May 24, 2007

Still trying to recover from that horrible "American Idol" last night...

Entertainment Weekly has some good advice for next season's final show:
Don't allow any non-Idol performers to take the stage — unless they agree to duet with one of the 12 finalists. Think about it: Instead of piping in a ''live'' feed of Gwen (who appeared to have a giant flower attached to her derriere) performing ''4 in the Morning'' with utter detachment, you could've forced her to show up at the Kodak and duet with Chris Richardson on ''Don't Speak,'' a number he'd already nailed earlier in the season. Can you imagine the watercooler buzz you'd have scored if Kiki had rescued Bette midway through her abysmal, convulsive ''Wind Beneath My Wings''? And for cryin' out loud, Tony Bennett's ''For Once in My Life'' was taken from his album Duets, and Melinda Doolittle's Memphis audition number was...''For Once in My Life.'' Do I really have to do the math for you?
Yeah, and end on time. Were they deliberately trying to screw us TiVo-users? Just because I fast-forward through all the commercials (and much of the music), you don't care about me? This is from the Village Voice's "running diary" of the show:
I got home a bit late tonight, so I'm not watching this show live; I'm seeing everything on DVR about ten minutes after it actually happens. But the show actually runs over, which means my DVR cuts off right before they reveal the goddam f[]cking winner of the season. Seriously, don't the producers know that some of us are watching this on DVR?
I'm going to say they do know, and they are not so much punishing us but training us to use the TiVo to record into the next time slot to hurt the other networks. It's a way to turn TiVo into a ratings weapon.

Here's a good line from the EW story:
And was I the only one envisioning Gladys Knight assessing the top six ladies at dress rehearsal and declaring, ''Only Melinda and LaKisha are allowed within three feet of me!''?
So true, both as an observation and as an appropriate attitude for Gladys Knight.

Anyway... I'm fine with the outcome, which I predicted back on March 21, when we were down to the final 10:
Let me just try to pick the order that they will leave (and we can look back and see how wrong I was): Chris R., Gina, Hayley, Phil, Chris Sligh, Sanjaya, LaKisha, Blake, Melinda, Jordin. So: Jordin to win.
So I'm fine that Jordin won, but now the show needs to go away for a long time so we can all forget how insufficiently enjoyable it was and, like the ninnies we are, start watching again next year. Or will some of us snap out of it?

Ah, I see that as I was writing this Jacob at Television Without Pity finally got his mini-recap up. For some crazy reason, he gives the show an A+:
The very excellent, very long night begins with a shouty, flirty duet... Ryan's "good friend" GWEN STEFANI, looking pants in a weird Astro Boy bubble tutu dress... KELLY CLARKSON!... Blake reveals that he has like fifteen powers of awesome beatboxing we didn't even know about... CARRIE UNDERWOOD, in a cute dress over pants... Carrie gives an awesome speech about her wild success. A huge contingent of awesome bald African kids... Sanjaya is compared to both Einstein and Abraham Lincoln, then performs "You Really Got Me" with Joe Perry in a wind tunnel... GREEN DAY ... ROOOOBEN... BETTE EFFIN' MIDLER sings "The Wind Beneath My Friggin' Wings" in a leather skirt and is one Parliament and a late night out from turning into Marianne Faithfull once and for all; it's cheesy and very very American Idol and unending. Randy and Paula, at this point, start making out down in the audience, while Bette Midler sings poorly and interjects God into every other line of the song, for some reason....
Blah! Well, I get it. If you watch the show, you watch for the crappiness of it, and since they over-the-top maximized the crappiness, it gets an A+. The A+ is logical. If you don't like this, why are you watching? This is the whole point.


J. said...

A+? The guy's a crackhead.

The thing is, the finales have not been crappy, although last night missed the mark so repeatedly that it barely deserves a passing grade.

The problem is they have too much to promote -- Fox shows, past idol winners' new albums, this year's finalists.

If it were up to me, I'd use the season-ending show to, you know, wrap up the season. People liked Chris Sligh, people liked Chris Richardson, people liked Lakisha, etc. Give 'em their moment, let the crowd go wild, and don't let Green Day bog down the second hour with 3 minutes of depression.

Looks like the show was produced by committee.

vet66 said...

I need a good dose of "American

Count me out next year!

Bender said...

an appropriate attitude for Gladys Knight

I don't know about that. Gladys Knight, to my knowledge, has never been known as a snobby, elitist diva, but rather as being down-home, good-hearted, and gracious.

halojones-fan said...

How does Jacob type with his wrists all limp like that?

Joan said...

HaloJonesFan: ouch!

But yeah, Jacob has become more and more insane. When he first started writing at TWoP, he seemed really insightful and clever. Now he's just loopy.

I fast-forwarded through nearly the entire thing, thank God for the DVR. I don't think I watched more than 2 minutes, total, of Ryan Seacrest all season. Yay!

Of all the guest singers, I enjoyed Tony Bennett's performance the most. Smoky Robinson singing with the boys was cool, but the first song they gave to Gladys and the girls was lame. It was awesome to hear Lakisha belting out "Midnight Train to Georgia."

The whole Sgt Pepper thing intrigued me. It was my favorite album when I was in high school, and I still know all the lyrics. So it was fun to hear what they did with it. My husband couldn't stop laughing at Taylor Hicks, but I thought he made some good choices. All in all it was OK and offended me less than I expected it too -- but seriously? No one should ever have to sing "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," again, ever, period.

