each has had something from their own vantage points as artists to contribute to the Idolists’ growth. While this may not be the best group of Idolists, thanks to the judges, they are getting more and more compelling with each passing week.

Which has me really looking forward to next week where I will be once again blogging from Chicago. See you then.


[1] As well as The Voice and X Factor (where have you gone Tate Stevens?).

[2] Since this was Back to Auditions Week, Diandra reminded us that she spotted Daughtry as a star when she said during his Season 5 audition, “I’m buying his record when it comes out.” That, boys and girls, was an epic call.

[3] Michael Slezak of TVLinecom., Brian Mansfield of USA Today; Lyndsey Parker of Rolling Stone/Yahoo Music.

[4] Season 5

[5] Season 7

Musings on Results – and Money

March 14, 2014

Thanks to my Crack Research Staff, I was told that ba-ba-ba Ben went home. Obviously, I wasn’t surprised. No surprise that Sam was in the Dreaded Bottom Three, either. And I wasn’t really surprised that Majesty was there, too. She’s had two straight sub-par weeks. Majesty is quite talented but either that talent is more limited than I (and the judges) thought or she suffers from the malady I Don’t Know What Songs Are Good For Me Yet. The primary symptom of this malady is not knowing herself as an artist. Many Idolists come to the show not knowing that but the ones that go far figure it out pretty quickly. Maybe this week’s misadventure will point her in the right direction artistically.

With the results out of the way, allow me to muse on something I find interesting – the list by Forbes magazine of the top-earning Idolists for 2013. I anticipate this annual list with the same sense of excitement that people look forward to the first day of spring or the night when the clocks get turned back so they can get an extra hour of sleep.

Here is the list of the top ten earning Idolists for last year along with their results from the two prior years.

1. Carrie Underwood $31m winner Season 4 (2012 #2, tie) (2011 #1)

2. Kelly Clarkson $7m winner Season 1 (2012 #1) (2011 #6)

3. (tie) Phillip Phillips $5m winner Season 11

3. (tie) Adam Lambert $5m second place Season 8 (2012 #7) (2011 #2, tie)

5. Daughtry $4m fourth place Season 5 (2012 #2, tie) (2011 #2, tie)

6. Scott McCreery $3m winner Season 10 (2012 #4)

7. Taylor Hicks $2.5m winner Season 5

8. (tie) Fantasia $1.5m winner Season 3 (2011 #4)

8. (tie) Kelly Pickler $1.5m sixth place Season 5 (2012 #8, tie) (2011 #8)

10. (tie) Katherine McPhee $1m second place Season 5 (2012 #8, tie) (2011 #10)

10. (tie) Jennifer Hudson $1m seventh place Season 4 (2012 #5) (2011 #7)

Several things are worth noting.

  • My Boy Adam Lambert is a regular on the list. With a big tour with Queen coming up this year[1] and a recurring role on Glee, I expect to see his name again in the list next year. I put his name in bold in case you might have missed overlooked his name on the list. 🙂
  • Carrie Underwood is the Queen of Idol. Kelly the First Idolist isn’t even a close second.
  • Season 5 rules! Daughtry, Katherine McPhee, Taylor Hicks, and Kelly Pickler made the list. And that spectacular season also included Mandisa who won two Grammys last year. Season 5 was the year I caught my Idol addiction and I continue to believe that it was the show’s high-water mark for talent. This list suggests I’m right.
  • My usual correctness isn’t without its occasional missteps. I was neither a Phillip Phillips nor Scotty McCreery fan, but obviously they have done very well[2]. As you can see, Scotty made a repeat appearance in the top ten. It will be interesting to see if P2 can do the same.
  • Winning, of course, matters, but not by much. Idol winners (six) only outnumber “losers” by six to four.

Next week’s theme is songs from the Billboard Top Ten chart. My Musings will come from Princeton, New Jersey.  The locations may change but expect the high-caliber musings to remain the same.


[1] Yes, I have my tickets.

[2] I happened to catch a song of Scotty’s while channel surfing in a rental car and while his style of country music – or any style of country music – isn’t appealing to me, I have to say he has become a really good singer.

Next Stop: Hollywood!

