March 2, 2006

"American Idol" -- results.

42 million votes. It's like a presidential election! Oh, but if you could multiple vote in a presidential election, there'd be a billion votes, right?

They launch into a group sing of that horrible song "Love the One You're With." There's something abusive about pressuring young people to put their all into these lyrics, but they do. I pause to write this and see they are all doing that legs-apart crouch. Ugh! They are also all scrunching their eyes closed in faux bliss and curling their upper lips noseward in manufactured sass. Except there's Bucky, wiggling himself into an S shape. I think he's just trying to keep up.

Oh, the pain! This song was insufferably cheesy when Steven Stills tried to foist it on us in 1970. How can it even exist today?

Wow! Mandisa's dressed in a bare black top, showing off her rippling arm flesh and letting us see exactly how amazingly wide her hips are at the point where they merge with tree-trunk thighs. I'm impressed! She gives real meaning to the term pear-shaped. Yet this is the right fashion choice. You can't wear a muu-muu and read as young. Go with the jeans and the cute top and whatever it is you have under it.

They bring out last season's winner, Carrie Underwood. She sings a song called "Jesus Take the Wheel." I take it this song is already a hit, but, of course, I have never encountered it. I think there's something ineffably weird about "American Idol" promoting religious faith. They're trying to ape something that once was sincere in the American country tradition. It seems wrong to drag Jesus into that strained effort.

Brenna is the first to go. America, it turns out, is good at getting it right. Here's where TiVo comes in handy. I fast forward through her reprise of "Last Dance." The other "girl" to go is Heather Cox (not Kinnik Sky). Fast forward.

Now, the "guys." The bottom three are Sway, David Radford, and Kevin Corvais. And David -- the faux Sinatra -- goes first. America's smart, no? And the other guy to go is... Sway. Aw, that's sad!

UPDATE: If you're looking for the results for the newest show, click on the banner at the top of the page and scroll down to the most recent "American Idol -- results."


Kirk Parker said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kirk Parker said...

Well, I'd have a lot more tolerance for them trying to work in religious faith (which is by no means passe in today's country tradition) it they didn't include "Love the One You're With" and the like in the same show. Talk about tone-deaf!

(Deleted my previous comment due to some mangled syntax--hope this one sounds un-mangled to everyone.)

Dave said...

What's horrible about "if you can't be with the one you love, love the one with your with?"

Nothing captures the zeitgeist of the sixties more than that song.

Doug said...

Sway going wasn't sad. Really. Kevin staying was a little sad though, so if you have tears to spare...

West Coast Independent said...

What wrong with that song?
It's a fun song.

But I'm a guy :)

Ann Althouse said...

At the time, I didn't think "Love the One You're With" represented the hippie ethic. It seemed to be more the Playboy attitude that I associated with 1950s libertines. The phrase is an old cliche, as it was then, and it all seemed very creepy to me then, as it still does. Stills seemed, in that song, to be just a dirty old man singing a big ode to self-justification. As I've said before, I disliked Crosby, Stills & Nash at the time and felt they were ruining rock and roll.

vbspurs said...

America's smart, no?

You bet your life!, as I said on 3 November 2004.

Although I do have to say, when you were busy watching Idol, Ann, I was busy watching and blogging about:

Rio Carnival 2006

Friendly Warning: My blogpost may not be fit for office consumption, as there are a few photos of gorgeous Brazilian ladies in various stages of undresss.

God, I just broke the internets, didn't I?


vbspurs said...

But I'm a guy :)

You say that, like it's a bad thing.


David Boyd said...

Love the one you're with has always seemed like a pretty efficient way to go through life to me.

EnidV said...

I agree that America got it right with the girls. I was a little surprised that Sway is gone, but I don't think Kevin will make the top 12.

As for Love the one you're with - I thought it was inappropriate for 16 year olds to sing this. I agree with Kirk on that one - tone deaf. But then Hollywood isn't really tuned in to the middle part of the country, are they?

knox said...

Yea! Brenna's gone! Woo-hoo! I didn't like that Heather either--there was something kinda creepy about her.

Dang, Ann, your description of Mandisa had me cracking up. However, she's still my fave for the girls, rippling thighs notwithstanding.

