Wednesday, May 17, 2006

wednesday afternoon quarterbacking...

Before I start hashing and rehashing, could we please have a moment of sympathy for my texting thumb? It hurts.

... hmmm.

Thank you.

Well, on the morning after, I can say that the Final Three performance episode used to be my favorite one of the season. Last night's blah-fest pretty much put an end to that streak.

And what the hell universe does Clive Davis live in anyway, where I Believe I Can Fly is a classic and Open Arms is a rock song? And, that either of them was a splendid choice to saddle these kids with? I suppose if Chris had been there, he would have been handed Muskrat Love? (Oooo, I just thought of Kevin...)

But anyway, I've taken the time today to listen to the audio - cause, you know listening without the visual distraction of spastic dancing, indulgent smiling or a deer in the headlights is very revealing. Performances I thought I liked sometimes I find I don't, and more often the reverse is true.

I didn't do much changing of the mind today, like I have in previous episodes, except to say that I really don't think Elliott had nearly the weak night I thought he had when I turned in last night.

Let me get my rant out of the way.

I've been making my daily rounds of message board hell, and I'm reading outrage over the pimping of Katharine, the pimping of Taylor and the outright dismissal of Elliott.

Okay. I abhor the blatant pimping of this show too. I've never made any secret of that. And I don't like when Simon essentially tells the voters that one of the kids does not deserve to move forward, which is the reason that the only contestant this season that I voted for aside from Elliott and Bucky was Melissa McGhee in the last women's semi-final. And yes, I think the show definitely had its final two chosen, and the deck was stacked against the odd man out.

But, as much as I hate when they do it, as if the voters aren't smart enough to decide for themselves, it's the way they do things, they've always done things and the way they will continue to do things. Simon has, since season two's inexcusable treatment of Kimberley Locke in the final three,
been blunt about skewing the judgements so that the two preferred contestants stay. That year the show wanted Ruben in the finals, Kim was performing circles around him (and Clay, for that matter), and so they simply put an insurance policy on the final three show.

So, as unfair as it is, and as much as I detest it from an ethical standpoint, it's no secret, and flailing at the machine isn't going to change last night or change the standard operating procedure.

With that having been said, I still think, in comparison to past seasons, that the overt pimpage was minimal. Yes, Katharine was granted over a minute more total camera time than Elliott (I'm ignoring Taylor, because he was a lock to make the finale regardless, and major thanks to Tenfingers in the comment thread who made the effort to actually time them. Sounds like something I would have done. Had I thought about it. It's a very interesting breakdown of actual performance time. Check it out. I wish I could link directly, but I can't.) But in all honesty, she wasn't given a pass at the judges table, either. Elliott, on the other hand, had the opportunity to slam dunk Kat, Rainbow or no rainbow, with his own "moment" like he had last week. But he didn't. He was solid (with the possible exception of a really bad note and botched lyrics in his first, somewhat terrified performance), but he just didn't bring it when he needed it most.

With pretty equal support, one would presume, from their own fan bases, both of them needed to leave an imprint in the minds of the undecided voters. These voters haven't watched a young man bloom from a tentative, self-conscious, shy guy with a bad haircut to a confident cute guy with a terrific voice. He needed his potential voters to sit up and want to make the effort, and I'm afraid he just didn't.

So, whichever of the two goes tonight, I'm really not buying the whole "it's because of the pimping" line.

Nigel says Taylor will make the finale. Simon said Taylor will make the finale. Hell's bells, I said Taylor would make the finale about five contestants ago. This is nothing we didn't know before last night and those who were fearful, had their fears calmed in the Taylor love-fest that was last evening. So let's not talk about Taylor.

Listening to Nigel's post-performance interview (and God, do I detest that interviewer person...), I can't detect any sort of definitive clue as to which one of the other two will get his or her hopes and dreams crushed like the ant I just squashed on my floor. (And the third-place position is totally sucky too, because the following week, when the ousted kid gets to normally make the talk show rounds and meet Ellen and everything, the third-place kid has to stick around to practice the Brady Bunch numbers. Bummer.

He called Elliott the night's best singer, but said he got kneecapped by song selection. He gave the night's highlight to Kat, but said she may have blown that opportunity with a crappy third song. (Gee, he disliked it more than I did...) It's anybody's guess what's behind those beady little eyes of his.

DialIdol, again, has Katharine and Elliott in a statistical deadlock, but experienced significant problems last night, able only to handle the reports from two lines, so those numbers cannot be trusted any more than they already shouldn't be trusted. Plus, DialIdol only counts the calls from those voters who are using its software. It's a small percentage of the populace actually voting, and should never be taken as the gospel of spoilers. And, very importantly, it does not take into account text voting, and by all accounts, both the Elliott and Kat camps texted themselves silly last night.

For the first time, I really am at a loss. I know the Elliott voters were out in force like never before, especially after seeing their guy in the top two last week and then having to listen to Simon giving him the proverbial pat on the back, it's been nice to have you speech. The Kat fans were determined not to let their girl get as close to extinction as she was last week, especially after getting crappy reviews at the end of the show.

I really don't know who's staying. But as an Elliott voter, I am prepared to say goodbye to my guy. (Hell, I didn't think he'd make it past seventh-place, so I think the Elliott fans are practiced in the art of dread.) If I were a Kat fan, I would be doing the same. It's always better to be prepared only to be made joyful than it is in reverse. Just ask any Chris voter.