January 30, 2014

The audition season is over. In “Go Big Red” Omaha, Nebraska[1], another 21 contestants got their golden tickets to Hollywood, bringing the total to 212 which is quite a bit less than recent years. I think that’s a good thing. People that stood out for me during tonight were:

  • C.J. Jones – who sang “Stand By Me
  • Paula Hunt – from the Air Force Band. I liked her a lot and I knew someone who sang in the Air Force Band and she was good, too.
  • Casey McQuillen – the 21-year old student who sang Demi Lovato’s Skyscrapers

Now the competition will radically intensify, as a series of mini-contests airing over the next three weeks will bring this down to what I hear is 15 girls – including My Girl Brandy Neelly – and 16 boys who will begin singing for our votes on February 26[2].

I believe it is the process of the Idol journey that is the reason why it is alone among reality singing shows in fulfilling its promise of discovering a pop star.  The Game Show with Singing aka The Voice may have its bromance. The X Factor may have its bombastic stage productions and Simon Cowell’s legendary snideness[3] – and My Miss Kelly Rowland. But neither has produced a major recording artist, yet – although I think this year’s X Factor winner Alex & Sierra are poised for pop stardom. And I think the reason why is that neither of those shows has Idol’s process.

The process starts with, as J-Lo said, “We take our time to go through a lot of people.” Everybody who wants a shot gets his or her shot. Unlike other shows that hand-select experienced contestants that will make for good TV, Idol has proven that patiently sifting through tens of thousands of untested diamonds-in-the-rough-with-a-dream is a much better starting place. An Idolist’s connection to a fan base comes out of our watching them grow from “as green as they come”, as one contestant said about himself tonight. Even now I can recall the auditions of Daughtry,[4] Melinda Doolittle, Adam Lambert, and Lauren Alaina.

The next step in the process is crucial. Where the other shows put their contestants on the big stage right away, Idol continues the sifting process with its infamous, boot camp style Hollywood Week. It understands that success is as much a matter of perseverance and a will to succeed, as it is talent. The long hours are a test of physical endurance. The group work is a test of relational and collaboration skills. And ultimately, it’s all about competing head-to-head with a group of talented performers with the exact same goals. Hollywood week shows these wanna-be pop stars exactly what it takes to succeed. Those who can manage the pressure continue to grow and we’ve seen many spectacular Hollywood performances as a result.

By the way, has anybody noticed that Randy Jackson is gone? I didn’t think so! That’s good evidence that it was time for him to move on. However, we will see him re-appear in a new feature of Hollywood Week. He will be running workshops for the golden-ticketed contestants with ex-Idolists, including Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry among others, assisting him as instructors. I hope the Evil Genius Producers let us see some of that.

Finally, the original cast of thousands gets cut down to a “semi-final” group of around 30 Idolists who will sing for their chance to get to the final 12 or 13. And from there, of course, is the weekly voting until we get to a winner. But along the way comes them picking songs among a variety of styles and working on arrangements with the band; photo shoots, commercials, interviews and publicity events.

By the time Idolists have gone through all of these steps, it should be no surprise why so many “losers” as well as most of the winners have gone on to great professional success. In essence, they went to trade school to become pop stars. And I believe it is this long, arduous process that explains why Idolists have over 400 Billboard #1 records, dozens of Grammys and an Oscar.

So step #1 – the auditions – are complete. Step #2 – Hollywood Week – is about to start. I’m looking forward to seeing what early favorites step up and which ones step back – and who the Evil Genius Producers have waited to surprise us with. And I’m also looking for where I think My Girl Brandy’s competition is going to come from.

Bring it on.


[1] And a big shout-out to my my Nebraska friends, especially the Kris-Lovin’ Ladies of Scottsbluff who helped make the whole Kris Allen vs. Adam Lambert, uh, debacle, so much fun. 🙂

[2] Yes, this date has been on my calendar for some time.

[3] Yes, this is a word.

[4] Especially when my daughter Diandra with incredible foresight said, “I’m buying his album when it comes out!”

Harry Connick Jr. For the Win!

January 15, 2014

Boys and girls, welcome to American Idol Season 13! And of far more significance to the history of mankind, welcome to the seventh year of Idol Musings. In that first blog post – which actually began its life as an email to my friends[1] – I mentioned eventual finalists David Archuleta, Carly Smithson, Brooke White, and soon-to-be My Girl Syesha Mercado[2]. And 441 posts later, I’m going to tell you how great Harry Connick, Jr. is.

