Thursday, May 22, 2008

"And the winner is David ..."

Last night, we, like many others, watched the final episode of "American Idol." However, we went into it already knowing the outcome because Jim accidentally saw a headline online that gave it away. (I think the words "shocking upset" were used).

"Oh, man, I didn't want to see that." He looked so sad.

At first, I didn't want him to tell me. But then I decided I'd rather know what he knows, so we can talk freely during the show.

The show itself I found culturally bizarre, but oddly entertaining, careening back and forth between the sublime and the awkward.

For instance, it makes no sense to me for Simon to always make the point that this competition is about looking for a pop music artist, not a variety or Broadway star type of singer -- remember how much he hated Syesha's choice, and high school Bob Fosse cabaret performance of, "Steam Heat" -- and then put them into these June Taylor Dancer step-turn, step-turn production numbers all wearing the same outfit.

It's the Brady Bunch Variety Hour.

My favorite singers to watch in these horrific numbers are the ones who are most uncomfortable. I think I relate to this because my first music job that wasn't in a band was singing and -- and I use the word loosely here -- "dancing" at the long gone Gran' Crystal Palace in Dallas. (They blessedly kept me out of as many as possible and I remember one afternoon when the choreographer was having a particularly upsetting time trying to get my Baptist feet and body to cooperate. We came to a decided halt and a deadly silence filled the room. From behind me came this tiny little female voice, "That's okay," she assured me. "None of us can write songs." I wanted to die. I was thinking to myself, "ANYONE can write songs. This shit is HARD!")

So, the show proceeded. As I said before, I found it entertainingly jaw-dropping. And any show that has Seal singing is okay with me. Also, I was gleeful at being able to spot the product plug, cringe at the medleys and roll my eyes at Randy's Captain Kangaroo coat.

It was also great to see the "Let my people go" guy from the list of bad singers, who had the same innocent creature look in his eye that David Archuleta has. I felt really sorry for him, even though I was also guiltily laughed along with Randy and Paula.

Anyway, I knew David Cook was going to win and so, rather than waiting to be surprised myself, I was looking forward to seeing his face at the moment of revelation. We also were taping it on our DVR.

For two numbing hours, this thing is going on. Then, finally, they get to the envelope. The envelope guy says a few words. Ryan Seacrest opens it. Then, as slowly as a human being can say the words, he finally gets to "And the winner is... David..."

Suddenly a warning came up on the screen that the recording was finished, then it skipped ahead to a few seconds later. Past the announcement, and it was useless to try to go back. We missed it.

I yelled at Jim, "WHAT DID YOU DO??"

He replied, "I didn't so ANYTHING!"

I thought he had accidentally hit the remote or something. But he hadn't.

I found out another friend had also DVR'd it for later viewing, but it also switched off for them. How weird that it was RIGHT on the last name.

I have praised David Archuleta in this blog. Sometimes the tone of his voice cuts right through me. But I think David Cook is the more mature artist when he remembers to change the songs to sound like himself, something he didn't do in the final competition which is why I thought he would lose.

Win or lose the actual competition, both of these guys have careers ahead of them. Archuleta can hit the adult contemporary circuit and make a mint. There will always be a market for these kinds of concerts, though I'm not sure I could take a whole CD of him. He's much better in small doses.

Cook is going to have a harder time of it because the market for rock is so splintered, and I don't know if he has any talent, for instance, as a songwriter. But he is fun to listen to and, as good as he is singing rock songs, I love his ballads. He paces a song beautifully.

Maybe the two of them should tour together as an act. They probably will when they're in their 50s.
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