JodyTresidder said...

As a mongrel Brit but US resident, I still quiver a little when religion erupts into secular life - hence a naive fascination with Carrie singing "Jesus Takes the Wheel". I thought it was going to be a novelty version of the fatal crash song - like "Leader of the Pack" (there's another one "Hello, this is Joanie", I think - about a guy listening to his recently dead girlfriend on her answerphone, which has a cheesy resonance). Then they said Carrie's song had been a number one hit for six weeks, which again gave me naive pause. I suppose it's an upcheering number late at night for long distance truckers? (Since in the end, Jesus comes to the rescue and its all a tidy metaphor for taking the right road in life...).
What with cutie-pie Paris doing her pointing upwards thing and saying "I've got favor" - which is a religious thing? and big-grin-Gideon saying "godbless" and Mandisa's famous "Jesus forgives you for calling me fat" to Simon (more or less), I'm beginning to wonder whether there's a subversive message about idol worship?
Delighted to see Brenna go - she seems to have aged a decade between her audition and final charmless performance - and not in the right way.

Jennifer said...

I have to admit I don't really understand why the merest mention of religion can cause such concern.

Jody - why is music necessarily secular life? And why does the fact that 3 of the 24 final contestants reference their own religion hint at a subversive message?

They play Carrie Underwood's song all the time on country stations. Ann, I think it fits right in with a lot of the Christian messages in contemporary country music.

I have to admit, though, I was surprised when I first heard it. I wouldn't have thought the Idol producers would get behind a song called "Jesus Take the Wheel". I would have thought they would be concerned about turning people off.

Jennifer said...

I should clarify that when I allude to the "merest mention of religion" I'm not referring to the song specifically. Because that of course is quite steeped in religion.

I mean "merest mention" in the sense that this is one song out of how many sung on and put out by American Idol.

Also - yay! Bling bling and shine on somewhere else Brenna! I haven't seen the singing shows for this week yet, but I'm on board with the other three as well.

Tristram said...

"As a mongrel Brit but US resident, I still quiver a little when religion erupts into secular life"

Well, Carrie Underwood's song was #1 on the Country singles chart. As a rule, Country is much, much more religous than Pop. Many country artists publicly support their religions. For example, Brad Paisley usually has at least one hymn on his albums (for example he did 'The Old Rugged Cross' on one), in addition to songs like 'When I get where I'm Going'.

Many artists, like Martina McBride, Brad Paisley, John Michael Montgomery, Johnny Cash, and so on have spiritual songs. Not that they will ever be confused with gospel, but the coutry charts are not hostile to that kind of music.

And it makes sense from a marketing standpoint to not alienate a very large portion of the potenetial audience.

See, American Idol is very popular in the 'Red' states. Look at where most of the contestants came from.

A few city slickers (and at least one rich, new englander who annoys me greatly when she talks about her struggles), but Texas, N. Carolina, Oklahoma, Alabama have had more contestants than California or New York.

Ann Althouse said...

A lot of the best singers are as good as they are because they have been training to sing in church choirs -- especially in the South. This is the talent pool the show is drawing on. I take it that it is just completely ingrained in Gedeon to say "God bless" like that. I think the show screens out everyone with substance problems or criminal records, and the kids have to be very hardworking to make it any distance in the competition. These factors are going to produce of high concentration of religious individuals.

JodyTresidder said...

Jennifer asked: "Jody - why is music necessarily secular life?"

Well, of course, it isn't.

But you sorta answered the thrust of your own question when you acknowledged that "Jesus Takes the Wheel" WAS a surprising choice for secular "Idol" because it was "steeped" in religion.

Mainly, though, it's a cultural observation. Unsolicited references to personal faith are not generally the casual norm in the UK. The difference, when you move here, is really striking.

JodyTresidder said...

Ann wrote: "These factors are going to produce of high concentration of religious individuals."


Still, the ease with which God is thanked or csaually referenced is something I always notice here even when it's not red state specific (the Oscars as a public example: east coast acquaintances and friends as a personal one).
Mostly I find it mildly charming. Certainly very different to the UK.

EnidV said...

