Funny Business with Jane Wells

American Idol's Sour Notes

David Cook

Can you imagine if Syesha is not sent home tonight? Don't care anymore? Fox is losing viewers from its reality TV category killer, but the show is still #1. That's enough to keep Ford ponying up money to force contestants to make those dorky music videos.

Between those and the song medleys, I wonder how often the producers tell contestants, "Look, take your medicine. Do this and act like you like it or, believe me, we will choose horrible songs for you." Given the producers' song choices last night, they've apparently made good on that threat.

Few bloggers cover "Idol" as well as Kathleen Salvaty. Here's part of her post on last night's show:

Tonight's episode troubled me. The contestants sing three songs--two of which are chosen by the judges and producers. Then they get criticized for song choice and being predictable? The whole thing seemed rigged to result in a David v. David finale. I guess that's how it should be, but I wish we could have come to that conclusion ourselves.

David A: As if we didn't have enough pity for David A., we see the mayor of his hometown. I fear we'll see more of him tomorrow. David A. learned that "Paula" selected an obscure Billy Joel song for David A. to sing. (I'm sure she spent hours with her headphones rummaging through her vast collection of piano pop music.) He did OK. As for his second song, I think David's foray into contemporary R&B generated some real doubts as to whether he can sell records. (His complete nailing of the Dan Fogelberg song didn't exactly dispel those doubts.) Granted, Hannah Montana and High School Musical sell millions of records, but can David A. fit that bill since he's (a) not gonna be on Disney (or the Disney Channel) and (b) not a fictional character? I'm not sure. David A's performances were not a complete loss for me, though. I can now say I've heard a Chris Brown song (even if it was sung by an awkward white Mormon kid from Utah).

Syesha: Syesha was so excited when she learned Randy had chosen Alicia Keyes for her. She said, "I already know what I'm gonna do." I assumed that meant she had some funky acoustic version in mind. But instead she had a derivative karaoke version in mind. (And, no, Randy, I didn't notice how Syesha subtly changed a lot of the notes.) Whatever we can say about song #1, Syesha has no one but herself to blame for song #2. The song choice?! The much-discussed but little-used chair?! The insistence on having "FUN"?! Perhaps Syesha decided she has no chance of making it into the finals and figured that this was her audition for the role of Roxy in the road company of "Chicago." As for song #3, dare I say I actually felt for her on this one? She didn't choose the song, yet got criticized for song choice. I can't shed too many tears because she is loathsome. But tonight did seem orchestrated to get rid of Syesha. I think she could have done a fine job of that on her own, and probably didn't need the producers' help.

David C. My view of whether someone is Idol worthy is whether they can deliver on Simon's choice of song (or, in prior years, Clive's choice of song) on Final 3 night. Last year, Jordin blew it with "Wishing on a Star" (and her pissy 'this is an old person's song' retort to Simon only made it worse). This year, David C. proved he's worthy of the Idol Mantle. That Roberta Flack song always grated on me...until tonight. David C. took a challenge and ran with it. His second song was OK. As for his third song, I thought I never wanted to hear that song again, but David C's version was really pretty good. (By the way, how can Simon dismiss Dan Fogelberg as "gooey" but think that this Diane Warren song and Robbie Williams' "Angel" are two of the best pop songs ever?!)

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