Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Dreams, Rainbows and Inside Heaven

I had a dream last night. I dreamed that I was watching one of the most brilliant installments of American Idol, one in which each performance grabbed me and held me hostage until it was over, and left me in awe of the talent and the beauty I had just witnessed.

Then I woke up. And I realized that was last week's show.

And the tape awaiting me in my VCR was from the finale.


Critics everywhere are panning last night's finish to season four. And they're acting as though it's some big surprise. Anyone who is surprised that last night, overall, was mediocre at best, hasn't been watching Idol very long.

The finale never lives up to the hype.

Perhaps the reason is because we, as viewers, have built up the anticipation to a point that even the most wonderful of episodes would be a letdown of sorts. Perhaps. But the real reason is the fact that Idol producers have refused, year after year, to spend a decent amount of time and money to find original music that is actually fit to be performed.

Last night was no exception.

It's pretty clear that, if this is the drivel they intend to dish out to whichever wins this thing, then they have somewhat of an idea where they plan to take either Carrie or Bo. And it's also clear they know what to do with Carrie, but they have no clue where to take Bo. There are already screams of manipulation, considering the original songs were far better suited to Carrie. That was obvious, but I'm not ready to use the "conspiracy" word. I think they just don't know what to do with a rocker.

If I had to rank last night on the list of finales, and I've thought about this, I would rank this one last of the last four years. When the highlight of watching the show is scanning the audience, looking for a glimpse of Constantine, or wondering who that guy was sitting next to Nadia, and the music is merely the background noise to my crowd scoping, it's a boring show.

Finales are boring though. But each of the others have had at least one bright, shining moment that made us sit up and take notice. There was the sheer magic of Kelly. Then there was a Bridge over Troubled Water that saved the mess of the season two finish. Then there was Fantasia, turning I Believe into a masterpiece, which showed that even the most deplorable song, put into the right hands, can be beautiful. But there was no such moment last night, except for the retrospective reel. Neither of them slapped me into attention. Bo seemed off the entire night, even showing up late to his third song, and Carrie's volume button got stuck on high. So I call it a draw.

But because I've learned not to expect brilliance, I was neither surprised, nor even disappointed. Bored, perhaps, is the better word.

The winner really is a toss-up. Bo seems to be leading in most of the online polls, although, if those online polls were indicative of voting trends, Scott would have been booted before Jessica, and Constantine would have been on stage rather than in the audience.

The performances on Tuesday make no difference in the voting patterns of the Bice Squad and the CareBears. But it likely could make all the difference to the displaced Fanzells who might base a decision solely on what they saw and heard on that stage, as opposed to what they've witnessed all season.

And so, because I think Vonzell fans are more likely to support the rocker Bo over the country girl Carrie, and Simon essentially lit a fire under a voting bloc, telling Bo what a pleasure it's been to have him in the game, kinda like saying goodbye and then telling Carrie she had done enough to win, almost exactly what he told Clay in season two, I predict that Bo will get to sing the last song again tonight.

But it's nice that, for once, I'm not going to be unhappy either way. Except that it's all over until January.


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7:22 PM, May 01, 2006  

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Thanks Rob for the awesome image!