Harry – who will go by HCJ – is clearly the breakout star of the first night. I think people find him attractive or something or other. And he’s also funny, intelligent and opinionated without being argumentative or holier-than-thou. His presence on the show could be a game-changer and the big breath of fresh air that Idol needed.

I loved a bunch of other things about tonight, too.

More than anything, I still love that that auditions are 30-seconds a capella performances. No need for the fully staged, professionally produced hoopla the other singing shows do. 30 seconds of you and your voice should be all it takes to find out if you have signs of what it takes. It’s cool to know that Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, Daughtry and Adam Lambert got their big breaks with those bare 30 seconds.

I love the “Hollywood or Home” segment where the viewers have to guess whether or not the judges sent someone to Hollywood or not.

I love that there may be fewer back stories this year and the ones they have will be brief. That means we will see more auditions and judge the Idolists more on their singing than their story.

I love that we may get honest critique this year – led by HCJ. In the past, too many singers were put through because the judges couldn’t say no – singers you knew had no shot in Hollywood. This year, decent singers were sent home.
Related to that, I love that the Evil Genius Producers didn’t resort to the tired trick of finding train wreck singers we are supposed to laugh at.

I loved that HCJ was dismissive of vocal runs as the singular mark of good singing. That’s a theme I’m probably going to be coming back to.[3] And I really loved that he used the word “pentatonics” – five key notes within a twelve-note scale – and said the judges should be educating the viewers on music. Thank you to whomever in the universe is responsible for granting my wish!

There was only one thing I didn’t like – the repeated butchering of Grace Potter and the Nocturnal’s Ooh La La. I’m happy Grace is getting paid but if she heard those versions, she’d want to sue for treble damages.

As to the Idolists, I noted the following:

  • 2 stars – Savion Wright; Malcolm Allen
  • 1 star – Kaitlyn Jackson who’s from Norwich, NY, a town not far from where I lived in upstate NY[4]
  • no stars but I wrote his name down – Ethan Thompson

For those wondering if this season’s My Girl appeared tonight, the answer is no. The word is that she auditioned in Detroit and those auditions will air next Wednesday. It is not known if she will appear on that show but at least you know which day to pay a lot of attention to. I know I will. 🙂

As for tonight, well done Evil Genius Producers and HCJ! It’s early yet and I can’t really be definitive until we see some live shows. But the potential for a great season is clearly there.


[1] Which they forwarded to their friends and family, who forwarded it to their friends and family and eventually my friend Wanda kept after me to turn the emails into a blog.

[2] The word “crush” may or may not have appeared a few blogs later.

[3] In my last blog on my wishes for this season, for space reasons I deleted musings on what I wish for regarding the judging of singers. Based on Harry’s comments, I will have to re-incorporate those musings into a future blog.

[4] I’m in NY now and the local Fox news is doing pieces on Kaitlyn.

Surprise, Surprise!

April 18, 2013

Surprise! Kree in the Bottom Two!

Surprise! My Girl Amber is NOT in the Bottom Two!

Surprise! Judges don’t save Janelle!

Surprise! Paula Abdul returns! And she was near tears while talking about a performance![1]

Surprise! Ray was wrong! (Why do I hear throngs of people asking me to repeat that?)

Let’s address these surprises in no particular order. Apparently the Evil Genius Producers Get Out the Vote for Amber Campaign was a smashing success. Idol interns are making notes in their How to Become an Evil Genius Producer notebooks:

When an Idolist you want to stay in the competition is at risk, you:

  1. Have the Idolist sing last;
  2. Have a powerful record company executive lavish excessive praise on the Idolist no matter how well they sing;
  3. Have the Idolist sing a song by a judge who is a legendary recording artist;
  4. Have said legendary recording artist scold viewers for not voting for the Idolist;
  5. Keep referring to the Idolist as a “young Whitney.”

The Amber Surprise clearly had repercussions for the other Idolists not named Candice, but who saw Kree in the Bottom Two coming? If it wasn’t Amber joining Janelle, it was supposed to be Angie.

