ABOUT: American Idol, subtitled The Search for a Superstar for the first season, is a reality television singing competition created by Simon Fuller and produced by 19 Entertainment, and distributed by FremantleMedia North America. It began airing on Fox on June 11, 2002, as an addition to the Idol franchise based on the UK show Pop Idol, and has since become one of the most successful shows in the history of American television. It was the most watched TV series from 2005 to 2011 in the Nielsen ratings, and it is the only program to have been number one for seven consecutive seasons.
I was going to boycott this show because of the Adam Lambert fiasco – he lost to a much less talented perso
I continued to watch every season. Yup.
Captain’s Log – maybe not
Auditions: This year (Season 12) the judges are; Grammy Award winner, veteran Randy ‘Dog’Jackson, New Zealand-born Australian country music singer or Mr. Kidman - Keith Urban, Trinidadian-born American rapper - Nicki Minaj and American singer and Diva - Mariah Carey – it doesn’t matter what she says, her approval is God-Like [even though she is far from my style].
Nicki Minaj was a big problem for me initially, and I found myself wishing they’d bring back last year’s judges, JLo and Steve Tyler. However, Nicki Minaj champions those who are different, outsiders, odd-ones, ‘mutant’ (X-Men) and while she is obnoxious, irritating and too opinionated she is an important departure for American Idol.
I like that Simon Cowell is out of the mix. The comments feel more hopeful, constructive, and inspiring really. While his cranky attitude was fun to watch…he was too harsh on the contestants.
The initial auditions are a mixture of the ludicrous and the brilliant singers.
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
For those of you that don’t know, the goal of these auditions is to get a gold ticket to Hollywood and to endure yet another round of auditions. I get exhausted just watching them – pass the beer and nachos please.
Hollywood Week: This year the contestants are separated: one-week boys and one-week girls. Further, there is a group audition and contestants usually pick their group. This year the producers chose for them. Initially, this caused distress as most of the contestants already chose their groups but eventually it seemed to work out.
The contestants are so hopeful, but most of them will be cut. I remember this one guy from last year that came back. He was talented and gorgeous but his attitude sucked – he has not changed much. I am so tempted to say that he’ll probably win because with few exceptions, I’m usually disappointed (not last year though) – we’ll see.
The second week was the girls. Um, wow.
So we have the top 20 boys and the top 20 girls. Now they’re all off to Vegas for more auditions. Too many auditions.
Vegas: I lied. Not really, they changed things this year. It’s like watching the final show but with more cuts. The term they use is “sudden death.” During the show there are 2 cuts per week. Here, 20 sing and 10 are cut per week. There are 2 weeks of this and if I do the math correctly [I’m the worst at math] the top 20 should remain. They form the American Idol contestants.
A girl named Amber sang and I got goose bumps. I never get goose bumps. Ever. Anyhow, she made it into the top 20. There are so many female talents this year – how will anyone go home?
The boys are not so good this year. My least favorite was cut – thank goodness. Watching the show will not be torture now. Curtis or Vincent is the best male performer – hands down.
FLAW – The arbitrary division of contestants into male and female. A few males stayed who were much worse than some females that went home. Suckage.
The Show – Brutal Cuts. First Week (No: I don’t have a life.): One night 10 females sing, 5 will go home. The next night 10 males sing, 5 will go home. On the third night we find out who is in the top 10. My top 2 females are Amber and Kree. My top 2 males are Curtis and Vincent. Fingers and toes crossed. I hate this show. I love this show.
So my top 2 females made it into the top 10. Curtis made it but Vincent didn’t. Vincent is probably the best. Oh, well. Not to be bitter, but I’m used to this by now.
Second Week: One night all top 10 sing and the next night are cuts. Angela reigns on the singing night – she is Whitney-esque. There is a theme every week. This week’s theme is past Idol contestant songs.
Watching the show for 2 nights instead of 3 feels less pathetic even though I rationalize it as pop culture work. I could be at a bar like normal people.
Results: Well, that was dramatic! The judges have 1 ‘save’ all season. That is, they can save 1 contestant from going home. They cannot predict who will be in jeopardy in the future, so they have to use it wisely. The person with the least votes, who might leave, sings for his/her life with the hope that the ‘save’ will be used on them. The bottom 2 were presented. Curtis was one of them and Niki Minaj said if he goes home so will she.
The bottom, the one who would go home if they were not saved was revealed. It was Curtis! Shock. He sang for his life, and was not saved. He left the competition. To be frank, the females are so much better that I really didn’t care. I also have a sneaking suspicion that Niki Minaj will stay put.
Third Week: Theme – Beatles Songs. Lazaro who looks like Ricky Ricardo and has a major speech impediment but sings flawlessly, is the worst. He cries upon hearing the judges comments.
