Tuesday, March 16, 2010

i'm taking the season off...

I think it's become obvious that I'm going to put this blog on hiatus for season nine. There are many reasons I need a break from blogging this show, not the least of which is that I've been doing it since season three, and I've pretty much just run out of things to say.

I want to thank those of you who have stopped by every single week of every single season that I've been here. I probably would have retired after season five if it hadn't been for the faithful and fun people that I've gotten to know through this blog. Comments have been disabled for awhile because I couldn't keep up with the spam, and they will continue to be off.

I don't know how much I will watch of this season, but I do know that I'll be hanging out at Dave's blog because he is, after all, the High Lord and an excellent critic, writer and friend. So I really hope you will join me there.

Thanks again for your loyalty and your friendship. I hope this season is entertaining, filled with good talent, interesting people and shocking eliminations, because of course the best thing about this show is watching people virtually implode when their favorite falls in fourth!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

it's all come down to this: a SIMULBLOG!...

Five months in the making. We've survived auditions, bad performances, Tatiana, too many judges, too many commercials, not enough minutes in an hour, food fights, heartbreak and the crappy coronation song.

Somebody's gonna get a confetti shower at the end of two hours, and the rest of us get to reclaim our Tuesday nights, breathing a sigh of relief that the madness takes a hiatus until next year.

Because THIS is American Idol. And this is the finale extravaganza, where it takes two hours plus to crown a champ and cheese is at a premium. And we wouldn't miss it for the world.

Remember, this is a simulblog, so if you want to wait until the show airs where you are, now's the time to go research the works of Picasso, or something, because the show is about to start!

Kris and Adam are dressed in white, naturally, as the show starts. Just under 100 million votes were phoned in last night. The first order of business is to take a humorous look back at the judges over the course of the season.

Kris and Adam are introduced, arriving center stage to a standing ovation. As usual the sound guy is asleep in the booth, and neither of their microphones work. Mikalah Gordon is in Conway at Kris' hometown celebration. (Conway may never recover.) Carly Smithson is stationed in San Diego with Adam's hometown fans.

We get our first cheesy group number, with the whole group performing So What. Yes, they are all dressed in white. Can't tell if they're lip synching, but Scott is pulling off some rad dance moves. I love these group numbers, and aside from a clunker of a solo from Jasmine, it was very well done.

David Cook takes the stage drenched in green light. He's performing Permanent, in memory of his brother Adam. It's one of the best songs on his CD. (Itunes downloads of this song after tonight will benefit cancer research.) He is such a classy guy.

Oh dear. They're bringing back the Golden Idol Awards. The first award goes to the best (worst) male auditioners. I didn't miss these awards last year. Now I know why. Normund Gentle wins the award, naturally, and he gives us the show we knew he would.

Time for the first duet: Lil Rounds and Queen Latifah.

Anoop opens the show after the commercial break, joined by Alexis, who introduces Jason Mraz for an enjoyable trio, ultimately assisted by the rest of the idols.

The Kris fans applaud as we watch his journey throughout the season. Kris then takes the stage with Keith Urban. (Note to self: download this.)

Time for the girls to take the stage. Allison introduces Fergie and the girls serve as window dressing for Big Girls Don't Cry. The Black Eyed Peas then join her while Megan does some scary gyrational dance in the aisle.

Back to the Golden Idols. This time it's Best Attitude. And time for Bikini Girl, who, naturally, accepts her award wearing a swimsuit. She has had some enhancements in the last 10 months. And yes, she sings, joined mid-song by a bikini-clad Kara, who shows her how it's done. This is about the only time all season I've enjoyed Kara.

Allison takes the stage with Cyndi Lauper with Time After Time. Awesome.

Ryan chats up Kris' parents. All of the parents this year have been so cool. Ryan finds the Lamberts. Mom Lambert says both of the boys are winners. How true cool mom.

Danny's turn. He's paired with Lionel Ritchie and sings Hello seated on the big staircase, before introducing his partner. Nice pairing. Good performance.

Ryan asks the Lambert fans to applaud as Adam's journey reel begins. Adam then takes the stage to sing Beth, proving the rumor of a KISS duet correct. Awesome-ness.

Shaping up to be the best. finale. ever.

Carlos Santana brings us back from commercial. Matt joins him with Black Magic Woman. The rest of the idols show up, including the two guys, because they're Smooth.

I always like the last Ford video when it's a retrospective of the past videos. This one was good. And Kradam sing well together.

