Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Thoughts on American Idol

I've been watching American Idol since season 2. When this season began to unfold I decided my two favorites were Matt and Kris. Soon though as I watched Adam do some amazing things, like singing really well, he replaced Matt as one of my favorites.

Two completely different performers are Adam and Kris and yet I liked them both. Adam knew when to scream, he knew when to keep it soft, he knew that women like me would like to see his hair slicked back looking like a cross between Elvis Presley, John Travolta and Zach Efron in Hairspray. He was more than an amazing singer, he was a performer. And we never knew what he would do next. He was willing to take a chance, and either succeed fantastically or take a face plunge in the dirt.

On the other hand Kris, like Adam, could take a song and make it his own, however, his own were often stripped down versions. He was best with his guitar or at the piano. Adam was "watch my world and see how wild I can be". Kris invited you into his world and made you feel like he was singing to you in his home while enjoying an ice cold coke. He didn't need to scream to get his point across. He sang with strength yet softness. He appeared to be enjoying himself as much as Adam, just in a quieter way.

I was always anxious to see what these two would do next. You never knew how they were going to change a song, only that they were.

I figured Adam would win as did everyone else. His performances were just too unique and often outrageous not to. Besides he was able to hit notes that only dogs could hear. I hoped for a showdown between him and Kris thinking that Kris would be a nice second placer which wouldn't hurt him in the least. While everyone was thinking it would be a Danny Gokey/Adam finale, I ended up predicting it correctly because - well I always have. See I have a sixth sense about these things. I've always predicted who would win (well except for the Ruben/Clay fiasco but I was a newbie then).

And then the final performance night came and I realized several things:

1. Although Adam was fun to watch for one song, it was too much to listen to the over the top screaming for three songs. Instead of enjoying it, I started feeling anxious and wondered if my stove was on fire, my headlights were on and if I forgot another doctor's appointment. Would I want to listen to an Adam Lambert CD for an hour? Probably not. Would I want to listen to a Kris Allen CD for an hour? You bet. He didn't make me think that there might be a stranger trying the back door. Adam might give a more exciting concert, but wouldn't it get a little tired after awhile? Maybe Kris' concert would be just as enjoyable and I could feel secure that my house would still be standing when I got back. Hey, I know it doesn't make sense but I can't help it.

2. The finale song was written for Adam's voice. Even Kara, the co-writer pointed out to Kris that the key was too high for him. What? Did they say "Hey lets write a song that will make Kris suck?" Only it didn't make Kris suck. But why did they write a song just for one of the contestants? Don't they always talk about song choice and finding the right song for the right singer, and then they stick a song and an arrangement (you can bet they wouldn't let Kris rearrange it) to a guy that it just doesn't suit. This smacked of Idol being way to sure of themselves about who would win.

3. The judges gave Kris speeches that signified basically that he wasn't going to win, but gee, he was such a great guy and talented too and golly gee, what a great contenda.

I couldn't help thinking that maybe the American people wouldn't want to be so blatantly manipulated and maybe the quiet guy with the guitar and the strong yet gentle voice might win. And then suddenly I realized that I wanted Kris to win.

Results night only confirmed it. So much of it was geared towards Adam's drama. He performed with smoke and wild costumes with Kiss, and later his number with Kris and Queen was suited to his voice and style again, not Kris'. It was wild, it was exciting, it was all over the top just like Adam and Kris was getting stomped on.

And yet I preferred the remarkable duet Kris did with Keith Urban. It was strong and fun, and he held his own with a guy who's sold millions of records around the world and appeals to a wide variety of people. I love Kieth Urban, my kids like Keith Urban, Keith Urban is genuinely liked and admired in the business, and he's current.

"Wouldn't it be cool if Kris won?" I said to my daughter. "It would be the biggest upset ever on the show."

"But he won't, Adam will win," my daughter replied.

