May 11, 2006

Well, I just can't not say something.

I mean, here we are again, with yet another Birminghamster in the final rounds of American Idol.

I haven't posted a lot about the show, because I find it frustrating; although, oddly enough, not so frustrating that I won't watch it. I was encouraged at the first of the season when it appeared Randy had done away with his incessant use of the term "dog" for EVERYthing. However, it returned full force. He's a smart guy, so it's not like he can't come up with something else. But I have to believe that if "Randy Says Dog" was a drinking game, everyone would be just like Paula and sloppy drunk within five minutes.

Paula. I'm sorry, but I don't buy the, "it's only the medication I have to take to function that makes me act this way" story. She needs help.

Simon. I'm tired of everyone booing him. Of the three, he's probably the most objective, although he does have his obvious favorites. But the audience reaction and, more pointedly, the reaction from Randy and Paula, is just too stupid. It's embarrassing to everyone and makes me uncomfortable in the same way I get when I watch the Democratic National Convention.

Ryan. Twit. Without this show, he'd be sharing a spot on the too-echo-headed-to-have-a-real-job list along with Kato Kaelin. He has his funny moments during the auditions, but the scripted banter with Simon is achingly unfunny and makes me uncomfortable in the same way I get when I think about Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid necking in the backseat of Patrick Kennedy's Mustang.

ANYway, as for the final three--I was about as shocked as anyone else that Chris is gone. I detested his stupid topiary facial hair, and the extremely self-conscious "I am a ROCKER, dude!" persona, but he really could sing pretty well.

Elliot? Well, he's an okay singer. But as an unattractive man, I can safely say that's ONE UGLY GUY. I think "Goat Boy" every time I see him, and as you can guess, this makes me uncomfortable, and in the same way as seeing Mr. Tumnus on Narnia. But I will say this, he has gotten better every week, and he doesn't seem so full of himself like some of the other has-beens have been. I think he's a good kid, and I just hope if he does somehow manage to win that the first thing he uses his big recording contract for is some dental work.

Katharine? Well, ever since Becky O'Donohue got booted early, I've been hoping she'd continue on, based simply on looks. As an unattractive man, I can safely say she is incredibly attractive in that "pretty girl with some real good squishiness in all the right places" sort of way. Voice? She's got one, but frankly, there's little in the way of feeling to it--she has yet to make the hairs on my neck stand up the way that Kelly Clarkson could, or even Mandissa from this year. Technically, good but lacking that oomph that says you understand the lyrics you're singing. She might stay in until the final two, but I can't see her winning, especially if she keep screwing up like she has the past couple of times.

Which leaves Taylor. And the question of just how it is that Birmingham keeps managing to get people into the finals of this program. As this Birmingham News article from today notes:

[...] During interviews this week, "Idol" judge Simon Cowell predicted Hicks would make it into the finals, which will be May 23 and 24 at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.

If so, Hicks will be the fourth contestant with Birmingham ties to battle for the "Idol" title, following Ruben Studdard, Diana DeGarmo and Harold "Bo" Bice. Studdard, a Birmingham resident, won the competition in 2003. DeGarmo, a Birmingham native, and Bice, a former Helena resident, were runners-up in 2004 and 2005, respectively. [...]

So, just how is that happening? Well, I think it's because if anyone from Birmingham manages to make it through to the voting rounds, the tremendous marketing power of our local FOX affiliate brings in a huge amount of potential voters that other contestants just can't get. In past years (as in this year), if any tie can be found to Birmingham or to Alabama, WBRC goes into near full-time "news" coverage, with all sorts of cross-promotions and coverage of viewing parties (which are given huge amounts of exposure during the local news segments) and a host of other goodwill. This wouldn't be that much of a deal in some markets where the FOX affiliate is small, but WBRC is the ratings 600-pound gorilla in this market, and has a very broad signal coverage in a relatively large (around #40) television market.

Not that the Birmingham performers aren't good--they are--but when you can effectively co-opt a local broadcast company (or when a local broadcast company allows itself to be co-opted) to provide free public relations (such as Taylor's appearance tomorrow morning on their morning show Good Day Alabama) well, it sure can't hurt your chances.

As for Taylor himself, I like him. I've always like guys who sound like guys--I can't stand these boy band types who sound like Britney Spears at a slightly lower pitch. And I just like his goofy good humor, and he can sing pretty well, if it's in his comfort zone. I have a feeling though, that Simon and his company wouldn't know what in the world to do with him. Taylor's gotten this far because of things that aren't typical in the poppish, sugar-coated, zippity-doo-dah music genre, and I have a feeling that Taylor would actually do better for himself if he came in second. That way he could write his own ticket and not be beholden to trying to please the various handlers and goobs who are more comfortable with someone like K-Fed.

Anyway, they're going to have a big parade for him tomorrow outside my window, so I'll try to remember to bring my camera. I am, after all, not above allowing myself to be co-opted.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at May 11, 2006 10:40 AM

Birminghamster! That's almost as good as Baltimoron!

Posted by: Steevil (Dr Weevil's bro Steve) at May 11, 2006 12:26 PM

I wish I could claim it as my own, but it's been around a long time. And the name even graces the masthead of our own Onion-esque local journal.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at May 11, 2006 12:41 PM

I am really frustrated that Katherine is still on the show -- especially after this week's performances. She is just terrible -- wooden and completely uninteresting musically. Her redeeming feature in this competition is her physical beauty, but it sure doesn't translate to her singing. One of the celebrity coaches (I don't remember who) put it best: her vocal ability comes so easily to her that she often seems disconnected from what she's singing. Zero emotion. Zero connection. Lots and lots of pretty hair and prancing around. I cannot understand how that beat out a genuinely interesting and unique singer like Chris.

If she goes to the finals, I will scream.

Elliott, whatever one might feel about his looks, is the best and most versatile singer on the show, hands down.

Posted by: Grouchy Old Yorkie Lady at May 11, 2006 12:46 PM

Well, the prancing could use a rest, too--her attempts at pelvisy Elvisness were frightening, and this comes from someone who highly enjoys wiggliness amongst the fairer sex.

I really don't think she will beat out Elliot for the final slot.

As for versatility and all that, I think at this point with Elliot and Taylor we're comparing apples and oranges, sort of like when it was Clay and Reuben--they were so different that it was hard to compare them objectively. You either liked their style or didn't, but they both were good at what they did. In the first season, Kelly and Sideshow Bob were like two sides of the same teenybopper coin.

I still wish Mandissa could have gotten a bit further along. She had some pipes.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at May 11, 2006 12:55 PM

Well since Elliot is my local boy I have to vote for him. However, I don't watch the show.

Posted by: Sarah G. at May 11, 2006 01:29 PM

Yeah, me neither.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at May 11, 2006 01:33 PM