David Cook presents the guys with their new car keys on video rather than on stage.

Megan and Michael are joining Steve Martin and his banjo on stage. I think this is good time for me to visit the fridge.

The guys are all dressed in suits to set up Rod Stewart, who sings Maggie May.

The last Golden Idol award (thankfully) highlights the worst of the female auditioners, which means it's time for Tatiana!! By the look on Ruben Studdard's face, I don't think he watched the early part of this season. The joke is clearly lost on him.

And for the traditional finalists' duet, Kris and Adam front QUEEN with We Are the Champions. Oh hells yeah! Freaking Awesome!

Finally the time has arrived. The guys are standing with Ryan center stage. Simon tells both of them, basically, that they're swell.

The result bringer-in dude shows up and ensures that Danny Gokey's name is not in it. (Okay I made that part up, but what he said was boring.)

The lights are dimmed. The winner of American Idol, 2009 is...

Kris Allen.

He gets the winners trophy. And he doesn't know what to say. Poor Kris, the winner, has to sing the crappy coronation song. Adam, the runner-up will get to record a kick-ass first single.

Good show.

The confetti falls as the idols join Kris behind the judges table.

Another year ends. See ya later.

kris & adam: conquering earthquakes, mountains, famine, plague...

I have this image in my head of the events following Carrie Underwood's closing of the show last night.

Here's what I think happened:

Kris, after greeting the judges and kissing his wife, immediately bolted for the men's room to place approximately 562 "vote" text messages for Adam. Adam, in the meantime, not wanting to be suspected of sabotage, simply locked the door of his dressing room, quickly hitting redial 832 times on the "02" number for Kris.

Yeah. That's the way it went down, I'm sure.

After all, winning this season's American Idol means the poor slob has to sing that steaming pile of crap song that should have never seen the light of day, much less be foisted on two nice guys who never did anything to anybody.

Leave it to Kara, who's messed with this show all season, to leave the final performance show with a stench so bad I woke up this morning still smelling it.

Was No Boundaries really that bad? I had to loop Inside My Heaven to get the sound out.

The composer of season four's crappy coronation song should send Kara and her cohorts a thank you gift.

I hope they seriously consider switching the first single to something else. Anything else.

On the positive side, both Adam and Kris tried to make the best of a bad situation, and, in fairness, the song was ill-suited for both of their voices, so that was a draw, as was most of the evening with Kris slam-dunking his first selection, the reprise of Ain't No Sunshine, performed infintely better than its first incarnation, and Adam absolutely killing on Simon Fuller's selection, the Sam Cooke classic Change is Gonna Come.

I'm going to end the season by foregoing my worst to first list, because the original song was so bad it's unfair to critique either guy's interpretation of it. The other four performances were first rate, but first rate in an Adam sort of way and top notch in a Kris sort of way.

These two have such opposite styles, and both of masters of their styles, that comparing them to each other is the whole apples and oranges experiment.

This really will come down to a hair's difference, if dialidol.com is any indication. (And, if you'll recall, last season dialidol not only predicted a Cook win, but a Cook landslide by a nearly-precise number.)

What a fitting final performance episode. I said I didn't care who wins, and I still mean that. Adam will be a star regardless of tonight's result, and he won't be burdened by mountains, earthquakes, hurricanes and locusts. Kris will also find success, however tonight plays out.

If I had to choose the one who should win, of course it would be Adam. That young man has brought a vitality to this dinosaur of a show that has helped it thrive despite all of the twists and changes the new production staff has wrought this season. He has shown a level of creativity and originality throughout the season that few, if any, previously contestants have done, and all the while never missing a single note. (Okay, I'll just pretend Ring of Fire never happened, even though it was pitch perfect.) He has earned the title, and I'd like to think that voters voted last night based on a body of work, rather than a one-night stand, and for the man, not against him.

But things don't work that way.

So who will win? I don't have a clue.

Do you?

See you tonight for the two-hour finish...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

adam and kris steal the stage...

Well, it's finally here. Kris and Adam. Adam and Kris.

It's been a long road, but it's almost over.

The two take to the Nokia stage tonight to perform three songs: a Simon Fuller choice, their own favorite from the season (Mad World and Ain't No Sunshine), and the crappy coronation song (a Kara masterpiece). Kris won last week's coin toss, and has elected to close the show. Hopefully the judges will keep their comments fair and just let the voters decide for themselves.

Also, as is traditional the night before the finale, Carrie Underwood will be on hand to sing the funeral song we've come to know all season as we watch the show-ending montage of Kris' and Adam's journeys to this final night.