The Kree Surprise is a mystery that I’m still trying to process. I’ve always thought that Angie was the wild card in this race and I guess her Top Three result confirms this. I also suppose that over-emoting (Angie) is better than under-emoting (Kree) when people vote on what they see on TV as opposed to what they hear on their iPods.

Conspiracy Theory Alert – could this shocking result just be an Evil Genius Producer twist to generate interweb buzz and keep viewer interest? How do we know what they do with those ATT or American Idol app votes?[2]

Sorry – I still don’t quite know what to do with Kree being in the bottom.

This brings me to 5th place Janelle and the judges not using the save. I explained my logic – now proven erroneous – of why they would save her in my prior blog. This does appear to throw the TV schedule off one week and would seem to cost Fox millions of advertising dollars. Like an investigative reporter, I will be Google News-ing this story to find out what the scoop is.[3]

Back to the Kree Surprise. This raises two interesting questions. Is this just a one-week phenomenon? Other winners/runner-ups have been in the bottom although, if memory serves, not this late in the competition. This week is the first real surprise. Idol’s history is that the surprises have come sooner.[4] And who is the frontrunner now? Is it My Girl Candice? Or has Angie taken the lead?

But really, do any of those questions matter this week? One thing you can say about this season, once we got to the voting, it has been pretty predictable. With the exception of Lazaro, each week the right person other than him went home. This week, once again, the right person went home. Janelle was easily the weakest vocalist in the Top Five.[5]

It’s next week where we will get some real clarity. It should have been evident weeks ago that Candice/Amber/Angie/Kree were going to be the Final Four. Up until now, we have been losing pretenders one by one. Starting next week, we could lose our first real contender.

Seriously – Kree in the Bottom Two? I don’t get it.


[1] One of those isn’t a surprise.

[2] Before you completely dismiss this as pure poppycock, Nicky tweeted before the show about the shocking results. It would seem that more than just Nigel and Ryan know what’s in Ryan’s envelope.

[3]  I know – real investigative reporters do more than troll Google News. Fine, I’ll do some Twitter searches, too.

[4] A notable exception was Chris Daughtry exiting in 4th place in Season 5.

[5] And with her gone, maybe now I will stop comparing her to My Honorable Mention Girl Brandy Neelly. Just like I don’t write about Adam Lambert much.

Laz’s Last Stand

April 11, 2013

Our national nightmare is over. The Idolist Evil Eye Jimmy ranks tenth out of six contestants is finally gone, gone, gone. We can all breathe a big sigh of relief, and by “we”, I mean the Evil Genius Producers whose inspirational storyline became the noose they nearly hung themselves with.

The Evil Genius Producers also must have breathed a sigh of relief over seeing the past two shows (last week’s results show and last night’s performance show) ratings rise. Perhaps the Lazaro intrigue helped in some unpredictably scary way?

With him gone, we now have a legitimate competition – legitimate meaning it was OK for Idol to specifically seek out a group of guys who couldn’t win even if it meant going to extraordinary lengths to do so. And we have to assume that a legitimate competition means that My Girl Amber will be the next to go even if she’s light years better than Janelle.

I guess I will be fine with that since Evil Eye Jimmy is saying that My Girl Amber has the whole package – everything he looks for in a recording artist. I’m guessing that she will get a recording contract no matter where she finishes in this competition.

And as long as I’m talking about My Girl Amber, wasn’t it fabulous when she and My Girl Candice came on together during this week’s Cheesy Idol Sing-A-Long?[1] Comparing those two to what had come before them was like comparing the varsity to the jayvees.

And speaking of My Girl Candice, it’s obvious Evil Eye Jimmy came around. Last week he doesn’t have her in the top three. This week, he’s talking about sending her songs for an album and letting her pick whatever ones she wants to record. Sounds like he’s going to want to work with her, too, whether she wins or not.

By the way, it’s important to note that while Randy frequently blurts out absurdities, his calling Candice’s Lovesong the greatest performance in the history of Idol needs to be taken seriously. In the face of many great performances, Randy has been steadfast in maintaining that Fantasia’s Summertime in Season 3 was the gold standard. His praise for Candice needs to be seen in a historical context and not just a highlight of this current season.

