May 23, 2007

"American Idol" -- the winner is (I hear) announced... and the theme is: cruelty.

"But I'm only human..." Did everyone in America crack up simultaneously when Phil sang that line in the top-6-guys rendition of the Smokey Robinson song "Ooh, Baby, Baby"? It had to be a cruel trick to assign that line to him, after all the snarking about him looking like Bat Boy/Nosferatu. Hey, Smokey's here! I love him. I saw him in person one time, in one of those Las Vegas performances. It was nice seeing Sanjaya again. Nice seeing Chris Sligh too. Inspired me to start blogging.

The show so far: Jordin and Blake sang a Beatles song ("When I Saw Her Standing There"), No Doubt, Kelly Clarkson, and a horrible "Best Presentation" award that went to a kooky fat lady who -- in keeping with tonight's cruelty theme -- tried to crush Ryan to death.

Now, Ryan acknowledges that people are pissed that last night Blake got cheated out of the chance to beat-box, which is what he does best. They bring out Blake with -- we're told he's legendary -- Doug E. Fresh to do a big beat-box number together, and he shows off nicely. And it's more than impressive, it's genuinely entertaining, unlike nearly everything else on this damned show.

They give a vocalist award to a bad singer, and then they ask him to sing "Silent Night," which he sings with the line "All is prom..."

Now the top 6 "girls" do "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," and Gladys Knight comes out and joins them. This must be fun for Jordin, who totally knows she won. In fact, I think Blake had a lot of fun in that beat-box number because he didn't have to worry about the possibility of winning. It's really cool to see Gladys with LaKisha and Melinda singing "Midnight Train to Georgia."

Tony Bennett sings "For Once in My Life." We see Paula -- the show's embodiment of all womanly emotion -- swaying ecstatically. But guys love Tony too. In the audience, we see Justin Guarini and Smokey Robinson, beaming nuttily.

A best duo award. Among the nominees, Simon and Ryan, and they have a montage of all the rather lame humor about whether they might be a gay couple. The award goes, quite rightly, to Jonathan and Kenneth, two young men who seem perhaps mentally disabled. Funning with them was deemed by some to be cruel, and maybe they'll think it's cruel to bring them back and give them an award, but who are you to say they weren't into it and aren't having a great time? Ryan asks Kenneth how he felt about Simon's insult -- "bush baby" -- and he says at first he was hurt, but he's gotten famous over it, so he forgives him. Fame conquers all. He says, "Lighten up. I have." Hear that America? But that doesn't me you can all go out and mock the disabled, because you don't have fame to bestow in exchange. They display a picture of a bush baby, and it really does look like Kenneth. "I'm just being honest" is one of Simon's favorite sayings.

Ryan awards Jordin and Blake the keys to new Mustangs and Blake does a Borat imitation: "High five! I like that!"

TiVo'd past: Carrie Underwood, doddering, blabbing Clive Davis, African children's choir. And now, a special tribute to Sanjaya. He performs with Joe Perry (for some reason). "You Really Got Me." Crying girl is in the audience.

TiVo'd past: Taylor Hicks. Next: Jordin sings with Ruben Studdard. Next: Bette Midler???? Yikes! "Wind Beneath My Wings." Well, that expresses the "American Idol" aesthetic. Ugh! Who canceled and left her in this spot?

Hmmm.... another Beatle thing: a tribute to "Sgt. Pepper." (Must mean next season will have a Beatles show or two.) It's Joe Perry playing guitar and Kelly Clarkson singing the title song... quite rousingly. Then, Taylor Hicks doing "Day in the Life." Carrie does "She's Leaving Home." The first two are very nicely down. Carrie kind of scares me though. Makes me want to run away from home myself. I suddenly realize Paul should be there, like Gladys and Smokey. Ruben sings "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." There's a group sing of "A Little Help from My Friends." I get ALL excited over the impendingness of Paul, and Paul never arrives. So, I guess Paul canceled, which is why we got Bette.

Something truly screwed up happened here!

Tons of commercials, and we're getting perilously close to the end of the TiVo recording, despite the added on 3 minutes. Here they are. Ryan blabs about how many votes there were. And the recording ends.

So, great. 2 hours, and I didn't get to see the few seconds that matter. As if I don't know Jordin won. Well, I said the theme was cruelty. Paul wasn't there. Bette Midler was. The TiVo misses it.... grrrrrrrrrrr......

ADDED: A distant saying from the past reasserts itself: Paul is dead. If he's not, I'm sergeantly pissed.


Hayduke said...

Tons of commercials, and we're getting perilously close to the end of the TiVo recording, despite the added on 3 minutes. Here they are. Ryan blabs about how many votes there were. And the recording ends.

Ha! The exact same thing happened to me. I came here hoping you'd have a recap.


Ruth Anne Adams said...

You tivo'd right past the Kelly Clarkson cameltoe. A Kellytoe. And Reuben singing about all the foodstuffs in "Lucy in the Sky"? I laughed out loud!

Ann Althouse said...

Screw Kelly's cameltoe. If Paul's not dead, I want my money back.

Pete Fanning said...

I'm no TIVO expert, but Time Warner DVR lets you set the recording to go PAST the scheduled program time...just in case....I do this all the time for sports......

I do have it in hidef if you wanna drive to Brookfield....:)

But something tells me Idol isn't worth the drive from Madtown....

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Tivo saved you hearing Jordin's rendition of the song you hated last night and the big group hug at the end. Tonight: all the schlock and twice the emotion.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Aah...but haven't you heard the record playing in reverse? Paul is dead.