There are spoilers running amok about tomorrow night's finale. Some of the names being bandied around: Jason Mraz, Lionel Ritchie (dueting with Gokey), Cindi Lauper (dueting with Allison), Keith Urban (dueting with Kris), David Cook, Santana, Queen Latifah and Black Eyed Peas. For all of the latest (and most reliable) spoilers regarding tonight and tomorrow, check in with MJ, who's always the first with the news.

Until then, I'll be back tomorrow with my thoughts on the night. Feel free to have a season-ending party in the comment section and in the shoutbox as we all look forward to two great guys, two fantastic singers, two obvious friends closing out season eight in fabulous fashion. How nice it will be for me to love equally both remaining contestants. I think that's a first.

See you then!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

setting the finale table: a SIMULBLOG...

There are only two seats available at the big show. By the end of the night we'll find out which of the two guys remaining gets to sit with the adults. And which one gets sent to the kid's table.

Third place is the crummiest of places, I think. All of next week's focus will be on the two remaining contestants. All of the previous ousted contestants have received exposure, going on the talk show circuit, finding audiences that might not watch this show. But number three has to stay home and rehearse for the finale. No Ellen. No Regis. No Today Show for the third place guy. And by the time his time is free for a chat with Kelly Ripa, they won't want him, because, well, he's the third-place guy that we forgot about a week ago.

Yea. Making it all the way to third, coming thisclose to the extravaganza, getting dissed by the talk shows. This has to suck.

But THIS is American Idol. And this is a simulblog, which means I'm writing as fast as I can as the action unfolds on the East Coast, so if you want to be shocked, now's the time to exit, because spoilers abound, snark can be found in the corners, personal opinions will fly and the show is about to start.

The show can't even wait until the intro for the product placement, as Ben Stiller and the cast of the Smithsonian movie announcing that the AI desk is about to be inducted into the Institute. Ryan tells us that only one million votes separate the top two finishers. Too bad he didn't just tell us who they are so I could go to bed.

But they have more Coke to sell.

The Ford video has the guys turning into animated characters. The three sing well together, but I really think they've run out of ideas for these spots.

It's back to Idol Gives Back with Alicia Keys prompting us to donate five bucks. I didn't even miss Idol Gives Back enough to realize it hadn't been held. But Noah, the kid performing, is the bomb.

Danny is summoned from backstage. We get to watch Danny's trip home to Milwaukee. The "Scream On" poster made me smile.

He is reminded of last night's reviews. And he's sent to wait.

Kris is called to the stage. The best part of his visit home to Conway, Arkansas? Cheese dip for life. I could handle that too.

Kris is also reminded of his reviews and sent to hang out with Danny.

Jordin Sparks, the winner of the season I've chosen to forget occurred, is back in the house. She's looking quite lovely. Her new single is okay, if a bit redundant, but I hope it sells a gazillion copies.

Good for her.

Adam is called to the stage. Most of the ousted idols are in the audience.

San Diego goes wild for him, especially the whacked out streaker wannabe who was forcefully removed from the stage.

He is reminded of last night's judges comments and sent to join the other two.

Katy Perry is there. She sings. I don't care.

The three guys are standing with Ryan, who wishes all of them luck.

First one safe is... Kris!!!!!!!!!

The second one safe is... Adam!!!!

Now that is a finale.

Danny gets to watch his funeral video as Underwood sings.

With no time left, he chooses You Are So Beautiful as his swan song.

See ya Danny.

And see you next week.

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the top three: pretty dang good...

The final three contestants turned in an overall decent show, with no trainwrecks, no obvious bus, and it's anybody's guess who's going to survive through tonight's results show, promising us a nailbiter of an episode waiting to find out who is going to join Adam in the last performance show of the year.

If there was a downside, it was, once again, the judges, who continue to act out and make the show about them more than about the contestants. And despite the cutting the final three's songs to two, the show still can't come in under an hour, insisting on filling precious minutes patting themselves on the (Idol Gives) back, a Carrie Underwood piece that would have fit nicely in next week's two-hour grand finale.

But anyway, here are my thoughts, for what they're worth, but as always from worst to first, which this week would be better titled not bad to pretty dang good.

Danny Gokey (Dance Little Sister). Paula always chooses so poorly for her contestants, and she didn't disappoint again. I hate this song. Sorry. And it's hard to fairly judge a song that one detests. But Danny did what he could. And he gets worst place, even though it wasn't bad, all because of the dancing, which he should be forbidden by law to do.