And so I really wanted Kris to win. It would be the last unexpected twist in a season where we had two contestants who did the unexpected. And frankly I honestly believe that Kris could have a longer career than Adam. For one thing, he won't be wrecking his vocal chords.

And so when Kris name was announced, I screamed. I've never screamed before at the results. It was one of shock, and admittedly joy because my initial pick, the underdog, the dark horse, the pussy cat, the guy who for some reason everyone compares to an animal, the guy no one thought could, won.

His humility "Adam should have won" was just an example of what kind of guy he is. Adam's graciousness was wonderful as well.

In the end, it doesn't really matter who wins. As has been proven in the past, winning or losing is not a major factor with a singers success. Yes, Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood were able to make extremely successful careers out of it, but then so were Chris Daughtry, Jennifer Hudson and Clay Aiken.

I'm hoping that both Kris and Adam will do well. They both deserve it.


I've posted a book review. Read "Might As Well Laugh About It Now by Marie Osmond.


Cindy Beck, author said...

You know, I've never even watched that show. And I've always wondered why people do. Although, I did watch the YouTube version of Susan Boyle in "Britain's Got Talent."

Oh, before I forget ... thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting! It's funny that you got the baseball pun ... because it didn't hit me until later. Ha ha.

Cami said...

All of your points well taken! :) Funny thing is, I predicted that Kris would win. I knew that he would get all the votes from Danny Gokey followers. Everything you said is true, but, sigh. I guess my cursed rebel heart still enjoys the softer side of Adam. I really never cared much for the screamy stuff....but when he sings things like Mad World, or Tracks of my Tears....I just really enjoy it. I am REALLY enjoying this blog! You have a true gift for finding long lost funny bones in dried up sense of humors! Thanks for being so real and so honest.... :)

Makayla Steiner said...

Dear Cami... you are a SUPER Fibby McLibby! You DO TOO like Adam's scream! And you wanted Adam to win. And you even liked his very... um... unique (?) version of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire."

Of course you like Mad World and Tracks of My Tears. Adam has a beautiful, beautiful voice. Part of Adam's appeal is that he is so versatile. This was evidenced in the second song he sang during the finale... the Sam Cook song about change coming or whatever. It was SUPERB.

Adam will do well. But I think, like Adam's mom actually said, both deserved to win. Kris appeals to a huge section of middle America, and like the guy said in the article I read, he is especially appealing to little tween girls who were texting like mad. But I think it's highly unfair to claim that Kris is going nowhere, because I don't think that's true. I've said for weeks how very much he might appeal to a country music audience, and perhaps some blues/folk people and so on. Just because he won doesn't mean that Adam doesn't have a good following and won't be successful... he will. Just not among mainstream America. He's a fringer. And he fits the bill. And I'm buying that Sam Cook song from iTunes.

And I'm still pleased that Kris won. For all kinds of reasons.

And you can like Adam and his scream all you want. You don't have to pretend that you don't. :)

And why do I have any right at all to call Cami a Fibby McLibby? Well... because she's my mom. :D

Natasha said...

I am not surprised that Kris won because I heard so many people on Twitter and Facebook say pretty much exactly what you've said here-- all of it. Including the part about how Idol tried to set up an Adam win. The point about the Danny Gokey followers was good, Cami. I couldn't stand Danny. His dancing was extremely lame and hard to watch and he wasn't original enough.

I agreed with everything you said about Adam and Kris except that I think that Adam will mix up an album with slow stuff, too. He reminds me a bit of Mika. Mika has loud, boppy songs, just a bit of screaching, and some incredible slow ballads.

These are the first two idols I've ever really liked. Adam is astoundingly talented and fun to watch. I love to watch his face.

Karlene said...

I would have voted for Danny. Except I never vote.

Thanks for stopping by my site. You asked about a summer reading challenge. I'm not hosting one this year, but I'm participating in the LDS Publisher Summer Reading Thing 2009. Come do that one with me!