TIME's reviewer says:
The series... was at its best all about democracy. And on Thursday night it provided a sort of recall election, placing the vast majority of its alumni performers into stagings chosen seemingly at random.... Five of them, the so-called White Guys With Guitars who marked the show’s later years in which tween girls were the major voting base, were limited to 20 percent apiece of a David Bowie tribute. Jordin Sparks and Taylor Hicks, two relatively early winners, had arguably less to do than Pia Toscano, who came in ninth place five years ago....The show began with President Obama — on video, not in the theater — and he looked so bad that I thought it was some anti-Obama political ad. He wasn't properly made up for the camera and he looked really tired. His congratulations to the show morphed into a lecture on voting:
"Voting is the most fundamental and sacred right of our democracy. I believe it should be almost as easy as voting on 'American Idol,' and we're working on that. But when we choose not to vote we surrender that right."Eh. What bilge. Voting is the most sacred right? Voting in elections should be like voting on "American Idol," where you call and text in multiple votes? And you surrender your right if you don't use it? No, you don't. Just as you have a right not to speak (as part of freedom of speech) and a right not to have a religion (as part of freedom of religion), the right to vote includes the right to abstain. And abstaining when you have no preference in an election makes as much sense as keeping silent when you've got nothing to say and not bothering to act like you have a religion when you don't sincerely believe.
Obama ended by wagging a finger at us and telling us to go to vote.gov and register.
Now, the thing about voting is, I think, Americans don't like to be told what to do. We didn't like being told we were going to vote for Jeb Bush, and we've been putting up an agonizingly long, slow resistance to getting Hillary jammed down our throat.
On this last season of "American Idol," the judges continually acted as if it was already understood that the winner was going to be La'Porsha Renae. We were supposed to vote, but we were supposed to vote for her. [SPOILER ALERT.]
No matter how much progress anybody else made, no matter how hard he worked to win us over, the fix was in. But the "American Idol" establishment couldn't make it happen, and the other guy, Trent Harmon, won:
Harmon tumbled to the stage in surprise as host Ryan Seacrest announced him as the 15th and final winner....The judges hurt Renae's case by leaning on us to vote their idea of what is correct. We rebel. Don't tell us what to do.
"I know that I have a God-given ability, but I didn't want to take it for granted. I wanted to work so, so hard, and she pushed me to do it," a tearful Harmon said of Renae, who stood poised and smiling by his side.
ADDED: WaPo demagogues it: "Surprising no one, white man bests black woman to become final ‘American Idol’ winner." The first 3 words of that headline are a blatant lie. Most were surprised. And:
As one Twitter user put it: “ANOTHER basic white boy” had triumphed.