Monday, March 30, 2009

Idol Man Speaks - The Long Road

It's a long, hard road from auditions to becoming a finalist on American Idol. Now in its eighth season, Idol has consistently been able to discover exceptional talent amidst the thousands of hopefuls across the United States who think they have what it takes to become a superstar.

I have to admit that I am a sucker for the audition shows. It's that Chuck Barris point of view that everyone wants to see people make fools of themselves, to laugh at other people's misgivings and lack of perceived talent. But it's also a depressing affair witnessing the delusions of people who actually think they can sing. In an age where everyone wants to be famous, honest self-perception is sorely lacking.

However, American Idol wouldn't be American Idol without the hapless souls howling like drowned cats at audition time, now would it?

For the first time in it's eight-year history, there are thirteen contestants instead of the usual twelve. The lucky 13th Idol was the "Dogg", Anoop Desai, who was visibly emotional after being told by Simon that the judges had agreed to include him in the finalists. Anoop made a big impression at audition time, penning his own nickname "Anoop Dogg" with an amused Randy. The guy could sing, yet was told in no uncertain terms that he needed some image work. After illustrating some crazy dance moves on last week's Wild Card show, Anoop could easily be considered the "dark horse" of the competition (or perhaps the "underdogg").

The judges got it right with their decisions last week. Megan Corkrey has an interesting voice that needs to be explored - let's just hope she ditches the "quirky" act and concentrates on her own "self" (unless that is her own "self", which will become exceedingly tiresome as the show progresses). Ditching Tatiana was the best decision of the night. Sure, the girl has a set of lungs, but her personality was akin to being trapped in an elevator with someone experiencing severe flatulence - you just can't wait to get away from it!

Of the thirteen finalists, my picks for longevity in the competition must go to Danny Gokey, Allison Iraheta and Jorge Nunez. Danny is an amiable guy and an obvious crowd favourite. He may not be the most impressive vocalist in the competition, but his highly likeable persona is going to take him far. Allison, on the other hand, has a towering voice that was brilliantly displayed with her rendition of Heart's "Alone". Her performance set the benchmark for the rest of the contestants - she could easily have replaced Heart's Ann or Nancy Wilson on tour if she had have been alive in the 1970s. As for Jorge, the Pride of Puerto Rico - I just like this guy. His infectious spirit was clearly on display when he told the judges that he could only think and express himself in Spanish due to his nervous disposition after making it through. Go Jorge!

As for the remaining contestants, it will be as interesting as always to watch how they progress through the competition. Adam Lambert is a bona fide entertainer, yet he seems somewhat silicone in his presentation. His mantra to evolve his song choices into new and exciting renditions smacks of David Cook-wannabe. David achieved success last season by reinventing songs, yet it came from an honest place. It was David being David. Adam seems to have taken his cue from Cook and wants to cash-in on a previously successful formula.

With the first Finals show airing later this week, my choice for the first person to be ousted would lie with Jasmine. It is tough for many of the Idols to perform well when they are put on stage for the first time accompanied by a band. This was evident in the previous three weeks when a decent majority of the contestants faltered, some struggling to keep their vocal place with the band. Jasmine displayed much promise in her audition and the following weeks, but slipped somewhat when it came to the crunch. The judges, recalling her potential, rightfully put her through, but I feel she is going to struggle again when it's her time to take the stage this week.

by Idol Man

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