The last time I religiously followed American Idol was during their 5th Season wherein a weird silver haired seemingly epileptic singer won; honestly, I’m having a hard time remembering his name. My friend was right, he’s forgettable.
I was lucky to be able to catch a marathon of the show presented by Star World before their last hurrah on Tuesday night wherein the two Davids (Archuleta and Cook) will slug it out for the coveted post as Season 7’s American Idol. Truth be told, I do like the show. Like millions of people watching, it presents the proverbial escapism, and yes, we get to live vicariously in their dreams. Although I have other important things to do (like write, clean my room, pluck my eyebrows or simply rest and stay in bed), I decided to indulge and waste my time watching the show. I’ve heard many of my co-workers talking about it for months now and I thought that it’s time that I get in accord with the pop that’s American Idol.
I started early morning of Saturday and enjoyed the auditions thoroughly. I’ve seen and laughed on weirdoes, clowns and nutcases trying to get a golden ticket (really, it’s just a yellow bond paper) under the pretence that they can sing. I was also fortunate to watch the raw untapped talent that is to make the cut. Noon arrives and the house help called me for lunch, I asked that it be brought to the living room so I won’t be taken away from the hilarity of the contestants and Simon Cowell – my favourite judge. After the auditions, Hollywood Week follows wherein heads continue to roll. Drama starts to get thick as every contestant who can sing needs to prove that they can sing well.
During the Hollywood Week, the judge becomes ferocious and blunt; the contestants on the other hand, either slowly crack under pressure or turn to vicious players – even hiring vocal coaches out of their own pocket. One even asked the band to step out of the room since he’s having difficulty meeting them eye to eye. After proving that they can sing well, this time they need to prove that they are strong enough and thick (skinned) enough to take whatever curveball is thrown at them. And from the Hollywood Week comes the Top 24.
The journey in chopping the Top 24 to Top 12 started to take a toll. This was when I switched the channel to watch John Tucker Must Die (big mistake) and took a shower. When I came back, they were still trying to narrow down the list. What continually amazed me is Simon’s tenacious expertise in channelling what the viewers are thinking. The other judge (Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson) are just too kind or perhaps timid to pass judgement. In all honesty, I would like them to judge away. Say whatever hell it is they want to and don’t be a suck ups to fans of the contestants who immediately boos them if they hear something not to their liking.
Towards the end of the day, there were 12. From here, everyone doesn’t only know how to sing but they sing every piece thrown at them with such reverberating bravado, one can easily conclude that even if they don’t win, they have an exceptional talent that can bag them a singing contract and leave their day job. Nevertheless, someone needed to go home. Some should’ve been sooner compared to others and some departure just came too soon.
The marathon continues to Sunday and the slugfest starts to become cutthroat. Contestant had to own the song like it was theirs and needs to come off like they can sell it. The immediate problem they face is the pay off that will come with the judges tirade. The viewers are aware that as much as we hate Simon Cowell’s nonsensical comments, we know that he does have a point. He is able to feed the general populations votes thus it’s him you need the good comments from. Contestants have, time and again, disregarded Simon’s response; they continued to sing just for the audience and not for the person who asserts the votes. Everyone knows that if he starts saying cabaret, karaoke and whinny, you either are shown the door next week or you’re at the bottom three. Some are brave enough to take risks but most of the time they sound more like they are just making a cover and not owning the song. Most times, it’s just luck of the draw, in this case luck of the song choice.
But all those sufferings are given little treats such as getting coached by Mariah Carey and Andrew Lloyd Webber (Evita, Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Superstar), getting chauffered by a limo and taken from State to State by a private jet and a personal thank you from the President after raising enough funds to help people in need. Plus, let us not forget the celebrated fame. During the Sunday marathon, we were also given a short respite when the show pre-empted their usual parade of talents and rallied the world for charity (Idol Gives Back). The likes of Bono, Brad Pitt, Annie Lennox and Robin Williams asked to dial in and give whatever they can to help the people who were ravaged by Hurricane Katrina and the children of Africa dying of neglect.
At the end of the day (I checked the clock and its just a few hours to Monday) it showed two powerful players. Everyone had speculated the strength of the two Davids and to no surprise they are the ones we will be cheering on for the last two shows. It was nice to see Syesha Mercado step out. She was never really a favourite and I’d rather have Michael Johns in her place. Below are the top 12, in order of elimination; ones with a star should have stayed a little longer – I think.
9. *Amanda Overmyer
8. Chekizie Eze
7. Ramiele Malubay
5. Kristy Lee Cook
4. Carly Smithson
3. Brooke White
1. Sayesha Mercado
So now I am left waiting for the grand finale on Tuesday. I hope David Cook goes home with the prize. I’m so stoked.