Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rewind: American Idol

Given my personal taste in music, I really shouldn't care about American Idol at all. I'm more into the indie/alternative kind of music that doesn't play on the radio, or appear in celebrity gossip, or well, get covered on Idol. Plus, it's the kind of music where vocals aren't necessarily the most important thing. And when Idol first started, it definitely was primarily a purely vocal performance talent competition.

But now, with song choice and song arrangement starting to take precedence, and especially with the contestants allowed to play instruments...the show's been attracting some different kinds of talent. Ones that I might actually listen to in my normal life! I mean, I still detested David Cook last season and think Daughtry is horribly unoriginal, but they're definitely closer to what I like than past Idols like Jordin Sparks or Carrie Underwood or Taylor Hicks.

And this year, three of the top four were on the rock side of things. Kris and Adam especially made me like them just because of their song choices, namely "Mad World" from Adam, and "Falling Slowly" and "Heartless" from Kris. So I'm actually looking forward to what kind of albums they're all going to put out. Allison I think could possibly go the Kelly Clarkson route, maybe a little less pop, Adam I see doing a My Chemical Romance/Muse type of thing (or be the frontman for Queen?), and Kris is definitely the Jason Mraz/John Mayer singer-songwriter type. But we'll just have to wait and see!

So while the talent and performances this year were actually more enjoyable for me, the show itself was even more of a hot mess. First of all, there was Kara. I guess she was supposed to bring a songwriter's perspective or something, but that's just laughable, considering that piece of steaming crap that she co-wrote for the finale, "No Boundaries." And I thought that most weeks she didn't have anything different to say at all, strangely agreeing with "for you, for me...but you can SING" Randy Jackson most of the time, amidst all sorts of erroneous pop culture references (Studio 57? Saturday Night Live disco? Early Aerosmith?). Plus, a fourth judge, good or not, just means more time devoted to the critiques.

Which brings me to the next problem: the show running over. It's ridiculous how much time was wasted on things that were NOT SINGING. There was one week where Adam's entire performance aired after 9PM. That's ridiculous. Back in seasons 2 and 3, they managed to have time for the top 5 to perform two songs each. But this year, in the top 4, we only got one each, and those stupid duets. What is going wrong here?

I also thought the judges were being too obvious with their desire for an Adam-Danny finale. I didn't get the Danny pimping at all -- while the judges were constantly ragging on the others for not knowing what kind of music they were about, Danny was never questioned at all. I felt it was so obvious that he was the least current and the least marketable of everyone. Then when it came down to Adam and Kris, Kris was sort of being treated like "Nice try, thanks for showing up," and the finale was so obviously structured around Adam, with Kiss and Queen and everything. Don't get me wrong, I liked Adam and would have been happy to see him win too but I liked that the Kris win was kind of a slap in the face for the judges/producers.

Finally, this isn't new, but Ryan Seacrest sucks. I can only imagine what the show would be like if it had a host like, say, Cat Deeley...

Oh, and the stupid judges' save isn't even worth discussing.

What does make Idol so much more fun to watch though, is the Idolatry videos on I highly recommend watching the Kris, Adam, and Allison exit interview segments because they're just awesome. (You can watch Danny's too, if, you know, awkward babbling and colossal cluelessness are your thing.) Also check out Anoop's and Matt's...I wasn't really fans of them on the show but they both came off as just really cool guys.

Until next season...

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