Ann Althouse said...

Pete: TiVo was scheduled to go 3 minutes over. I could have scheduled more, but didn't. grrrrrrrrrr....

Douglas said...

I would refer to phil as "riff raff"

Douglas said...

Screw Kelly's cameltoe.

Thats what I was thinking. Grrr.

bill said...

- we're told he's legendary -- Doug E. Fresh

He is legendary.

Ann Althouse said...


Tim Sisk said...

Tivo caught us to, but we checked Fox using Live Tv and found the Tivo-DVR (cause we hadn't changed the channel) was still buffering 30 minutes of Fox. So we rewound and found out the winner.

SteveR said...

He is legendary.

Not so fresh though.

Taylor with "Day in the Life" I blew my mind out.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

I guess Paul took wing:

Well, the night was falling as the desert world began to settle down. In the town they're searching for us everywhere, but we never will be found. Band on the run, band on the run

And the blogging judge who held a grudge will search for evermore for the band on the run...

Ann Althouse said...

Tim: Yeah, I didn't think of that. Would probably have worked.

Ereq said...

Hi Ann, This is Armen writing, would you like to publish your writing on American Idol Winner at HULIQ.COM, which is powered by bloggers, it's social news site and you can get a link to your site.

Thanks. It's free. Sorry, I did not know how else to contact you.


Douglas said...

Only good thing about the entire lead-up was Doug E. Fresh. The man is hype, and though blake is fun, doug e. is still that master and the original human beat box.


Mabel said...

Did you not see Green Day performing Working Class Hero? It was the best performance of the night. Seems like you fast forwarded right through it.

Suzie Nolen Bennett said...


I know you like this show as do gozillions of others, but I'll be so happy when it just GOES THE HECK AWAY.

Its very existence is an affront to actual musicians. The 'Idol' people aren't looking to find the best singers... they're shaping people to sell CDs.

I live in Alabama, where some of the 'Idols' originate... but I wouldn't buy any of their stuff. It's all just so vanilla.

It's about marketing, not music.

J. said...

1. The Idol finale has tended to be a pretty good show. All the interior Fox promos are killing it. Jerry Springer, David Hasselhoff, Brad Garrett = bizarre! Give them the night off and let them go drinking.

2. Bette Midler? Bette Midler. First, she sucked. Second, you know she's going to fire someone's ass for how bad she sucked. The big mystery -- what was she doing on the show?

3. Have to fervently disagree with Mabel re: Green Day cover of Working Class Hero. Wrong band, wrong song, wrong placement.

4. Highlights: the Winans + Melinda, Gladys Knight, Ruben + Jordin, Smokey, Blake + Mr. Fresh.

5. Couldn't agree more on the "awards" they give to folks who are likely mentally ill. Show them early in the season, then bring 'em out to the final and give them another shiv.

6. Beatles songs just don't translate well. Last year's tribute to Burt Bacharach kicked butt over this year's mess.

Maxine Weiss said...

Lonesome Payne said...

Yeah, the Green Day thing pissed me off because it's evidently their offering on an album dedicated to stopping the violence in Darfur.

It just tells me that this little Green Day puke can't get over his own fascinating leftist politics, no matter what the issue.

I love "Workign Class Hero," but it's one of the greatest stupid songs ever.

"Then they expect you to find a career..." Well yes, they do. And I understand that sucks. But it's an increasingly flimsy basis for revolution, that angst, and it's very important that a grown-up understand something: as bad as finding a career sucks, the situation in Darfur sucks even more.

And they have almost nothing to do with each other.

Modern Otter said...

Taylor with "Day in the Life" I blew my mind out.

I'm surprised at how well Ruben's "Lucy in the Sky" worked.

Gladys Knight was unbelievable 30+ years later, "Midnight Train to Georgia" still just takes me out every time. I think Bette Midler was struggling with bad monitoring-- couldn't hear herself.

Each of the male contestant grouping reaffirmed to me that Chris Sligh was the best of the bunch vocally.

Ann Althouse said...

Why do people keep assuming I like this show? Read what I wrote. Did I seem to enjoy it?

As to "Working Class Here," yeah, I noticed it, and it was one more reason I assumed we were going to see Paul, but as with many other things, I did TiVo through it.

As to why Bette Midler was on, I give my theory in the post: she was a last minute fill-in when Paul backed out.

SteveR said...

Why do people keep assuming I like this show? Read what I wrote. Did I seem to enjoy it?

I don't get that either, you've been pretty clear about why you blog on it for the three seasons I've read you. And yes we know its not about talent.

goin2college said...

I was not impressed with the performances last night. I thought that both Taylor and Reuben sounded bad. I also thought they tried to make a half hour show 2 hours. I thought it was boring and overall, this season has not been good.

Joe said...

What a crapfest. Only the early shows in every Idol season manage to pack more utter garbage per minute than this show managed to do. I've sat in elementary school presentations that were more entertaining. The Gong Show had more talent.

Seriously, anyone who buys tickets to an American Idol concert is a sucker.

Bette Midler was the queen of crap. That was so unbelievably bad, I can't figure out how she got a Vegas show (if I heard correctly) and who in their right mind would go to it.

All the previous Idol winners sucked almost as bad. Kelly Clarkson was simply terrible--how in the world is this girl making a dime?

Ironically, Chris Daughtry, last year's fourth place finisher, proved to be the best singer by far. (Blake's little "solo" presentation was entertaining if that kind of thing doesn't make you want to blow your brains out after twenty seconds.)