Bits and Pieces

There’s no Idol show tonight, but the gang will be back in action tomorrow night at the Wachovia Arena in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

Katharine McPhee is expected to join her fellow Idols on tour this Friday, July 21 in Rochester, NY.

Speaking of Katharine, E! Online ran two seemingly contradictory stories on Katharine today.   First, the gossip columnist, Ted Casablancas chastises Katharine in  his gossip column  The Awful Truth:

Remember how we mentioned Katharine McPhee was MIA from the American Idol tour’s opening week? After Kat called in sick, she was well enough to do her photo shoot for Cosmo Girl. An Awful reader who attended the InWhySee concert this week wrote in to let me know Kat was still a no-show. Very strange, isn’t it?

Wonder if this has anything to do with K.P.’s possible acting career? We know Steven Spielberg wanted to meet with her, and Kat recently auditioned to play the love interest of Adrian Grenier on Entourage.

This is all so exciting for the bitchy brunette, no? I mean, I’m sure it is. But I hope K. remembers what her big break was. Idol is what put you on the map, hon, so don’t go skippin’ out on your AI engagements just yet, ‘kay? Priorities, babe!

However, Katharine’s letter to her fans, posted at last week, (and posted here  last Wednesday) is featured sympathetically in Eonline’s news section:

Numerous Idol forums have debated endless conspiracy theories about the second-place finisher‘s absence from the tour, including the completely unsubstantiated rumor that McPhee had pulled out entirely due to a disagreement with 19 Entertainment.

Much was also made over the fact that McPhee was apparently well enough to attend a Cosmo Girl photo shoot two weeks ago, the day after the tour kicked off without her in Manchester, New Hampshire.

But according to McPhee herself, she plans to rejoin the tour when her doctor gives her the go-ahead, and she was indeed well enough to sit for the magazine–she just couldn’t talk.

Do the two articles cancel each other out?   Ha ha.

Hopefully, Katharine will return soon.   The skepticism that’s been rumbling amongst die-hard online Idol fans is seeping its way out to the mainstream press.    In this  MSNBC article, a reporter interviews an Idol fan:

The American Idol Season 5 runner-up ‘  who July 5 blamed severe bronchitis and laryngitis for her inability to perform ‘  was still conspicuously missing from the …Idol tour Thursday.

The other Idols ‘  winner Taylor Hicks, 2nd runner-up  Elliott Yamin, Chris Daughtry, Paris Bennett, Kellie Pickler, Ace Young, Mandisa and Bucky Covington ‘  didn’t seem to suffer from her absence.

…At the souvenir stand there were three tees for sale, Access Hollywood senior field producer Tara said. …A collage of all the finalists, a Katharine tee and a Taylor tee. In the 15 minutes that I waited in line, not one Katharine shirt was sold. Taylor and team idol tees were flying off the racks.

And  this AOLCelebrity/People  blurb has a silent Katharine and her boyfriend, Nick Cokas “caught” out having an ice cream at a local LA Coldstone Creamery.   Nick  speaks for Katharine:

Cokas, who was acting as McPhee’s caretaker and interpreter, told us that under the doctor’s orders, the singer will miss another few days of the tour ‘ but hopes to join her fellow Idols by the time they reach Rochester, N.Y., on July 21.

See?   Katharine is just resting her voice.   She hasn’t been kidnapped by aliens.   Or Clive Davis.

This bitchy New York Times  review of Thursday’s Idol show in NJ mentions the skepticism:

Near the end, Mr. Hicks took a break as the other singers gathered for …We Are the Champions. (What, didnt they watch the show?) There were eight instead of the scheduled nine because Katharine McPhee, the runner-up, had called in sick. …She got laryngitis, Mr. Daughtry explained, prompting a gruff rejoinder from a man in the crowd: …Like hell she does! (Suffice it to say that among …Idol devotees, there is some skepticism about the diagnosis.)

No matter: Mr. Daughtry and three other guys sang the Guns N Roses ballad …Patience for her. As they crooned, images of Ms. McPhee filled the screen: she didnt even show up and she got a video tribute. Must be doing something right.

The thinking seems to be–and I read this point of view  online over and over–that if Ms. McPhee can go swimming, sit for photo shoots and go on ice cream runs with her boyfriend, she can get her butt out on the road, even if it’s just to wave from the audience.

This attitude may not be fair–a diagnosis of laryngitis means she can do just about EVERYTHING but sing.    And 19 can make better use of her time back in LA, rather than have her travelling on a tour  where she can’t participate. But at this point, does it matter?   After two weeks, there has barely been a word from her handlers–leaving the rumor mill to grind away the entire time.   The sooner Katharine finally joins the tour,  the better.

Speaking of bitchy reviews, who peed in that NYTimes critic’s cornflakes?   His disdain was dripping from every sentance of that review. I wish these papers would not send music critics–who’ve probably  barely watched  AI–out to review the concert.   The too-cool-for-school attitude is pointless.   And boring.  A better bet for review would be the TV critic who followed the show all season, like this critic from Entertainment Weekly, who not only watched the show, but  can see  the contestant’s talents through the cheesiness.  

This reviewer from Hollywood Reporter  makes the brilliant observation that “Unfortunately, the results resembled nothing less than highly accomplished karaoke, with precious little individualism on display.”   No kidding!  Expecting something breathtaking or highly original from the  concert is missing the point.   The kids go out on the road to perform for the fans who voted for them.    These kids are singing other people’s songs handed to them by the producers–with very little rehearsal time–and crappy sound, lighting and sets to boot.   Well, at least the band is good.   The Idols show is just meant to be pure entertainment. Nothing more, nothing less.  

I say save the critiques for the kids’ first CDs.   In the meantime, sit back and revel in the cheestastic fun that is an American Idols summer concert.