American Idol Season 6 Closes Shop And I Want a Refund
Okay, so I didn’t actually cough up any cash in order to watch 'Idol.' But I did spend a great deal of time and energy being aggravated over this year’s extremely subpar season. So I think 19E owes me some kind of remuneration. For starters, they could schedule a Fox special to help placate me: "The Elliott Yamin/Constantine Maroulis Variety Hour," with special guests Kelly Clarkson, Bo Bice, and Jon Peter Lewis.
It’s no surprise that the overall weakest top ten in 'Idol' history produced the weakest finale in history. In any other season, Jordin Sparks and Blake Lewis might have been lucky to crack the top twelve. But this year, we’re meant to believe that they were the two most talented contestants in the entire country. Shame on you, “Idol” producers and judges, for not doing your job. Were they truly the best you could find? And was that sapfest last night really the best original song that came your way? Highly doubtful.
Let’s break from complaining (momentarily, anyway) to review last night’s show. Ryan started things off with a coin toss to decide who would perform first. Blake won the toss, then, in a gentlemanly but foolish move, ceded the decision to go last to Jordan. Blake! Always, always, pick the number two pimp spot, don’t you know that? Oh wait, I forgot — you never watched the show before. So I guess you don’t know.
Hot Blake Returns
Lewis did do his best to get the evening going, whipping out an encore performance of “You Give Love A Bad Name” from Bon Jovi week. It was an energetic effort, although it seemed even heavier on the beatboxing than his original take. I was happy to see the return of Hot Blake, though, as he apparently took my advice and toned down the skunk stripe – the hair looked stellar tonight.
However, looks weren’t influencing Randy’s judgment, as he rated Lewis a “10 out of 10 on beatboxing, but the singing was just a’ight.” Paula, who apparently had just watched her Tivo recording of Monday’s “Dancing With The Stars,” took “Dancing” judge Len Goodman’s comment as her own, and responded, “I wish I could give you more than a 10.” Simon, who, speaking of “Dancing,” was recently made dean of the Maksim Chmerkovskiy School of Careless Shirtbuttoning, gave Blake a mixed review, saying, “The performance was great, the singing a bit flat.”
Jordin and Xtina
Jordin countered with Christina Aguilera’s “Fighter.” Just like the judges’ warnings regarding Whitney Houston songs, “Idol” contestants need to be counseled not to attempt Xtina numbers. It just doesn’t work. While Sparks definitely gave it her all, and was on-key throughout – I found it rather shrieky. Simon agreed, giving “round 1” to Blake. In response, the camera cut to a casually attired Constantine in the audience, nodding in response, and no doubt wondering how the hell these two ended up in an “Idol” finale when he finished sixth. Tino should take solace, however, in the fact that Blake and Jordin didn’t have competitors the caliber of Bo and Carrie to deal with.
Moving on to their second songs, Blake busted out his beloved argyle to croon another Maroon 5 track, “She Will Be Loved.” Fantastic song, and a good choice for Blake’s range. It was clear, in-tune, and, actually, I thought, rather sweet. Simon, however, deemed it boring and having “no impact,” much preferring Jordin’s choice for song number two, “A Broken Wing,” which she had originally performed during country week. Sparks emoted well, but again, I detected a bit of shriekiness, which kept the performance from working for me. Randy was super-pleased however, claiming Jordin’s vocals were “flawless, better than the original.” I’m sure former guest coach Martina McBride really appreciated that.
I don’t think I can continue further with this recap without mentioning Randy’s jacket. Exactly what was that? A rejected design from the 2007 Michael Jackson Fall line? I think the stylists this week must have neglected the judges and spent all their time on Jordin, who looked great throughout. It’s notable that Sparks abandoned the “pageant” gowns and went with a much more youthful look throughout the evening, especially with the flowy, belted blue top and jeans combo she sported for the McBride song. This had to resonate with her young fans, who probably took time out from texting to admire her duds.
The style advantage, however, was nothing compared to the huge boost Jordin received with the contestants’ assigned final song. As soon as I heard Blake attempt the opening notes of “This Is My Now,” the winning tune in a nationwide songwriting competition, I knew any pretense of an actual contest here was over. Blake had no chance to sell this “inspirational” belter convincingly, although he certainly did his best.
Of course, with this song, the “Idol” powers-that-be continued their shame spiral. The songwriting contest was supposed to produce a composition for the “Idol” winner that was actually, you know, a good song. What a concept! But, just like always, what we got was a tired, trite effort that might as well have been called “Do I Make You Proud In A Moment Like This?”
After the performance, Blake, working argyle sweater number two of the evening, was given a back-handed compliment by Randy, who noted, “You don’t have to feel that bad about it.” That’s great, Randy, thanks a lot. Simon then quite sagely noted that it was an odd song for Lewis, and that viewers should “judge you on your first two performances.”
And so, the stage was set for Jordin to bring it home. That she did, still a bit shrieky, but to no surprise she proved much more capable than Blake at delivering this kind of emotional number. For extra bonus points, Sparks made crying noises as she finished the song’s groundbreakingly original final line, “This is my now.” Call me a cynic, but I didn’t see any actual tears until later on, just before the show ended. But that moment guaranteed her the title. Randy fawned, “You deserve it all.” Paula eloquently noted, “You frickin’ make me proud.” (Incidentally, the original title of Taylor Hicks’ debut “Idol” single was “Do I Make You Frickin’ Proud?”) And Simon, summing it all up, noted, “You just wiped the floor with Blake.”
Chris Daughtry reminds of former idol greatness
Ending things was a heavily eyelinered Chris Daughtry, performing his contestant kiss-off song “Home,” as a bittersweet memory of what once was “Idol” greatness.
So there we have it – the least suspenseful finale in the show’s six seasons. Jordin has clearly won, and Blake will no doubt sign with 19E, but what impact will either of these two ultimately have? In my opinion, neither of them are superstars. They both have some natural talent that can be molded and marketed to move product, but will either of them grow into truly inspiring, lasting performers? I guess only time will tell.
In the meantime, I can be happy about the one lone positive (besides the good work done by the “Idol Gives Back” episode) from this season: I have zero desire to spend money on tickets for the “Idols Live” tour. So I can actually take a little vacation this summer.
I guess I can thank “Idol” for that.
Got an opinion? Share your thoughts now.