On another note, didn't the judges seem particularly off-putting last night? I never really believed that Paula was drinking before the shows, but last night, it seemed pretty obvious she had something going through her system. To be so sarcastic while these kids are waiting to find out if they're on or off the show, is really tacky. It seemed that Ryan was the only adult on stage. Never thought I'd say that...

Laura Reynolds said...

As for the contestents, those four were righly not voted forward IMO and several others (Kinnick and Kevin) should quickly follow.

When I think about Scott, Nikko and Anthony from last time I think these guys are much better.

Stills was generally overrated as was CSN and of all the songs to choose from, "Love the One Your With" is pretty lame. Maybe its easier to use for a group sing.

37921 said...

"As a mongrel Brit but US resident, I still quiver a little when religion erupts into secular life."

Is this to suggest that eruptions of religion into secular life are less common in the UK?

I must have imagined that enormous crowds I saw marching in London with banners reading "Behead those who insult the Prophet."

JodyTresidder said...

"I must have imagined that enormous crowds I saw marching in London with banners reading "Behead those who insult the Prophet." "

I was actually frying much smaller fish,37921; i.e. non-confrontational cultural etiquette.

vbspurs said...

Is this to suggest that eruptions of religion into secular life are less common in the UK?

As Jody's compatriot, I can tell you s/he's right.

But it's not just about religion, that the cultural differences are acute.

It is certainly true that religion is less ubiquitous in most of the UK, and Europe, than in the US or South America.

The Christian narrative is felt by many people to be either debunked or discounted as silly, and that is the dominant attitude to religion in the UK.

However, this British froideur to religion has less to do with religion itself, than with the cultural niceties that go with not imposing your private life in the public sphere.

It's considered rude, intrusive, and embarrassing.

This is also true of sex, of money, and of that particular "We're number 1!!" attitude Americans delight in.

There's a reason, my friends, that Jerry Springer came from America, and didn't originate anywhere else.

Americans just are much more comfortable speaking about a lot things publicly, not just about religion.

I must have imagined that enormous crowds I saw marching in London with banners reading "Behead those who insult the Prophet."

Those were particularly odious, and just reinforced the fanatical attitudes of hatred, unfortunately to be seen in many protests these days.

And dare I say, they were very very very un-British.

You won't soon see them doing that, in the UK, again.


vbspurs said...

One point I forgot:

As with anything in Britain, class differences raise their ugly head in terms of religion.

The upper-classes, and working-classes both, have a greater ease in expressing their religiosity.

The Queen, who is a very devout Christian lady by all accounts, is one of the few people in the UK, who uses the words "God bless" and "Jesus" in many of her Christmas broadacasts.

Many intellectuals in Britain have (since the late 1800s) been converted to Catholicism, and make a very public show of their religion.

Names like Evelyn Waugh, GK Chesterton, CS Lewis and even lesbian authoress, Radclyffe Hall, all were enthusiasticly public Catholic converts.

(Most recently, Princess Diana's mother and the Duchess of Kent, the one who gave her shoulder to Jana Novotna to cry on, have converted to Roman Catholicism)

And as mentioned in the Islamic protest movement, they too are lower-middle class to working class people, who feel no shame or compunction in publicly expressing their religiosity.

The same is true of Irish immigrants to the UK.

It's in the middle-classes, where you have this distaste with religion -- and if you want to be perceived as middle-class, if you're not, you make sure you keep your God to yourself.


vbspurs said...

Kirk, the second post sounded fine. :)

Whew, talk about thread hijacking, eh?


XWL said...

To get back to the awfulness of Stephen Stills-like misogyny. . .

The #6 linked photo from this week's Blue States Lose (a can't miss weekly feature at Gawker) really encapsulates my understanding of what Prof. Althouse is on about when complaining about that song.

Emily said...

Paula drunk?

Dizzie Diva said...

This week was one case where I thought the producers showed clear bias. Sway's singing on Wednesday night was not that bad, yet even "Mozart and Beethoven" (Simon's nicknames for Randy and Paula) were quickly negative about it in vague terms like "It didn't really work for me". They stuck him in the middle and buried him with the judges. Why they would want him out and the California Raisin guy in is beyond me.