I’m living overseas, so it’s not easy for me to catch most American TV programming. That’s where torrents come in. Thanks to them, I’ve been able to schedule my own can’t-miss-TV block for my Viliv video player: The Office, America’s Next Top Model, The Simpsons, Arrested Development reruns, and last but not least, American Idol.
I had seen Idol episodes here and there over the years, but this has been the first season that I’ve made a point of watching all the episodes (confession time: Tatiana del Toro got me hooked). Last week, Megan Joy waved goodbye, both smiling and crying, and I was sad to see her go. I had actually liked Megan’s rendition of Turn the Lights Down Low. The song, which I hadn’t heard before, was perfectly pleasant, and her performance succeeded in putting a smile on my face. There’s something about her voice, a hiccup-y quality, that I find quite addictive. I agreed with the judges that she was seriously off the week before that, but I thought last week was a nice return to form for Megan.
Not long after the judges ripped Megan a new one, they pretty much fell on their knees in praise of Danny Gokey and Adam Lambert. I’d been impressed with Danny’s performances before, but my single thought during his rendition of Whatever Hurts the Most was, ‘He’s pissin’ all over a great song.’ I can see how the circumstances were seriously moving, a nice (though seemingly smug) guy singing about loss shortly after the death of his wife. But that doesn’t change the fact that his performance was scream, Scream, and SCREAM, with no subtlety whatsoever. As for Adam, I remain a fan, but a lot of his falsetto riffs came off like unnecessary shrieking (the ending was good, though). Oh, and I almost forgot (with good reason) about Scott McIntyre. The judges continued with both their love and condescension (thanks, Paula) towards Scott, but I kept wondering why anyone would want to hear him sing Just the Way You Are instead of just playing Billy J’s original. Also, Scott has the habit of opening his mouth way too wide for certain notes, like “I love you just the way you AHHHHHHHHHHH.”
And then there was Matt Giraud. While the judges have been mostly mooning over him, I had found him mostly boring up until this week. I thought he did a great job with You Found Me, and I really dug the “gravel” he put into his voice. So when the judges were uniformly unhappy and one of them even compared it to his embarrassing Viva La Vida trainwreck, it was an absolute Huh??? moment for me.
However, there was one contestant that the judges and I finally found agreement with: Kris Allen. He was and continues to be awesome; the judges knew it; I knew it; and America should know it, as far as I’m concerned. Okay, he is obviously 1+1=? on the eyes (the sexy look does work, Kris, don’t worry), but even from a purely musical standpoint, he’s my pick to win. He may not have the bombast of Danny or the Goth-eatrical charms of Adam, but what Kris does have is an earnest, relatable everyman quality, along with a sweet, versatile voice that can handle both acoustic rock and croon-y ballads. Not only that, he can play both the piano and the guitar. Oh, and did I mention he’s A-B-C on the eyes? With a solid set of songs, I can see him stand alongside Jason Mraz and John Mayer as the princes of white-boy rock. Based on his performances on Idol thus far (my favorite being Remember the Time), he would deserve nothing less.