February 18, 2009

Twelve down.

I have some thoughts about American Idol.

As you might recall, this year the Top 12 is being selected a little differently: Instead of two people being voted off each week, each week for three weeks, three people are being selected to stay.

I understand where the producers are going with this – it could make for an exciting show when each contestant knows that they can be out after one performance. Good isn’t good enough. But, I feel like the public is getting the short end of the stick here. Instead of each contestant having some time to find their footing, show us their personality and what they’re capable of – we only see them each once. But still, this isn’t my big concern about the new format.

My big concern is a little website called VoteForTheWorst.com, which is devoted to mobilizing people to vote for the worst contestant each night. Thus sticking it to the man, or making some point about Americans and their ridiculous devotion to pop culture idols, or something. Pathetic and mean-spirited are two words (with a hyphen) that come to mind. I’m concerned that the new advancing structure makes it easier for communities like this to “win,” because a limited number of people are advancing (instead of being eliminated). So instead of the real voters knowing that, even if one lame-o person (cough cough Sanjaya) is being advanced, the majority of the remaining contestants will be legit, there’s now this chance that at least 1/3 of the Top 12 will be jokes.

Am I being paranoid? Maybe. Or maybe it’s just that after watching the first 12 perform last night, I’m not sure I’m ready to give up on three-quarters of them yet.

My predictions for the advancing three:

Alexis Grace: Is there anything less authentic than being told to “dirty up” and showing up with pink hair? That kind of annoys me. I’m also not sure that “dirty” is the look that a mom should be going for, but hey – she sang the best of the girls.

Danny Gokey: Could the producers be backing him any more? Everyone needs to just take a chill pill. Robert Downey Jr. doppelganger with an apparently never-ending collection of eyeglasses is good enough, I’m just not sure he’s the second coming (get it? Because he’s a church music director?). Plain-old ballad singers (even when they’re by female artists) do not an American Idol make.

I think Anoop or Brent Keith will advance, but I wish it was Michael Sarver. I disagree with the judges – I liked him better with this upbeat song than the soulful thing, and I think it was a good choice that showed us some personality. I’m not sure about your explanation though, Mr. Roughneck: You chose to sing “I Don’t Wanna Be,” because you don’t want to be anything other than what you are…except American Idol, right?

If he doesn’t make it through on votes alone, I think Anoop Desai will get the wild card from the judges – and rightfully so. This kid could be great – if he would just get a haircut.

And now, some questions:

Why would Jackie Tohn wear Olivia Newton John pants with tennis shoes? Doesn’t Ann Marie Boskovich look like Lyla from Friday Night Lights?

Why did they use that Chris Daughtry “rocker” flame background that totally matched Tatiana’s dress? Does anyone else feel like Ryan Seacrest has gotten worse at this whole hosting/interviewing thing as the years have gone on? But, my most important question for the night is: Why on earth were Ted Danson and Neil Patrick Harris sitting next to one another??