Tuesday, May 15, 2007

American Idol: Final Three

There are always one or two weeks where something rotten is in the air and all the performers turn in subpar efforts. It's too bad that the most glaring example of this had to happen on such an important episode. Two weeks left, with all the chaff finally cleared out and sent home, leaving only the four Idols with a realistic chance of winning. Instead of stepping up, every one of them found a way to expose the limitations of their talents.

Melinda went Broadway, as always, and oversang everything in lieu of actually giving a crap about any of the songs. LaKisha's naive charm had been slowly morphing into arrogance as she started to buy into her stardom. Everyone associated with the show is on a major fame high right now, and they have a tendency to think that the fame is for real and can perpetuate once separated from the show. Poor LaKisha. In this case, she ignored Barry Gibb's advice to sing "Stayin' Alive" in a higher key and it turned out to be a plodding mess. Simon was dead on about Jordin and her tendency to lapse into pageant-y, OTT glitz.

Nobody exposed himself worse than Blake, who, after a season filled with smart decisions and daring creative gambles, looked and sounded awful. Blake does two things well: 1) radical remakes of popular tunes (Bon Jovi), 2) straight-ahead, frills-free versions (Keane, Latin Week), using his boy-band-ready voice to add contemporary sheen to almost anything. Nowhere in this model for success is there room for a falsetto. Nowhere in this model for success is there room for throwing off random scratches and beatboxing noises just for shits and giggles, just to prove that he can.

The fact that he survived last week shows that his (young) fanbase is loyal, and he may or may not have actually been in the bottom two (the third straight week that we've learned nothing about the rankings, so he has as good a chance as any to vault himself into the final with a strong showing tonight.

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