Kris Allen (Apologize). Kris also got the shaft with this song choice, and it cracked me up when Randy justified the pick by explaining that Kris had a "big voice." The performance was fine in a karaoke sort of way, but I can't help but agree with Kara that I was looking forward to a Kris arrangement and I didn't get it. Besides, I hate this song too.

Danny Gokey (You Are So Beautiful). Okay, finally a song I love. I wasn't over the moon about the arrangement in the middle, but the softer spots were done quite nicely. Danny should take a page out of Anoop's book. He seems to want to barrel through all of this performances like a bull, when he seems much better suited to softer side of songs.

Adam Lambert (Cryin'). Adam has proved time and again that he can take on any song. (In the tiny evil part of my heart, I was kinda wishing he had taken on Dream On, so that we would have a right way/wrong way to do Aerosmith film comparison. But he didn't.

Adam Lambert (One). While Paula can always be counted on to choose crappy songs, Simon always kicks ass with his choices. No difference this time. (And of the three judges selections, this one I love.) The arrangement left the song both recognizable and original. And Simon was right that if Adam doesn't make it through to the last show, it will be the biggest upset in this show's history. It will also be its biggest injustice. But I'm really not worried about that happening.

Kris Allen (Heartless). I was thrilled to watch Kris take just his guitar, shrug off the baggage of the background musicians and turn a song that I did not like into one I would buy. I have enjoyed every minute of watching the guy who was never intended to crack the top five turn into a star. And if this performance doesn't send him into a battle with Adam for the title, something is terribly wrong.

So those were my thoughts. Share yours.

I think the justified final two are Adam and Kris. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. The "go" will be put in Gokey tonight.

And I'll see you then.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

three guys, two openings...

It's final three night, just one week from the finish line, and you know what that means: three contestants, three songs, three judges.

Oh wait. That was last year.

Anyway, the questions are pretty much the same.

What will the judges choose for Danny? (Dance Little Sister). What will Danny choose for himself? (You Are So Beautiful)

Will the judges force Kris to sing about penguins? (No, it's Apologize.) And what will Kris pick? (Heartless.)

And what about Adam? His judges pick: One. His choice: Aerosmith's Cryin'.

In what order will the producers place them, which I still contend is based on total votes throughout the season for fairness? Danny/Kris/Adam

Will the judges stick to the point-the-Greyhound-directly-at-Kris script or will they actually listen to the guy perform and give honest feedback?

Will the judges stick to the we-want-a-Gokey/Adam-finale script or will they actually listen to Gokey's performances and give honest feedback?

Will we ever recover from the Gokey shriek?

Will enough of Allison's voters, still smarting over last week, text and dial Kris into the finale? (Let's hope so!)

Will I ever stop asking questions?

Yes. But I'll be back tomorrow with my thoughts. Meanwhile ask your own questions, be your own judge. Use up the comment thread to your heart's content.

This season is almost over.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

yes kristen w/glasses, it's about the effort...

In case you have missed the brilliance that is Idolatry, I'm sending you to Kristen with Glasses.

Because I'm still ticked off.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

whose rock will roll?: a SIMULBLOG!...

Rock night on Idol was so intense, the set was shattered. And tonight, somebody's dreams are gonna be joining it.

Because THIS is American Idol. And this is a simulblog, where I'm typing as fast as I can, trying to describe the action as it's happening live in the east, so if you want to be surprised, now is the time to go rewatch the fan-freaking-tabulous A-plus-A duet from last night. (I really hope big brother/little sister, who obviously have total love for each other take the "record together" advice seriously.)

But don't forget to come back, visit and dish with the rest of us. Because the show is about to start! _____

Ryan says over 64 million votes came in last night, the highest total outside of a finale. The kids are paper dolls in the Ford video and the group sing features Slash on guitar. Best one this season.

The four are sitting on the stools, chatting with Ryan. Danny is pretty amusing with his admission that the "horror scream" was really as bad as the judges said it was.

Paula debuts her new single, proving without a doubt what good electronic enhancements can do to a mediocre voice. That was, well, painful.

I just caught the promo for the summer tour. Am I the only one who had forgotten Michael Sarver?

Paula blathers to Ryan that she wanted to play the AI stage because it's a happy place. C'mon Paula. Everyone knows that playing the AI stage means zillions in sales. That's why No Doubt is there. And they're there.

