Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I still don't have the energy to write about anything of substance, but I will take a moment to bitch about American Idol.

I can see how the judges, and the preteens, would love David Archuleta. He's totally in the AI vein of a champ: sings well, doesn't mind singing only ballads all the time, is pretty much consistent, and acts pretty humble. He's got all the qualities that shot people like Jordin Sparks to the top. And none of the qualities that would make me want to buy an album or listen to his song on the radio. In the grocery store, sure, on the elevator - I probably won't be able to avoid it. But man, he is such a snoozefest! Every time he sings J and I have to slap each other not to konk out.

Maybe it's our ages, we're just unable to break out of the gen-X love for grunginess, so we gravitated to Cook. I have already found myself looking up his performances on youtube and letting them play in the background while I do other things. I'm basically creating an album of his songs, and they're not even his songs! (tho I have found some vid of his band pre-AI, for which he was a great singer but they needed better songwriters) Every time that man steps up to sing he does something interesting and different - or at least, he comes off like a rock star, like a person already ready for the club (perhaps not the arena, but that could come with the right band behind him). I'd totally see him live, and I'd totally buy his album. Because he's just interesting. Last night, he sang three different kinds of songs (Archie, predictably, gave us three ballads - yawn). And he actually seems to put some feeling into them, and occasional swagger. Archie seems to want to do that, but the poor teen is still too awkward. That's not his fault and he'll grow into himself and be great on broadway and in Vegas lounges.

In the meantime, I predict he'll easily win tonight. He's just the AI type: vanilla, bland, powerhouse ballad, polished stage presence, etc. And his win won't hurt Cook's career a bit - if anything, it will help it. The best runners-up - Aiken, McPhee, and I would wager, Lewis - go on to phenomenally greater success than the winners. The true stars who have won the show - I would argue that's only Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood - benefitted from having very little competition from their runners up. The choice was obvious.

Cook might have even been better off in the #3 or 4 slot, like a Daughtry or Tamyra Gray. It's all about the proper management after the show, and some people get overshadowed by the machine and can't get out from under it. Archie needs that kind of control over his career and it will serve him well - he's too young and inexperienced to make his own decisions. They'll do it for him and I suppose we'll probably hear him on top 40 stations soon. But seeing how I don't listen to those stations, I'll just be pleased not to have to tune him out on my TV once a week.

Speaking of that, what was up with Simon last night? Why such a hard-on for David A.? I didn't understand especially how nutso they all were for the new song that he sang. I found Cook's choice far more memorable, and in fact it was stuck in my head the rest of the night. That's called a hook - that's a likely potential hit, when on one hearing you're still kind of humming the tune (plus you can remember the very simply lyrics). I can't remember a thing about Archie's song, except that line they all made fun of about seeing yourself as perfection in the mirror. Which incidentally could happen to the poor kid - I hope he keeps his feet on the ground. As long as his mom stays with him, he should be fine. He's headed for a fine long Manilow-esque life in showbiz.

And here's hoping that I'll get to hear again from Cooksie soon, because those youtube vids are getting a little old (except, of all things, the Mariah Carey week - I think I've listened to his version of "Always Be My Baby" a hundred times and I still like it - that is scary). So tonight will be predictable but, unlike the year Aiken was runner up, I won't have to be sad, because despite the AI machine's desperate attempt to keep Ruben relevant, he just ain't Aiken, never has been, and never will be, and the world knew that and voted - with their dollars - accordingly.

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