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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

American Idol - A Political Junkie's Recap

At the risk of incurring the wrath of G-Man, I have to offer my take on last night's American Idol (G-Man watches with his wife and kids... what's my excuse?). You're not going to learn much about border control or health savings accounts from this post, but then, you don't learn much over at Powerline when they provide Miss Universe commentary, now do ya...?

Queen Night helped separate the men from the boys and the women from the girls. And then there was Ace, in a class by himself. I feel comfortable skipping confession this week, as I paid my penance for past sins by listening to some horrific performances last night.

I musy say, Bucky is growing on me. Guy can't really sing all that well, but he manages to be inoffensive week after week by keeping it "at home" in his country range. In this group of singers, inoffensive is a real plus. He's a sort of bizarro AlGore, whose skill at being offensive, particularly on foreign soil, has been raised to an artform.

Still wondering where Saddam's deadly chemicals went? Somebody call Hans Blix and point him to Ace - the toxic cloud he laid down was so odious, I'm surprised they didn't shut down the show and call in the boys from HazMat. As those who "hold jobs that Americans won't do" would say, "No mas!".

Maybe Kellie caught a snootful of nerve agent from Ace's performance. What else could explain her near-death appearance and respiratory-system failure vocals? Atropine! Stat! Fortunately for Kellie, expectations were low, and by golly, she met them. Way to go! And if this whole singin' thing doesn't work out for her, she'd make a great Republican Senator in Washington DC. - they always meet our lowest expectations.

Speaking of great deliberative bodies, hey! there's U.N. Ambassador Chris from Rockistan. His big push at the UN is to outlaw vocal land mines, aka songs that blow up in your mouth if they require dynamic range. He sings high or low, soft or loud, but just not within the same song. Why did Chris sing "Innuendo" and not a more well-known song? The pattern is clear and calculated - pick a rather obscure song with a narrow range and rock it out. And count on the audience being none the wiser about the quality of the singing versus the original artist's rendition.

Chris does not want to step up and meet the challenge of this competition head on. Whatever he has to do to avoid difficulty, he does. It's tiresome and not the mark of a true champion, and I appreciated Simon calling him on it last night.

Katharine, on the other hand, looked like the embodiment of Reagan's Shining City on A Hill, what with the dramatic lighting and all. I half expected her to be holding a torch in one hand and a book in the other. It wasn't her best singing effort (she had to sing the song twice during rehearsals just prior to the show due to a production screw up) but it was a genuine attempt at the sort of BIG performance that moves a contestant to the front of the pack. She stepped up and took a risk, which is what you expect in this competition.

Back by popular demand! He runs! He does the Elaine Benis Full-Body Heave dance! He twists and shouts! He shows you the top of his graying head as he sings! It's the Taylor experience! Yawn. He's like a great bar band act - you really dig the entertaining gyrations and quirky hijinx the first time you see them, but the second or third time around, well... not so much. The antics become a bit stale. Watching Taylor sprint around the stage, I was less entertained than made dizzy - I could have sworn I was watching a throwaway Vegas show. Which made me think of Nevada, and being the political geek I am, I naturally thought of the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository, which lead me back to Taylor's act. Time to put it into a protective cask and store it deep in the ground.

Elliot put in another good vocal performance. Really like the guy's voice and respect his willingness to take on difficult songs, but the stage presence is unnerving. On Country Night, he took the stage like a steer in a slaughterhouse, scared witless and looking for the exit. Last night, he came on like Joe Biden rushing a TV camera, unrestrained in his desire to make a statement. Unfortunately, the song was "Someone to Love", which called for finesse and sensitivity rather than muscular boldness. You want someone to love, Elliot, but I'm afraid that uber-sexual performance may have scared her away. Still time for him to regain his footing, but he better be ready to deliver an "IT" performance soon if he hopes to stick around.

All I can say to you, Paris, is this: you're no Condi. Nobody can wear boots like Condi. Seriously, you just haven't performed up to your potential and last night was no exception. We bought your stock right out of the gate, but you've slipped in value ever since and we find it hard to let you go and absorb the losses. We thought you were Google, but turns out you were Microsoft, dead in the water. You're very close to triggering a sell order...

Ace goes home tonight, with Elliot by his side on the stage. Paris is also in the bottom three.


Blogger G-man said...

You had no wrath from me until the Paris paragraph. She has showmanship and a voice that's bigger than her hair extensions. Paris did a great job with a very difficult song.

I've been a Queen fan since they introduced “Day at the Races” and “Night at the Opera”. Gotta like Brits who pay homage to the Marx Brothers. But, “The Show Must Go On” is not one of my favorite songs. It's one of the few Freddie Mercury performance that fails to keep your interest. That is, until Paris sang it. Yesterday's performance by Paris was outstanding, particularly after listening to the original recording by Queen.

As for The Dean's assessment of the other contestants, I fully concur.

Last night, Katherine and Paris stole the show. I'm betting these are the two finalists of this season.

4/12/2006 10:13 PM  

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