But one thing I do know. I do know that these three young people have given their lives to this show since the beginning of the year. They have endured more than most of us could withstand. They have been made fun of. They have been called names. And while being in this show does have its consequences, it's no reason to feel justified in heaping even more abuse on the two who will be left, all in the name of the one left behind. And the fans of these kids have invested hours of time and deserve the same respect we would expect from them.

I hope after tonight's outcome, whatever it is, this place remains a place where people can gather, discuss, debate and commiserate without fear of being, or having their favorite kid, bashed.

Thanks in advance. And good luck to all of us!


Anonymous Gina said...

Jennifer said: "But one thing I do know. I do know that these three young people have given their lives to this show since the beginning of the year. They have endured more than most of us could withstand. They have been made fun of. They have been called names. And while being in this show does have its consequences, it's no reason to feel justified in heaping even more abuse on the two who will be left, all in the name of the one left behind. And the fans of these kids have invested hours of time and deserve the same respect we would expect from them."

I could not have said that any better. I know that if I had talent like any of those 3 finalists, I couldn't do what they have done up to this point. They definitely deserve all the kudos that come their way. I want to make one observation, though. When you get involved in reality TV and get into a "hollywood celebrity" kind of lifestyle, the gloves are off. Kid actors/singers, teens and adults all have to endure every tabloid and news report out there that say horrible things about them. Unfortunately that's reality. I applaud their courage to do all they have done. No matter who wins, they are all winners to me.

Climbing down off of my soap box, now.

5:40 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger tracyintpa said...

Jennifer, I just love the way you wrote this post, especially the ending. We all get emotionally invested, to different degrees. I am more emotionally invested this season than I ever have, simply because one of the performers has just touched me deeply with his style, his voice and his heart and soul. I know personally I would be crushed if he went home. And I haven't counted him in yet, although predictions seem to be he is moving on, I won't breath a sigh of relief unless and until I hear that tonight. The last thing I would want to hear if Taylor went home tonight would be people bashing him. Each one of these kids are talented and have worked very, very hard and none of them deserve to be bashed, I agree 100%. If anyone should be bashed, it should be Clive Davis for picking three insanely bad songs for them to sing last night. Thank God they had the insight to put those performances first.

5:41 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

Oh don't get me wrong. I don't feel any sympathy for them, when they know full well what they're getting into by diving into Reality Television. So I don't listen to THEM whine, but I don't think just because they've chosen to open themselves up to ridicule/criticism, etc. is any reason we should feel justified in laying it on.

But when one of them does the Waaaaa business, I'll laugh in their face.

5:44 PM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very well said Jennifer. And I would like to also say how much I have enjoyed reading your blog this year.

As a Katharine fan I can certainly agree with your sentiment that she may very well be going home tonight. And if that is the way it works out I am pretty ok with it. The biggest thing I wanted going into last night was for all of them to sing well, and I pretty much got that. I didn't want to see anyone go out from bombing at this stage. The only one who screwed up in my opinion was Clive Davis with his song choices. As I have said before I hope whoever does go out still gets picked up by a label and has a chance to put out their own CD (Paris too, and I am pretty sure Chris won't have a problem in that regard). I think all of them are talented and they all seem like nice people.

-- Allen

5:45 PM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say again...amazing job this year Jennifer!

Jennifer for AI6 LOL! Can u sing?


7:20 PM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I downloaded and used dialidol software to cast votes last night. Interestingly, when it got an "all circuits are busy" message, it counted it as a vote cast. I sent an email to the dialidol site asking about this and got one back that said unfortunately, this is true. So, my votes and circuit busy votes were for Taylor. So are his stats, or anyone else's right?

7:39 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

DialIdol's mission is to count the busy signals, not the votes, so yes that annoying all circuits are busy business counts as a vote, because it's an answered call, not a busy signal.

That's why you NEVER look at the raw numbers and place any faith in them, because they're not necessarily votes.

7:48 PM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Katherine has not sung well in three weeks, except for the one song last night.

Elliot has done very well, but not so well last night.

It would be a damned shame if Elliot went home and Katherine didn't. She doesn't belong in the final 2. Hell she didn't belong in the final 3, Chris sang circles around her.

I don't have anything against Katherine, except she oversings, gets tinny and screechy and tends to not be able to hit her high notes without flatting them.

People who have remarked about Elliot's teeth are not seeing the big picture with that kid. He has a terrific voice, and he hasn't been nearly as off-key as Katherine has been all season, even with her vocal training.

If Elliot loses to her, I would demand a re-count.

8:54 PM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

3 minutes...good luck everyone!

9:00 PM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous Tanya said...

that really a Taylor fan, and voted for elliott lastnight..i cant beleive someone who cant remember the words to the songs made it to the finals...what the heck is wrong with that pic..anyways ,i know elliott will go far in life,i just wish him all the are a great man Elliott

10:12 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger niffie80 said...

Jennifer... You're the best!

7:48 PM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger Nelle said...

Sorry I am just reading this NOW but you know Jennifer as much as I loved Elliott I felt that Kat outshone him. He needed to bring it so badly and he didn't. I almost cried but I didn't feel that night's performances warranted him being in the final two. I feel his voice is silk but he needs to relax and perfect his delivery. I think he improved the most, had great soul in his voice and I loved his modesty. I wanted him to win so badly but in all honesty I just felt that need he didn't deliver. His song choices were poor and I was disappointed in Paula's choice for him as well as his own. I will never forget his tears moving me to tears.

8:46 PM, May 18, 2006  

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