It also appears that Jimmy continues to be in agreement with me (and my guest blogger) that Kree is still looking for a personality to match her wonderful voice. In the business – and by the business I mean the industry – you can have a personality and no voice and still be a star. But it’s really hard to be a star on vocals alone. Audiences may appreciate a person’s talent but they connect with their personality.

With a show like Idol (or The Voice or X-Factor) where the next set of contestants comes our way in a few months after the current set, Kree’s talents may be forgotten when another season of talented singers arrives. It’s personality that keeps an artist’s fans connected to them, buying their CDs and going to their concerts even after the next season’s Idolists arrive to start chasing their dreams.

If this is a legitimate competition, My Girl Candice is too far ahead to lose this race. But the magic of Idol is that “legitimate” is a hard thing to pin down. The fates of Jennifer Hudson, Chris Daughtry, Adam Lambert, Brandy Neelly,[2] and a host of others demonstrate that Idol legitimacy is in the eye of the beholder.

But thankfully, we won’t have Lazaro to worry about anymore. And while we could legitimately quibble about Burnell being gone, we have five credible Idolists remaining. For now, that’s legitimate enough for me.


[1] It had the extra cheese of being a Bacharach and David medley.

[2] Last year almost every blog mentioned Adam Lambert. This year, it’s My Honorable Mention Girl Brandy Neelly. I believe consistency is a virtue sometimes.

Another Great Results Show. Another Great Result.

March 16, 2012

It’s ironic that in a year when the ratings are low that the worst part of Idol – the results shows – are finally no longer an hour we dread. They are fast-paced, entertaining (two guest performances by current artists) and highly insightful thanks to Evil Eye Jimmy’s performance reviews. And as always, the arguments between Jimmy and the judges, i.e. between producer and artist makes for great TV as well as provides a behind-the-curtain look of what goes on in the music business.

That Shannon goes home and misses the Idol tour isn’t a surprise. She was far behind the other two big ballad singers (My Girls Jessica and Hollie) and brought nothing to distinguish her from the other Idolists. I do hate the sing-for-your-life ending, though. The judges already know if the person is worth saving and re-singing the same song that got them the boot shouldn’t change their minds. It’s only two minutes of airtime. Surely Ryan could just ask the judges if they are going to save the Idolist and the evil genius producers could come up with a better way to fill those two minutes.

I’m sad that Erika was in the Bottom Three rather than Heejun but as I previously wrote, she had to sing her way into the Finals because she didn’t have enough votes to make the Final 13 outright. So without a breakout performance, it’s no surprise that she still hasn’t connected with the voters. While it should be Heejun’s turn next week, I fear we’ll be saying goodbye to EVP next.

I love that Tommy Hilfinger has been retained as Idol’s image consultant. Image is a huge part of what makes a star and don’t we all love that he used Adam Lambert as a great example of this? [1]

Since this blog is about critical evaluations of the performances on Idol, it’s only fair that I comment on our guests tonight, Demi and Daughtry. I really like Demi Lovato’s Love Give Your Heart a Break but unfortunately, like many of today’s pop singers, her live performance was high on style and lower on vocal substance. As for Daughtry – wow – I dig this new song Can’t Get You Out of My Head. Chris doesn’t scowl as much as he used to when he sings but I still think he could use some lessons from Jon Bon Jovi[2] on how to smile and look like he’s having fun. In any case, it’s always great to see Idol alumni come back as experienced pros.[3]

Thank you, America, for keeping Joshua safe. But please note, this is a week-to-week thing so I need you to keep working with me. It’s a long way and a lot of songs to go before I am ready to crown him but he better go far in this competition – very far. And I’d be very happy to see My Girls and P2 go far with him.


[1] Can you hear the gloat in my tone of voice? Tommy even compared him to Freddie Mercury and Bowie.

[2] We saw him open for Jon Bon.

[3] Although I probably won’t feel that way when Scotty McCreery comes back on.

An Idol Musings Update (with breaking news)

February 29, 2012

Because last night’s blog was already long, I left a few noteworthy things out. But first – breaking news. My crack research staff has infiltrated the ladies practice time and my inside sources say that Erika Van Pelt and My Girl Jessica Sanchez have been the best during rehearsals. Look for them to have big nights and if they do, look for me to gloat about it since I’ve previously highlighted them as ladies I like.

