I did something the other day that I haven’t done since I was in college—no, no, not a kegstand*. I watched American Idol.
*a.k.a. carry my textbook around to house parties and read in the spare bedroom.
Now before you get judgmental, let me justify myself by saying I didn’t even know this show was still on the air. With The Voice and America’s Got Talent, does anyone even watch American Idol anymore? I never hear about it on the news, meaning people don’t post it on Facebook. I didn’t even know that the judges were Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, and Harry Connick, Jr.
I must sadly admit I couldn’t figure out why Harry Connick, Jr. was on the panel until I Googled him just now. I always thought he was just an actor. (Not “just” an actor, but an actor.) I see that he made albums full of Sinatra songs and he sounds very jazzy, but I know him from Hope Floats, and more honestly, his minor role in P.S. I Love You.**
**Although every contestant went up to J-Lo and said, “I love you! You have no idea how much I love you! You’re beautiful! My mom loves you! You’ve been my idol for forever!”, I think I would have gone up to Harry Connick, Jr. and said, “So tell me– what was it like working with Gerard Butler?”
I’ve never been a huge J-Lo fan, despite sharing with her my first name and posterior qualities, but I have to admit, she looked stunning… in that “I’m not trying” kind of way, with a flannel t-shirt, wavy hair, and make-up that made her skin actually glow. I think sunshine was coming out of her face. No wonder every contestant started weeping tears of joy at the sight of her (not that I find such behavior excusable. My God, people. Control yourselves.)
Here she is, looking radiant and “natural.”
It’s not the greatest picture to showcase her beauty, but it’s the best one I could find. It seems she made a bigger impression when she arrived on the last show looking like this:
She could have done worse, though. Imagine Keith Urban staring into this hairdo.
So, I was folding laundry and watching American Idol and they were finishing up in Detroit. I have to say I was impressed by the talent. I remember the show featuring horrifying performances by people singing off-key and the guy who sang “Pants on the ground.”** There wasn’t much of that going on. What I did notice, however, was that there is a large absence in the judging panel where Simon Cowell used to sit.
**It goes something like this: ”Pants on the ground, pants on the ground. You lookin’ like a fool with yo’ pants on the ground.” It was an original.
Don’t get me wrong: Simon was caustic and rude and a lot of people hated him. I, personally, thought he was amazing and funny. I was impressed by his ability to be blunt and straightforward and destroy the human spirit. He did it with such natural ease. Something about the uppity British accent and attitude allowed him to remain stoic and unswayed by pitiable tears. Granted, he may have been “too” honest, with zero tolerance for stupidity, but that’s why he was great. He was an equal opportunity criticizer, and even though people hated him for it, he was the best there was. He was able to weed out those who could sing from those who couldn’t, and that’s what a show like American Idol needs.
J-Lo, Keith Urban, and Harry Connick, Jr., on the other hand, are anti-Simons. They’re nice and pretty to look at. Plus, Keith Urban has an Australian accent. But the show needs someone who’s honest and can, like, JUDGE the contestants because otherwise it’s just a free-for-all. From what I saw, anyone who can hold a note for half a second is eligible for a ticket to Hollywood. I’m convinced there are going to be 200,000 people singing in the next round. The panel gave all but two people golden tickets in unanimous decisions, and only Keith Urban said no to a girl who was 100% crazy. Simon Cowell must be doing the living-equivalent of turning over in his grave from listening to this screeching (fast forward to 40 seconds):
A golden-ticket-worthy performance.
I can assure you several of the contestants would have been stopped by Simon. He would not have let someone through because she was “beautiful” and “really interesting,” or because “she seems so sweet and kind-hearted.” What is this, Happiness Club? I’m with you—they’re sweet (and pretty) girls. But I don’t think someone’s dark hair and rich Italian heritage should merit staying on the show.
“Beautiful” and “Interesting.”
“Sweet and Innocent”
These judges are either pushovers, or they just prefer shaky tonal quality and scream-singing. I like to call this the End of Idolatry.
There was, however, some real talent. Here are my picks for the top contenders:
Bryan Watt (“What?” “…Yeah, I get that a lot.”) whose choice to sing Carrie Underwood lead me to question him as a man, but after he started singing, I just wanted to hear him finish out the whole song. He’s got a smooth, easy-listening quality, and I think Keith Urban should be nervous he’ll get bumped out of the country scene if this young buck starts recording albums.
Keri Lynn Roche, who also works a waitress (SOLIDARITY FIST BUMB). She plays guitar and has a raspy, sexy quality that made J-Lo use the word “emote” in her post-performance analysis. I predict she’ll be making a lot of money soon—her rendition of Radioactive is amazing. (I posted videos of all my top picks at the bottom, so check them out if you’ve got some time.)
Melanie Porras. There’s an episode of Friends where Phoebe loses her voice from a cold and suddenly becomes a big hit, because of the “sexy voice.” (I experimented with this as a waitress here.) Melanie was blessedly born with a sexy voice and I’m happy just listening to her talk, let alone sing. Girl’s got skillz. I thought she was unusual-looking at first, but I’ve concluded she’s what Seinfeld would call “Good light, Bad light.”
Maurice Townsend. This guy is my absolute favorite. He has the kind of voice I just want to listen to because it makes me feel at peace with the world, and OHMYGOSH, he has the cutest kids I’ve ever seen! I’m not particularly a fan of children because they make me feel awkward and I prefer animals, but I love these kids. You have to watch the video—the judges’ response is the one positive result of not having Simon on the judging panel.
And last but not least, the crazy girl.
She began her audition with a Sicilian accent that she later lost (something even the judges noticed), her voice and style were all over the place, she had a meltdown when they offered criticism, and yet SHE WAS STILL SENT THROUGH TO HOLLYWOOD. It’s clear from her follow-up interview that she has no perception of reality and is wildly deluded by self-admiration. I’m afraid she’s going to make it all the way on account of everyone wanting to see just how far into the deep end she will go.
I likely won’t keep up with this, so if Keri Lynn or Sexy Voice or Maurice end up winning American Idol, please let me know so I can give myself a high five.
Keri Lynn Roche
KRAZY Khristian Davis