PatCA said...

Yes, the Tivo thing really ticked me off. How many billions do these people need? At least tell us it's going late!

Not a totally bad show but way too much screaming. The stars should sing with the contestants, of course. They're only on there because they want to cash in on AI's audience. And no one but the Beatles should do a Sgt. Pepper medley.

I felt sorry for Bette. She sounded sick. Clunk. There go her Vegas sales.

Lonesome Payne said...

It’s like I watched a different show than a lot of people.

I’m not saying it was perfect. Bette Midler brought despair to any sensitive management at Caesar’s Palace. Clive Davis didn’t need to talk. The “award” he gave Carrie Underwood was very strange – a show giving an award to itself, basically. I think it may have been a sandwich board, given how huge it was. Does she need to wear it for her performances now? Ditching the inexplicable Sgt. Pepper monstrosity would have been a perfect fix for the length. Which screwed me, too, though thuthfully it would have been possible to think for a second and add, say, 30 minutes to the recording time. Because this was exactly the kind of show – Highly Watched and live, like the Oscars – that might run well over.

Arguably it’s a bigger deal than the Oscars. Maybe that’s what they’re trying to train us in, that idea: This is Very Important. Though I do love Ann’s notion of the TiVo (sp? – I use a VCR) being used as a weapon.

But I loved – was even blown away by – several performances. That Kelly Clarkson has a solid voice, man. The African kids choir? Come on. Glad I don’t live right above ‘em, though. But right at the top, Tony Bennett.

For God’s sake, the guy’s gonna be 81 in three months. Stage presence, for one thing. “For once in my life, I’ll have someone to turn to…” Just utter confidence in his abilities and in the song. The theater packed with people heaping adulation on the whole idea of songs like that and singers like Tony (the one or two that are out there somewhere) And you had to get a thrill when he seems to surprise the band and launched into the final phrases again and delivered them with twice the impact of anything else in what was already a fantastic performance. You don’t often see a real explosion in a crowd, but that was one. For any writer to miss that moment reveals only a writer with a less-than-generous attitude about the proceedings. Not a writer, a hunter. A critic.

I agree with the idea that a duet between he and Melinda would have been great. But it would be a lateral move at best.

Her performance with the Winans due (BeBe and CeCe, brother and sister, right?) was also great and extremely interesting. All three of them were great I mean, especially BeBe, and it made me want to know more about the scene behind this music.

I loved the Hollywood crowd rocking out to the idea that Christians have to lead the nation out of the darkness it’s in, which was the point of the song as I took it.

Zeb Quinn said...

When Gladys Kinght surrounded herself with Melinda and LaKisha I took it as a statement by her tacitly acknowledging that they and only they were the ones who belonged in the finals, not those poseurs who were there. Because maybe Gladys recognized that she too would've been eliminated by those who do the AI voting.

I also found myself wondering where The Pips were.

Lonesome Payne said...

I’ve seen a lot of people commenting here and there that Lakisha should have made the final. It’s definitely arguable. She may easily progress to being a great singer. But from the standpoint of the competition, she kinda lost her way pretty early on, in terms of confidence and overwhelming, noticeable success on any song.

It’s totally understandable. More than many of them she was making it up as she went along – who she is as a singer, I mean. And it would be hard to deal with the realization that at this point anyway, you’re no Melinda.

So I just offer this by way of saying, I disagree that Lakisha should obviously have been in the final. She went home right about when the performances would have dictated it, I think. There were two big-voiced women who were currently better than her, and only one interesting guy left when she went.

LoafingOaf said...

and don't let Green Day bog down the second hour with 3 minutes of depression.

Green Day gave a terrific and touching performance, and I loved the way they had Lennon's voice come on at the very end. It was important to have that in there to differentiate real pop music from the type of manufactured corporate product Clive Davis bragged about. Also, since they sang it for the Darfur campaign, it hooked in with the whole "raising awareness about Africa" theme of the season.

I don't have TIVO, just an old fashioned VCR. Plopped in a 6 hour tape, hit record at 7:30, and went to a bar to watch the Indians game. I'm not sure I get why someone would set their TIVO to stop recording a live broadcast at exactly the top of the hour, but yeah, my lack of high tech and my laziness about setting timers ensured I didn't miss a thing. :)

Including the red carpet pre-show, which had one moment that amused me, though I probably read too much into it. They asked Carrie Underwood if all the past Idols would be there, and she was like, "Except for Fantasia, who's got career duties elsewhere. So...she got out of it." The others couldn't find an excuse to get out of it. You wonder how many years American Idol will own them for. Clay Aiken was a runner-up, so he didn't have to come by and take part in that lame Sgt. Pepper thing. It's probably better to come in second place.

LoafingOaf said...

I don't think I watched more than 2 minutes, total, of Ryan Seacrest all season. Yay!

I really like Ryan Seacrest!

Jonathan said...

The playing of silly-buggers with scheduling is being used to try and get peopel to watch live - I also suspect it will be a failure; people will just start buying Tivos with multiple tuners aboard.

I predict in my lifetime (32 now), non-live entertainment will be almost entirely on-demand, not push.

mrs whatsit said...

The same thing happened to me with the Tivo, and with several other people I spoke to today. Infuriating.