As to last night, you have to love how the evil genius producers essentially kept Joshua Ledet under wraps through the Hollywood cut-down rounds. They did this knowing that he was “the one” after his audition[1], and by keeping him relatively hidden, the 16 million Americans still watching Idol would have the awe-inspired reaction that we 16 million Americans had[2].

Also, the judges were way too nice and forgiving last night. I expect them to be the same with the ladies tonight. While the show has moved on quite well without Simon, I do miss his honest and objective critique[3] and I think the show still needs that.

Finally, look for these four Idol alumni to perform (and promote new material) sometime during the season: My Girl Lauren Alaina, Chris Daughtry (March 15?), James Durbin and Adam Lambert.


[1] And compared her to My Girl Lauren who was identified as the one by Nigel and the judges after her audition.

[2] Well not all 16 million. Implausibly, 5% of USA Today Idol blog readers rated his performance a D or F. Pardon me while I wish bad things happen to them and two generations of their descendants.

[3] Which somehow disappeared or seemed disingenuous on his own show.

A Necessary (and very entertaining) Evil

January 23, 2012

As a reader of this blog, you may think that this entry is no new news or just preaching to the choir. You’re reading this blog, of course, because you are a dedicated Idol follower. Sadly, the ratings indicate that our numbers may – and I stress may – be declining. Thursday’s show – the second audition round from Pittsburgh, attracted “only” 18m viewers down from 23% from the night before.[1]

That’s too bad because so far, I’m finding the audition rounds as enjoyable as ever and technically maybe better than ever.

As Ryan reminded us in the beginning of the show, Idol is, “America’s most prestigious singing competition.” Let’s put aside the number of people tonight that we saw going to Hollywood that won’t come out of Hollywood[2]. The fact is that Idol is a remarkably produced and entertaining show even during the auditions. Here’s why tonight was awesome:

  • The music from Top Gun (the auditions were on an aircraft carrier)
  • Aero’s crazy green fighter pilot goggles – what would Top Gun have been like if Ice had worn those bad boys?
  • Making fun of themselves (again) by playfully acknowledging the noise on an aircraft carrier[3]
  • The first kiss sequence with contestant Ali Shields (although playing Katy Perry’s I Kissed A Girl didn’t really fit since she was kissing guys the whole time including Usher and Mike Posner)
  • Playing J Lo’s Get on The Floor after Ashley Robles got her golden ticket because it was her daughter’s favorite song
  • Playing Katy Perry’s California Girls in the background while clips of various California girls got their golden tickets

As always, there’s still nothing better than the golden ticket celebrations. And tonight was another night of playing nice – i.e. no trainwrecks or emotional psychodramas – which so far seems to be a theme for the year. I still wouldn’t mind seeing a few calculated meltdowns, though.

As for the actual singers, it will interesting to see the eventual fate of the aforementioned Ashley Robles; Jim Carrey’s daughter Jane; and Jason “Wolf” Hamlin who did a killer take on Folsom Prison Blues.

My feeling about the audition “season” is this – it’s a necessary evil. At its core, Idol is about the zero-to-hero dream of becoming a pop star. The possibility that 15 seconds can lead to completely changing someone’s life is the unique charm of Idol. I still remember seeing Daughtry and Adam Lambert. And for most viewers, I think that working one’s way through all of the auditions – whether you see someone you really like or not[4] – creates buy-in to the entire process. I believe it’s the process itself – auditions-to-Hollywood-to Finalists – that eventually connects viewers so strongly to the show. As enjoyable as they are in their own way, The Voice and The X Factor don’t have Idol’s process.[5]

So now it’s on to Aspen, Colorado for the next round of auditions. Whether I find the next winner or not, a few psycho-meltdowns would make me happy.

[1] To be fair, there was a similar drop-off from first night to second night last year.

[2] Another 53 got golden tickets. Alas, the sweetly-named Jahray may be one of those who fall by the Hollywood wayside.

[3] The cynic in me wonders of they added noise and clips that weren’t actually happening during the auditions but it’s still good entertainment especially when the noise bleeped out Aero.

[4] Add My Girl Lauren Alaina last year to the list of auditions that blew me away.

[5] I do like The Voice’s blind auditions, though. But the duets where the contestants compete while performing is baffling.