TV Round-Up (American Idol, The Office, ANTM): Holy Crap, It’s Happened!!!

AMERICAN IDOL:

One of the truisms of life is that the more expectations you have, the more you’re likely to be disappointed. I definitely take that to heart. For example, I always feel a surge of relief whenever I buy something (like my recently acquired mp3 player), and the thing actually turns on. Everything else is just gravy!

So when I found out that the two final American Idol survivors were Adam and Kris–just the way I wanted–well, it was almost too much for me to handle. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go back, shall we?

It was definitely an interesting night of performances. Danny got the ball rolling with an obscure Terence Trent D’Arby song (I liked “Sign My Name” like a lot of people, but I’m not sure Terence is quite “iconic” like Paula declared). To my surprise, I actually kinda dug it. It was in the perfect range for Danny; the song didn’t have any soft parts (Danny’s major weakness) nor parts that would get him to start screaming (Danny’s most annoying habit). He just rocked out and kept up the beat without overdoing it. He even pulled off the tricky “doo-doo-doo”s in the middle, which was impressive. And though the judges called him out a little, I didn’t mind his “dancing,” since I don’t think his moves could actually be considered dancing. Besides, the lyrics were a call to dance, so it’s not like he could just stand still while singing it.

KrisKris followed with a heartfelt rendition of “Apologize,” and he sang the song cleanly and sweetly. He stayed pretty true to the original musically, but I think he really put his heart into the vocals, and it worked. The judges may not have liked it (and I, for one, did not hear the bum note that Paula referred to), but I definitely did.

Then came Adam with U2’s “One,” one of Simon Cowell’s (and my) favorite songs. He started off pretty well with the verses, but then came the chorus, and Adam started his shrieking thing again, and I’m sorry, but for me, the performance just fell apart at that point. “One” is not the right song to scream and shriek out. It’s so ironic that Adam later referred to the song’s amazing lyrics, when he was so busy screaming that people could barely take the words in. Adam’s got so much gusto and so much range, but his major weakness is to know when to (and when not o) use them to his advantage.

In the second round, Danny sang “You’re So Beautiful,” and he followed the same formula that he’s used much of the season: start off all soft and sensitive, then build up to the screaming climax. Again, it didn’t work. The beginning sounded just plain weak as opposed to vulnerable, and the ending was just plain too much. The guy’s got a really powerful voice, no doubt, but he just lacks versatility.

Kris followed with “Heartless,” and it was simply a revelation. He GAVE that song a melody, and he rocked it out in true, toe-tappin’ style. It was awesome, awesome, and awesome. Even the judges, who have been SO pulling for a Danny-Adam showdown, had to give it to him.

AdamThen Adam gave the final performance with “Crying,” and he rebounded to greatness. Aerosmith IS the right music for screaming and shrieking, and Adam and the song fit each other like a glove. It was, though very different in style to Kris’s “Heartless,” just as kick-ass.

So the “three amigos” (as Ryan dubbed them) all had their moments, but looking at their performances throughout the season, Adam and Kris have, in my opinion, clearly proven themselves as the most talented two. And, much to my wonder and delight, America agreed.

Danny handled himself well, and I must say, I did feel guilty over having criticized him pretty severely at times. That being said, America was most definitely right. And so next week is the finale, and I can’t believe how much I’m looking forward to the Adam-Kris showdown. Personally, as much as I’m a fan of Kris, I’d actually vote for Adam. That’s for several different reasons. One is that Adam has given the greatest performances of the season out of any performer (the much-acclaimed “Mad World” and “If I Can’t Have You,” which I liked even better). Another is that the mantle of being THE American Idol may prove to be stifling to Kris with his humble demeanor and less flashy musical style. In contrast, Adam has made no bones about seeking the limelight and wanting to be a STAR. So I actually hope Adam wins the war, while they both win the battle by both having great musical careers. They certainly deserve to do so, no doubt about that.

AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL:

Teyona won. There’s not much to say. It was pretty obvious that she was Tyra’s designated pick, especially she escaped from her Cover Girl commercial breakdown (it was actually quite disturbing to watch) at the expense of Aminat who actually delivered the BEST commercial as well as her first-ever great picture (Tyra had to pull out the “your film wasn’t good” card to justify her dismissal).

Still, Teyona deserved to win, with a number of good photos. As a winner, she’s certainly no embarrassment (i.e. Saleisha) but neither is she up there with the best (i.e. Danielle, now Dani). She’s pretty much middle-of-the-road, which can also be said of this cycle of ANTM. Still, it was good to see the quirky, jittery Allison make her way to the final. Despite some bizarre comments in the past (the whole “nosebleed” fixation and the “You’re pretty!” moment with Tyra), she handled her loss better than any runner-up in ANTM history as far as I recall (I think she’s the first one who didn’t cry).

My favorite moment: Tyra topped herself with the whole covered-with-mud-writhing-on-the-runway final walk. Teyona’s weave coming off and seeing her brandishing it as a whip was just icing on the cake.

2nd favorite moment: Paulina (who’s apparently no longer on the show) describing Allison as the “little, stiff, weirdo robot.”

THE OFFICE:

Well, the writers decided to go for bittersweet romance as opposed to barrel-of-laughs for the season finale, which was rather a letdown. Still, it was good to see Holly again, as Michael and her interactions were ten times funnier than the ones Pam and Jim have been having for a while now (the whole “oh-wow-I’m-pregnant” scene was too by-the-numbers). I actually thought Jan might make an appearance at some point, and her absence was another disappointment.

For me, the only real laughs from the episode came from the too-long-absent Stanley. I don’t know what he was on, but his uncharacteristically giddy state of mind (“I’m not usually into the theater, but that was just delightful!”) was contagious. Stanley, you rock! Just like Adam and Kris.

2nd Favorite Moment: Dwight’s friend’s math lesson to Angela: “One fiance and one lover equal one whore.”

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