Results: Paul Jolley is sent home. He has the best skin ever. I usually really want touch his cheeks. This is a singing competition...singing.
Fourth Week: Theme – Songs and Artists from Detroit [think Motown, Madonna etc.]
Results: Devin Velez went home. He was good and should have stayed. Lazaro should have left but this is not only a singing competition and Lazaro seems to tug at American votes. [I was going to say ‘hearts’ but that made me sick].
[top to bottom, left to right] Lazaro, Angie, Candise, Kree, Burnell, Amber, Janelle Angie, Clarise, Kree, Burnell, Amber, Janelle
Fifth Week: Theme – Rock. Lazaro sang a Queen song. Suckage! Apart from thinking of Freddie Mercury here, I think of Adam Lambert: In my article People seem to abhor ‘difference’ about Idol - Season 8 -
I say, "I can't be the only one who thought, when Adam and Kris sang with Queen guy, that Adam was much better suited to the style. If asked, I believe he should fill in the void left by Freddie Mercury. Honestly."
Results: Burnell Taylor went home which was actually quite sad. He is an unbelievable singer and many of the judges and contestants cried. I felt their pain. I am just going to say that yes, it is absolutely important to show a disabled person like Lazaro on a popular reality television show but his singing voice does not match the brilliance of the others. That is why I was so angry when Kris Allen beat Adam Lambert.
Sixth Week: [Can you say ‘marathon?’] The finalists took on songs by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, as well as a song they wish they wrote. Amber is my favorite contestant but I highly doubt she’ll win. If Kree wins I’ll be glad. Kree has great ‘real’ energy and a fabulous voice. She is mostly a ‘country singer’, which isn’t my thing, however, mega talent is present. If Angie wins, the mainstream triumphs – again. She has a great voice and is pretty but generic in my view [She looks like Miley Cyrus, whom I can’t stand so I might be biased here]. If Lazaro wins…
Results: The bottom 2 contestants were Lazaro [the worst] and Amber [the best]. I was tense because I know how this usually goes down. Thankfully, Lazaro Arbos left.
Seventh Week: The 5 remaining women did one song from the year they were born and 1 song by a diva. Kree was the best but Amber’s final song by Barbra Streisand was phenomenal.
Top 5 [left to right]: Angie, Candice, Janelle, Amber, Kree
Results: Janelle Arthur left – I thought she should. Kree was in the bottom 2 – yup.
Eighth Week: The contestants picked one song of their choice and a ‘one hit wonder.’ I think Amber was the best. She chose a Celine Dion song [Don’t like Celine but the song showed off Amber’s range] and McArthur Park, picked up by Donna Summers.
[left to right] Amber, Candice, Kree, Angie.
Results: Amber and Candice were in the bottom 2 but neither left because the show had added an extra week thinking that the judges would use the ‘save.’ Confusing but phew.
Ninth Week Results: My favorite, Amber Holcomb, left. I expected that she would go – my favorite usually does – but I was still disappointed.
[left to right] Angie, Candice, Kree
Tenth Week: The last show before the finale and America will vote upon who is in it. The remaining 3 contestants sang 3 songs each: 1 chosen by Jimmy Iovine [show mentor], 1 chosen by the judges, 1 chosen by the Idol production team [I guess the producers?]. Candice clearly won the night but you never know with the votes.
Results: Candice and Kree are in the finale. Yay!!!!!! Angie left, which was very surprising to many. I was more relieved than I thought I’d be. Angie seemed to me to be very manufactured and commercial - qualities that I figured the American public would like. I am so glad to be mistaken here. Kree and Candice are nice, real and physically large. If either wins I’ll be fine with it.
Candice and Kree
Finale: I decided that weeks of watching this TV show deserved champagne, so I opened the small extra bottle I had at the back of my fridge. I had it since the Oscars.
The 2 finalists, Kree Harrison and Candice Glover, sang 3 songs each. 1. Chosen by series creator Simon Fuller 2. The song they would release if they won 3. Their favorite song from the season. Candice’s favorite song was spectacular – ‘I Who Have Nothing” by Tom Jones.
Results: The American Idol is…Candice Glover.
We found out that judge Randy Jackson was leaving. This marks the end of an era – he was the last original judge left.
Funny, Nicki Minaj turned out to be the best judge this year. Her ‘in your face’ comments were usually entertaining, quite professional and right on the mark. She was followed in the ‘best judge’ category by Randy Jackson who knows the ropes, then Keith Urban who seemed to know quite a bit and far behind the rest was Mariah Carey who kept citing a Twitter hash tag.
Even though the talent this year was phenomenal, the show felt lackluster. Now I despise showy, Vegas-y programs so I’m not suggesting that, but in previous years big stars mentored the wannabes. This year they had only one.
Next year, I might skip this show. Sure.