American Idol Finale

I just want to get down a couple of quick thoughts regarding the American Idol finale last night.

First of all, I think the judging panel has run its course.  It’s clear to me that they know what they are going to say before the performances, that they tailor their comments based on trying to influence voting instead of being honest, and that they aren’t really listening to the performances.

Second, blasting the contestants for song choice on songs they don’t choose is infuriating to me.  The producers stick them with these sappy ballads that are part of a songwriter competition, and then the judges have to sit there and say “I didn’t like the song.”  What the hell.  Critique the singing, that’s the relevant part.

Finally, with regard to the only contestant’s choice song of the night, I think David Cook did better and here’s why:

Archuleta made his star with that performance of Imagine like 12 or 13 weeks ago, in the semifinals.  What he did last night was exactly the same.  What he showed by doing that is that he has no originality, that he has a good voice and can sing what he’s been programmed and singing for years (no question, he whips that bad boy out at every talent show/concert he’s been in, oh…ever!).  The problem is, nothing can compare to the emotional and feeling that song packed the first time.  The second time around, especially ignoring the judges advice to sing the first verse or otherwise do anything different, it just felt like playing back a record.  Sure, I like to listen to songs that I like repeatedly.  But that’s not what Finale night should be about.  Either make “do an encore” a rule, or don’t.

David Cook on the other hand, took a risk.  He knew that people would react the same as the judges did for Archie if he did Billie Jean or Hello again.  But he also knew that people wouldn’t be as blown away, because it couldn’t possibly come off as shockingly original or well-done the second time around.  So he took a chance on singing a great song that he’d wanted to sing all season, and knocked it out of the park.  Cook proved he’s the more talented musician last night, imho.  And no question, if they both came out with an album, I might think about listening to Cook’s and would fully ignore Archuleta’s.

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2 responses to “American Idol Finale

  1. First of all, I think the judging panel has run its course. It’s clear to me that they know what they are going to say before the performances, that they tailor their comments based on trying to influence voting instead of being honest, and that they aren’t really listening to the performances.

    I disagree. While I’m an equal fan of both, I thought David C. simply didn’t bring his A-game. David A. put it all on the line and, at least based on Tuesday night’s effort, deserved to win.

    Archuleta made his star with that performance of Imagine like 12 or 13 weeks ago, in the semifinals. What he did last night was exactly the same. What he showed by doing that is that he has no originality, that he has a good voice and can sing what he’s been programmed and singing for years (no question, he whips that bad boy out at every talent show/concert he’s been in, oh…ever!).

    As an avid AI viewer like myself, I know you are well aware that most finalists repeat a song they’ve already performed at some point during the season (McPhee and Carrie come to mind, although I’m sure there were others). That being the case, I thought David C., who had two of the best performance in AI history with “Hello” and “Billie Jean,” should have performed one of those; Probably the former, because when he performed it so early on in the season, each contestant was allowed approximately 30 seconds. David A. sang “Imagine” at least a week prior to that, so it was also a much smaller sample.

    David Cook on the other hand, took a risk….he took a chance on singing a great song that he’d wanted to sing all season, and knocked it out of the park.

    See that’s the thing – he didn’t knock it out of the park and it was an awful song choice. Way too slow and mellow. Surely there is a third song with which he could have “rocked up” and brought the house down. But he misfired.

    And that’s the thing with David C: sometimes his risks pay off and sometimes they don’t. On the whole, I think David A. was more consistent in terms of good performances throughout the season. David C., on the other hand, had the top two performances of the season, as well as some very strange performances that just didn’t work.

    Cook proved he’s the more talented musician last night, imho.

    It’s a singing competition.

    And no question, if they both came out with an album, I might think about listening to Cook’s and would fully ignore Archuleta’s.

    I don’t know if that should be the deciding factor of who one should vote for. Fantasia was the best of season three, but I would never in a million years buy her album. Same with Carrie. I think people should vote for the best singer and in terms of voice, David C., while an amazing performer, has a pretty average voice for a rocker-guy. David A., technically speaking, has a far superior voice. He’ll learn to perform (he’s only 17!) and loosen his dad’s firm grip.

    Bottom line – they’ll both have successful careers. Like Simon, I would have been fine with either of them winning.

  2. First of all, I think the judging panel has run its course. It’s clear to me that they know what they are going to say before the performances, that they tailor their comments based on trying to influence voting instead of being honest, and that they aren’t really listening to the performances.

    I disagree. While I’m an equal fan of both, I thought David C. simply didn’t bring his A-game. David A. put it all on the line and, at least based on Tuesday night’s effort, deserved to win.

    First of all, you don’t win based on one week. You can’t ignore every performance from the whole season for just one week. Second, I think Cook was better than many people are giving him credit for (and that’s my opinion). Finally, my critique of the judges was more based on the entire season than just last night. If I hear Randy Jackson say “you can sing the phone book” or “that was hot” or “that was just allright for me” or some other of his limited repertoire of phrases, I’m gonna hurl. Randy’s time as a judge is done. He hasn’t made an insightful or thoughtful comment in a long time. Paula hasn’t really ever, and her gaffe with Jason this season was embarassment enough to can her (as I’d already posted in the past).

    It’s a singing competition.

    Not really, it’s a musical competition. It’s not American Best Voice. I think musical talent has to play a role. Especially in the season where they let the contestants appear with instruments. It’s not just about the voice. There’s got to be something else there, too. And it’s not like he’s got the best voice ever. Clay Aiken, imho, has a better voice than Archuleta. Let’s not get carried away. And hey, maybe this is just my opinion, but I prefer to listen to Cook sing than Archuleta.

    I think David A. was more consistent in terms of good performances throughout the season

    After Imagine, David A never wowed me anymore. He did the same thing every week. Yes, he has a great singing voice. But he got very repetetive. You call that “consistent,” I call it boring. I had enough of Archuleta. He did the same thing with every song, and never branched out as an artist.

    most finalists repeat a song they’ve already performed at some point during the season

    Yes, I know people repeat songs. I know McPhee did it, and I think that maybe it cost her a little – people knew what she could do with Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and were less impressed the second time around. My point was that Archuleta missed it not by repeating the song, but by duplicating the performance. It loses a wow factor when he does that. I was blown away by Archuleta’s Imagine the first time. The second time I was listening to see if (a) he would sing a different verse (nope) (b) he would sing more verses (nope) (c) he would do anything realyl diiferent (nope). If David Cook had done Billie Jean or Hello another time, it would not have nearly approximated the originality we were all blown away by the first time. It would have sounded trite (just like, to me, Archuleta did singing Imagine).

    I don’t know if that should be the deciding factor of who one should vote for.

    Uh, that’s exactly the deciding factor. Who do you want as your American Idol? I want David Cook. I want David Cook to get a record contract. I want him to produce music, because his record is one that I would enjoy listening to. What else am I supposed to use as a tool to vote? An amorphous, vague concept of who has the “better voice”? Eh.

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