Being a general rambling on last night’s show, and not quite the award-winning focused recap that it should be…
Last night’s show disgusted me. Never before has the show been staged, produced, and tilted so far in favor of one contestant. Even in the first season where it was clear that Kelly was ten leagues better than Justin, the judges never owned up to that fact until the very final show, after all the votes had been tallied. This year, we have Simon trying to top himself each week in praising Fantasia to make sure his girl gets in: “What does it say behind you?” “You’re the best contestant we’ve ever had.” Puh-leeze.
Even if you think Fantasia deserves it, at least show Diana some modicum of respect.
Diana nailed the Idol song right out of the gate. Amazing. Perhaps she shouted a couple bits too much, but her voice was strong. She kept up with the song. I had the same chills when she was done that I had when Kelly Clarkson sang “A Moment Like This” at the end of the first season for the first time. And what does Randy think? After comparing her to his top echelon of divas (Whitney, Celine, etc.) he could only backtrack to a meek “You did good.” UGH It’s like he caught himself before he praised her too much. He was afraid of throwing her a vote, I guess.
If she had sung that song last, it would have been the show stopper. Sadly, she lost the coin toss. (Get your conspiracy theorist hats out: Fantasia called heads before Diana could call a side. Tamyra flipped the coin, and we all know who she wrote that song for… Yeah, this parenthetical aside is a joke. For me, at least. There’s probably someone out there on the internet who’ll take it seriously, though.)
And what’s with the penguin dance the choir was doing behind her? I laughed at that one.
Fantasia sings the same song and it sounds perhaps a bit more natural coming out of her mouth, if only because it’s more in her style. Hmmm, a gospel choir backing up the contestant on a song written by Tamyra Gray. Gee, I wonder who that’s going to favor? But even though the song favored her style more, I don’t think she did as good a job with it. It was more of the same Fantasia, being the showman first and the singer occasionally.
Seeing all the former AI contestants and judges crying after that performance? They must be high. They’ve bought all the trappings of the AI Coronation. They’ve fallen for it. They drank the Kool-Aid. They’re not even thinking anymore. They’re mind-numbed zombies. I have no clue what they were listening to. (At least with Amy Adams, we can blame all the black shoe polish she had in her hair last night.)
“Summertime” was an Idol high point this season on its first go-around. Now, on the third go-around singing it, she sounds bored with the song. She’s trying to riff on it constantly. It was almost as bad as George Huff on Manilow week. The warbles came back. The “yeah yeah yeah”s got more pronounced. It was not nearly as inspiring as the first time around. The judges, though, took long cool sips of the Kool-Aid in their Coca Cola cups and heaped the most praise they could muster without losing every last atom of air in their lungs.
Yes, by the way, Fantasia ended ALL THREE SONGS this week with “yeah yeah yeah.”
And Fantasia’s first song? You knew it was bad when the three judges came close to slamming her on it. They’ve done everything they could do to boost Fantasia, shy of killing a chicken and drinking its blood to appease the gods. So they had to appreciate her showmanship on the song, because there was nothing else to be proud of in a song that there was no fear of forgetting a lyric on. She just screamed and warbled through most of it, and repeated the lines the background singers gave her first. I was reminded of Jamie on SuperStar USA checking her hand for the lyrics she had written on them.
Diana did a professional and worthy job on “Enough Is Enough.” She faltered big time on the last song, but it was obvious throughout the night that the strain was starting to show in her voice. That’s why Tamyra got voted out in Season One, remember. Her voice was starting to crack and she lost. Diana, after 12 weeks, is starting to lose her voice. Kelly did the same after the first season ended. Clay showed the signs of strain at the end of last season. Ruben never had a problem because he never had to hold a high note, did he? Nor did he ever have any fear of having to move more than two feet in any direction on stage, yet I don’t recall Simon ever faulting him for it.
I have to give Diana a pass on the last song, though, because her first performance of “Don’t Cry Out Loud” was another AI highlight for all time, and she did such a great job on the other two songs.
She was not helped in her last song by the sound quality, either. One the first couple of songs for the night, I was amazed by how “right” the sound was. For the first time all season, they managed a live show in which the vocalist could be heard above all and the song mixed well. I was looking forward to hopping on here this morning to praise them for that. Someone happened after that first round, though, and the quality quickly deteriorated. By her last song, Diana sounded hollow and you could hear the echoes in the background. It’s a real shame.
Simon’s comments on Diana’s age made me laugh, too. You know how old Fantasia is? 19. Three years older than Diana. I don’t think Fantasia has climbed too many mountains or swum across too many lakes. She just had unprotected sex first.
I was disappointed in the song choices over all. Last year, Clay Aiken sang his Idol song and two others, including “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” which easily ranks on the Top 10 Idol performances of all time. The other song, “Here, There, and Everywhere” was a bit of a disappointment, but it didn’t help that the producers asked him to add in a verse at the last moment. Still, he had to learn three new songs for the final show.
This year, the contestants each sang the same Idol song, and repeated 1 (Fantasia) or 2 (Diana) songs that they’ve already sung before. Why are the producers going so easy on them this year?
Fantasia is probably going to win. They’ve done everything in their power to see to it that it happens. In some small way, I hope she does, if only to appease the people waiting to overturn cars and light the cities on fire if she were to lose. After the crap we went through the week Jennifer Hudson lost, I’m sure it could happen.
But you know what? After the horrible treatment Diana received this week, I want the sympathy votes to kick in BIG TIME. I want to see other people like me jamming the phone lines. I want to see the reaction against Simon Cowell coming back to bite him in the arse. I want the producers to be “stuck” with Diana.
I got ten votes in for Diana last night, myself. I almost tried calling Fantasia’s numbers, just out of journalistic curiosity to see if her lines were jammed. I didn’t, because I couldn’t bring myself to reward the AI producers for last night’s sham with even a single vote.
In the end, it doesn’t really matter. The person who was clearly head and shoulders above the rest in this competition, LaToya London, was voted out a couple of weeks ago. Everything since then has been anti-climactic. Fantasia’s going to get a recording contract, no matter what. Diana is a little iffier, but give her a year to polish up her voice and work on the trouble spots and she’ll be just fine. The thing is, I think Diana can be saved. I don’t think I’ll ever enjoy Fantasia’s warbling, riffing, and running up every note she can find. Call it a stylistic difference, much in the same way that I didn’t get Ruben last year.
The results show tonight should be fun, if only because we’ll probably get to hear LaToya sing again. And maybe Clay. Perhaps Kelly. Ah, the good ol’ times…