Gwen Stefani and Akon sing her single, “Sweet Escape”.
(Bear with me peeps…it’s 5:30 on the East Coast and I’m scrambling to get myself ready to board an airplane at 9 am. The blog won’t be updated as usual this weekend, but I’ll catch up eventually! To follow is an abbreviated recap of last night’s
This is where I am supposed to yell at “America” for getting it wrong, but I don’t play it that way. As a long time Idol watcher, I realized long ago that American Idol is first and foremost a reality tee vee show that just-so-happens to feature some singing. Oh yeah, the singing! As much as the judges will wail on about how AI is a singing competition (they typically pull this card when they aren’t getting their way), well, we long time fans know better.
I mean, I could whine that lesser singers like Haley and Sanjaya out lasted Chris–contestants who should not have even made the Top 24 let alone the Top 12 if we were to judge on purely singing ability. But it’s pointless. If AI were actually singing competition, it would run on the weekend, hardly anyone would watch it, and it would be called “Star Search.” And, I’d be off somewhere getting a life. Maybe.
The truth of the matter is that contestants advance based on a whole bunch of criteria–how much the camera loves them, performance skills, personality, how actively the producers and judges pimp them. Singing ability is typically at the end of the list.
What made last year so special, was that the best singers generally lasted ’til the end. The media coverage for the most part stuck to covering the singers and their relative merits as contestants. This year, the show has turned into a sideshow, with Sanjaya’s hair and Antonella’s half-dressed body driving the coverage. Good singing is on the backburner, with talented vocalists like Leslie Hunt, Stephanie Edwards and Chris Sligh leaving the competition much too soon.
So, bye bye Chris Sligh. Y’all can argue with me if you want, but I will say without reservation that Chris had the best vocals of all the males in this competition. I’m disappointed he won’t be performing next week with Tony Bennett. I have no doubt he would have sung the hell out of a standard and would have lived to sing another week.
Unfortunately, Chris had a bad night. An off performance combined with an early performance slot and no love from the judges spelled doom for Chris. At this point, he did not have the fan base to carry him through a hard time. That’s just how it goes on Idol–a bad night can do a performer in, just like that.
Chris was a front-runner after his initial audition, but he was unable to build on that momentum once the competition started. Since he’s not a pin-up boy, he had to rely solely on his personality and vocal ability to capture the audience’s attention. The vocal ability was there in spades. But, unfortunately, his snarkiness didn’t translate well on the show (It never does–snarkiness generally folds under the cheesy earnestness of Idol) and his precocious song choices and vocal arrangements did not connect with the viewing audience.
Here’s what I think: Chris will be a highlight of the big cheeseball poptarts concert this summer. There’s gonna be a whole lotta “I didn’t like him on the show, but man, was he AWESOME on the tour.” He’s gonna do real well in his post-boot interviews–the talk show format will be a much better forum for his personality and humor. I think Chris will go the way of Kellie Pickler–her humor fell flat and felt forced and phony on the show. Once she was booted and “out of the box” she was able to relax and be herself. Now she’s a media darling. Chris’s post-idol career has every chance to go the same way.
Bleah, I must catch a plane and I’m barely packed. I’ll leave you with a couple of things. Chris has re-opened his entertaining and well-written blog. Check it out here. Soon, very soon, I’ll be reviewing the new album by Chris’s band, Half Past Forever. You can download it at the band’s website or buy it from Amazon. It’s an awesome collection of pop delights, and I’ve got it loaded on my Ipod and look forward to listening to it on the plane this morning. If I don’t miss my flight…
Quickly. A few thoughts on tonight’s show. I liked Gwen Stefani a bunch when she was the lead singer of No Doubt. But these days, she’s sampling some wacky yodeling crap from “The Sound of Music” and recording pop-pap like “The Sweet Escape” that’s on par with something Paula Abdul would have recorded back in the 90’s. Needless to say, I’m not impressed with tonight’s performance.
The Ford commercial features crazy cowboy Chris Richardson and the kids singing “I Fought The Law and the Law Won.”
Exxon is on board for the big Top 6 week charity event. I plan to put my cynicism on hold that week. I’ll be voting and donating. I hope ya all will be too.
Nice sing-out from Chris. To be honest, when he strolled over to his castmates to give each one a hug, I stopped watching. I really was that bummed.
Sigh. On to the rest of the season. Go Team Plaid.