i’m a beLEEver : )

Well America, like it or not, your American Idol is….(cue unnecessarily long pause where Lee nearly vomited on himself and Crystal appeared to stop breathing) LEE DEWYZE! The paint salesman from Chicago beat out the single mom from Ohio by a close margin, capping off what some claim to be the worst season of Idol thus far. I wouldn’t say worst…maybe more like most boring? Most phoned-in judging?

I was never a huge Crystal fan, so I was happy with the results. Going into the show last night, I honestly had no clue who would win, because I don’t put much faith in stuff like DialIdol, but I think it came down to the fact that Lee’s fans were more likely to mobilize and vote because he appealed to a younger audience.Regardless if you were a staunch MamaSox supporter or not, you had to smile just a teensy bit at the outpouring of gratitude and pure excitement from Lee after he won.

It will be interesting to see how well Lee does in his post-Idol endeavors; Entertainment Weekly posed the question, “Will Lee be the next Kelly Clarkson or the next Taylor Hicks?” I think it’s wayyyy too soon to tell; let the guy tour, soak in his new life, figure out what kind of music he wants to make, and then pass judgment. I urge any haters to check out Lee’s pre-Idol stuff on YouTube or iTunes before they make any snap decisions.

I made it through 42 episodes of American Idol, which probably means I lost about 60 hours of my life to this show. I will never get to reclaim those lost hours, but I had fun watching and recapping. From the shocking elimination of Alex Lambert to the misused Judges’ Save, and all the way through to the finale, it was an interesting ride.

Thoughts on (the second hour of) the finale:

-LOVED Casey James and Bret Michaels singing “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” Did not love a celebrity who nearly escaped death and had a minor stroke last week performing without telling his doctor.  Bret is the ultimate Comeback Kid, though.

-Not gonna lie, I was enjoying Larry Platt’s dance moves during “Pants on the Ground.” When William Hung came out, however, he just ruined the fun.

-Paula Abdul looked great, but her “roast” of Simon was so awkward.

-All of the past Idol winners and top 12s from past seasons coming back to sing to Simon was a great TV moment. It’s easy to forget how many people have experienced success from this show.

-Joe Cocker kind of scared me…

-Departing musical director Rickey Minor did not get any acknowledgment from the show, which is a shame and kind of embarrassing on the producers’ part.

Photo courtesy of Reuters.

i miss the kooky glassblower already.

Last week, as I watched Siobhan Magnus, one of my picks to make it to the top 4, if not top 3, sing her American Idol swan song, I felt a whole lot of…nothing. I’ve experienced many emotions over the years as an avid Idol viewer, but never has that range included apathy. As I watched Siobhan absolutely kick ass on “Think” in that gorgeous two-tone pink dress, I couldn’t help but think that maybe the naysayers are right. Maybe season 9 is the worst season so far, although one could make a compelling argument in favor of the snooze-worthy season 5, with the Blake/Jordin finale, but that’s a topic for another time. The five contestants left standing elicit nothing more than mild enthusiasm from me, yet by this point in other seasons I was already (illegally) downloading performances and anxiously awaiting the day Idols Live tickets went on sale. If I miss an episode of Idol this season, eh, I move on.
So where did American Idol go wrong? How did Ken Warwick and Co. reach this plateau and turn a watercooler show into a defeated shell of its former self? Let’s face it, when you’re being beaten out in ratings by a cheesy (albeit delightfully so) dancing competition made up of minor celebrities, it’s time to panic a little. There are numerous reasons why Idol is slipping this year: the loss of Paula and subsequent addition of Ellen, losing favorite contestants before the top 12, Simon’s last season, etc., but most of the blame can be placed on the contestants themselves. You could have the best recipe in the world, but if the ingredients you use are subpar, the end product isn’t going to taste so great. Clunky metaphors aside, here’s my take on the top 5:
Call Aaron Kelly the Little Engine that Is Trying So Damn Hard. You can almost hear, “I think I can! I think I can!” running through his mind as he makes an earnest face and hits a glory note. His naivety and innocence are refreshing amidst backtalk and egos, and the country tone to his voice is great, but Aaron hasn’t had a true “wow!” moment to make him a legitimate contender. He’s too much like Archuleta 2.0; we’ve already gone down the precociously talented teen guy route before.) I do think he’ll have success in the country industry, but I hope he finishes high school and maybe considers college before taking on the entertainment industry. (Am I really giving out parental advice? In that case…get off my lawn, turn your music down, pull up your pants, etc.)
I take back my earlier comment about feeling nothing during last week’s results show. I felt deep-seated rage that we could have been done with Big Mike and his ridiculous behavior back in the top 9. He represents everything annoying about Idol. “Check me out on iTunes!” Um, no. “I’m doing it for my people!” You don’t have people. You’re a contestant on American Idol. Then there’s the lip licking, the facial mugging, the arm flexing, the weeping, eye-glitter fanatic wife, the need to pick up all lightweight contestants and mentors…I could go on and on. Maybe it’s just my musical taste, but I don’t find his R&B stylings to be anything new and different, nor anything I would download/listen to.
Casey James is the epitome of vanilla: semi-decent to look at, marginally talented, but oh-so-boring. I’m not saying I want my Idols brimming with personality, because hello, I want to sucker punch Big Mike every time he appears on my TV, but I think Casey was born without the personality gene. The goat vibrato slips into his voice far too much for my liking, and the John Mayer-ish faces he makes while playing guitar are frightening. He could make the top 4, barring any shocking eliminations, but his complacency is not going to win him the competition.
I confess that I usually join in on the backlash that comes from a contestant being too heavily pimped by the judges/producers, and this season I bought my round-trip ticket on the anti-Bowersox express. I’ve always criticized Crystal for sticking too close to her “wheelhouse,” as Randy would say. We get it; she likes girls with guitars and soulful jams. Yet when she tried something different-ish, a Shania Twain cover, it was lethargic, half-assed and a bit pitchy. I think tonight’s Sinatra night is literally do or die for Crystal; no instruments and no rearranging of songs allowed. How is she going to fit her crunchy granola hippie style into that box? I wasn’t too keen on her comment on last week’s results show that she “didn’t think” she’d ever been in the bottom 3. Really? You can’t remember? Maybe the judges have been blowing smoke up her butt for so long that she has selective amnesia. I know Crystal is favored to win, but I’ll be shocked if she does….
…Because I think Lee DeWyze is going to come from behind and take the crown right off Crystal’s head. We could have a repeat of last year on our hands: an overhyped favorite and a dark horse in the finale, with the dark horse ultimately victorious. Lee is by no means the most consistent person ever to grace the Idol stage, because he does suffer from pitch problems every week and he’s yet to really command the stage. That being said, he’s the only remaining contestant whose album I would be interested in buying, although if he were competing in any season other than the current one, he’d be a mid-pack player at best.
Tonight’s show should be very interesting…

