Thursday, May 25, 2006

Idol Wrap Up

Last night, I watched two hours of filler with dubious entertainment value, including a "surprise" appearance by Clay Aiken that a blind man could have seen coming from due to its obvious and awkward set-up, to get to the formal announcement of what was pretty much a foregone conclusion by that point; that Taylor Hicks had defeated Katherine McPheeble to win the fifth season of American Idol.
Even though when he first showed up during the Vegas auditions no one could have imagined that he'd make it into the top twenty-four, let alone the top twelve or, perish the thought, all the way to the finale, Taylor's victory was pretty much assured weeks ago when Paris and Chris, the only remaining contestants who could have offered him any real competition, got sent packing. With Chris gone, Taylor found himself up against two singers, Elliot and Kat, whose performance varied widely in quality from song to song, often within the same episode. Hicks, on the other hand, while not the best singer in the game this season, consistently gave his best each and every time.
I'd never watched Idol before this season, but I would willing to bet that Taylor's improbable rise has to be the unlikeliest Cinderella story in the show's history. How, you have to have asked yourself at some point, did this happen? How did Taylor Hicks manage to outlast seasoned performers and better singers and win American Idol? The answer lies in the fact that even though Idol is, as Simon Cowell constantly reminded us throughout the season, a singing competition, the people who decide the outcome are not, for the most part, music industry professionals. (The country, not to mention the recording industry, would be in real trouble if there really were 63 million record company executives out there)
Simon said at one point that Taylor really was a good singer despite his "balminess," totally missing the fact that it was that very quality that had taken Hicks that far and would propel him to victory. More than his vocal talent, it was his boyish Southern charm and his spastic dance moves that endeared him to the viewers and, more importantly, the voters. Cowell also once compared him to someone's drunken uncle at a wedding, a type we all know and, despite himself, love, and want to succeed. We voted for Taylor because we liked him and wanted him to win.
As for the finale episode itself, it was, as I hinted above, about an hour and fifty minutes too long. The awards parody was lame and unfunny. Besides, Idol. itself may not have won any awards, but first season winner Kelly Clarkson picked up a Grammy or two this year and just Tuesday night season 4 winner Karrie (am I spelling that right--I ahve no idea) Underwood took two Academy of Country Music Awards. That should be validation enough, I'd think. It was nice to see some of the previously eliminated contestants again, though I hope that after last night I never have to see that little twerp Kevin Covais again. I do wish, however, that they'd let Mandisa have a solo number. She deserved it. She was the best female vocalist in the top twelve and her departure took a little bit of the luster off the proceedings.
So, now that Idol is over for this year, and with my season ending wrap-up put to bed, I can move on and begin looking forward to Big Brother 7.

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