Ryan reminds us that the three survivors get the hometown treatment, and then we're treated to a retrospective of past homecomings. That was cool. Good memories.

The final four are brought to the stage.

Allison, Danny, Adam and Kris are lined up in that order. The kids are reminded of last night's reviews with no mention of bottom anythings.

One gets sent to safety. It's...Kris!! The others give him major hugs.

Chris Daughtry is back in the house. And we're reminded of his season five journey. The band is debuting the first single from their sophomore album, No Surprise. I like it. And like David Cook before him, Chris gets a plaque, commemorating the success of his first quadruple platinum first CD, proving sometimes not winning is the best victory.

The three remaining kids are center stage.

The next person safe and in the top three is... Adam.

Allison and Danny share a hug.

Danny is safe. Allison goes home.

She watches her journey as Carrie Underwood sings.

And my heart just broke a little.

So long Allison, and thanks.

See you next week.

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rock and roll and peeing your pants...

Leave it to American Idol to mangle its set for Rock Week. At least the guitars were left unharmed. Too bad the judges were too.

So Slash is the mentor, and he took the kids to a Sunset Strip club to make everything "more authentic." So they made the foursome pair up into two duets to allow each of them two songs without allowing us the pleasure of eight songs.

Shattered set. Slash. Sunset strip. Shared songs. Stupid Simon. Yeah. That about covers it last night's Rock night on the show.

So I'll try to summarize my thoughts on the night, for what they're worth, but, as always, from worst to first.

Danny Gokey (Dream On). I really don't have much to say about Danny's attempt at Aerosmith. Let's just say that the scream I released in my head was probably more pleasing than the one Danny unwisely let loose on an unsuspecting American public. And then to think he had the nerve to counter the (justly) negative remarks with the excuse that "rock isn't his genre." Well, no kidding, Danny. Adam was thrilled about Grand Ole Opry night. This ain't the Ed Sullivan Show.

Danny Gokey and Kris Allen (Renegade). Randy was right. The harmonies on this number were sublime. But that's where the enjoyment ended. The single vocals were weak. These two had zero on-stage interaction, and, contrary to what Simon spit out, Kris outperformed Danny every step of the way.

Kris Allen (Come Together). I did not understand the universal panning of this performance, except to think that the quartet received the end-of-the-season bus route and agreed that the Greyhound was headed right through Kris. Or over him. Okay, it wasn't my favorite Kris performance, and I was a little bummed that Kris didn't do what he did during Disco Week - tear the whole thing apart and perform a stripped-down version of it - but I enjoyed it anyway. And at least he didn't try to make excuses.

Allison Iraheta (Cry Baby). Allison proved in 90 seconds why she deserves to be in the finale. Okay, I kinda sorta agreed with the judges about the song choice (even though Allison was right that Piece of My Heart has been performed to death on this show, so she gets points for that), but it ticked me off that all the judges could find to critique was song selection over her fabulous performance of what she had selected. But then Simon's been doing that to her all year, so why stop now? And the girl gets major props for finally finding her speaking voice and putting Simon in his place with her personality.

Adam Lambert (Whole Lotta Love). It's Adam. It's Rock. It's Led Zepplin. But I have to share: midway through the performance, my husband, who has watched all season with me, asked "is he wearing eye makeup?" Guess he hasn't been watching as closely as I had thought. And I guess I've run out of superlatives for Adam Lambert.

Adam Lambert and Allison Iraheta (Slow Ride). I bought this video on iTunes. My first and only download of the season. (Too bad it seems there will be no studio version.) If this performance isn't any indication of what the finale in two weeks should look like, something is just wrong. Enough said.

So that's what I thought. Now it's your turn.

But first the tough stuff. They pulled out three for five, so they'll likely pull three for four, so I'm going with two. (Did that make sense?)

Who should: Danny and Kris. (Bus notwithstanding.)
Who I want: Danny and Kris.
Who will: Danny and Kris.

And despite the season-long insistence that the finale is pre-ordained, and because we have a "shocking fourth-place boot" about every two years and we haven't had one since season five, and because I think America is smarter than she's given credit for sometimes, I think Danny will find his first trip to the bad stools to be his last trip.

I'm rooting for a Triple-A final three (Allison, Adam and Allen) and I'm hoping that, despite the pressure of time, the three remaining kids get to have their traditional three songs.

We'll see.

And I'll see you tonight, as we welcome back that last shocking fourth-place finisher, Chris Daughtry.

Thanks Rob for the awesome image!