enough already.

I listen to the radio a lot now that I’m home: in the car, while I’m at work, and in my room. I never listened to it when I was at school because I had iTunes, and frankly, the station selection in Poughkeepsie left a lot to be desired. I now realize I was better off not listening to the radio because the selection is terrible and they play the same 10 songs over and over again. Here are songs I would like to ban from further radio rotation:

Black Eyed Peas, “Boom Boom Pow”: This is the number one song on the Billboard charts, so that explains why I hear it even on adult contemporary stations. I hated this song when it first came out, then I warmed up and enjoyed it on my Saturday night jaunts to the bar, but now I’ve come full circle and loathe its very existence. When Fergie starts to scream the bridge, (“People in the place/If you wanna get down,” etc.) my ears start to ring and just want to curl up in a ball until it’s over.

Shinedown, “Second Chance”: I hate everything about this song, from its stupid music video with the runaway ballerina to the insipid lyrics. No, you did not just see Halley’s Comet, so stop trying to tell me you did. I can already tell this song will soon be making it onto grocery store playlists, and once you’re heard in the frozen food aisle at Stop and Shop, you lose all credibility.

Beyonce, “Halo”: My qualm with this song isn’t so much the fact that it’s overplayed, but the repetition of the word ‘halo.’ Beyonce says it 69 times throughout the song’s duration, (yes, I counted) and after about the 20th ‘halo,’ I’m driving off the road because I can’t focus on anything else but Mrs. Jay-Z’s favorite two-syllable word.

3OH!3, “Don’t Trust Me”: This song was cute and quirky when it first came out, and even I was singing along to “Shoosh girl, shut your lips/Do the Hellen Keller and talk with your hips,” but the novelty wore off quickly. I understand the quirky appeal of both the band and the song, but quirk can only carry you so far in this music industry. Gimmicky music like this makes me crazy.

The Fray, “You Found Me”: I enjoy the Fray, I really do. I have their first CD and it’s gotten a lot of play on my iPod, but this song is just so treacly and melodramatic. It’s been used in every show from Lost to The Real World, so hearing it ad nauseum on the radio is just overkill. Not to mention it’s interchangeable with about 80% of the Fray’s other songs.

Britney Spears, “If You Seek Amy”: I’ve had . I love almost every track off Circus, except this one, so I was prepared to grit my teeth and suffer through the incessant replays of this song. The tongue-in-cheek hilarity of the song’s title is made even worse by radio edits, which change the titular lyric to “If you see Amy.” As unexcited as I am about Britney’s next single, the Blackout-recycled “Radar,” I’d much prefer 2007’s leftovers to this ridiculous hot mess of a song.