Guyliner vs. the every guy: This is American Idol

So, it’s Wednesday and you’re probably expecting the “American Idol” play-by-play to which you’re accustomed to on this site.

Well, you ain’t gonna get it today!

The Momma was in town and I was eating dinner with her during AI. We did watch it on DVR later, but my mom doesn’t really watch AI and didn’t know what all was happening. Her expression upon seeing Adam for the first time and hearing him perform was pretty funny, though. She did NOT like Adam. During one of the performances, my mom looked aghast at him, then turned to me and said, “I like the other guy better.”

So, boys and girls, let’s discuss.

Round 1: singing a repeat song.
The guys had to pick a song they’d performed earlier in the season and do it again. Adam did “Mad World,” which was a pretty good move, since I think that was probably his best performance on AI. He was good, but I found myself agreeing with Simon that it was too theatrical. I know many people who insist that you need theatrical to be a good performer/artist, and I get that. But Adam overwhelms me. And I think I finally put my finger on what bothers me most about him: I feel like he’s just putting on a persona. It’s like Adam is playing this never-ending game of dress-up where he becomes different characters with different looks and fits different molds people are setting out for him. Adam can sing, don’t get me wrong! Adam can perform. But Adam is over-the-top and screamy and I sometimes wonder when he sings if there is any bit of authenticity or just a smidgen of the “real” Adam in that performance. Because I love a lot of singers. A LOT. But I love them because something in their music calls out to me. Something in the things they sing speak to my heart and tell me that they are a fellow wanderer in this life, that they know and understand what it’s like to try to make sense of the world. I don’t get that with Adam. He’s just too shiny, polished, over-the-top, Broadway, putting on a persona for me. There I said it. You don’t have to agree with me. And I don’t want to fight about it because really, in the big scheme of things, I highly doubt AI has eternal value.

Kris sang “Ain’t No Sunshine.” Ah, yes. Good choice. I really think he is influenced by Nashvillian Will Hoge (and rightly so!) and I loved this performance. I will say that Kris leans more toward the kind of music I love and actually listen to, and that may color my opinion on his performance. But it really was superb, better than the first time around and I do agree with Simon that he won the first round.

Round 2: Simon Fuller should be shot.
In the second round, show creator Simon Fuller chose the songs. And he really chose some crappy songs. Adam did “A Change Is Gonna Come” and Kris had to sing “What’s Goin On.” OK, I of all people, love, adore, and enjoy “classic” songs. But this is the finale of American Idol! Let’s pick songs from this time period! Songs that are relevant and current and challenging. I think both guys stumbled in this round and did the best they could with the songs that had been chosen for them. For me, both were pretty forgettable. But I do give Adam the edge in this round.

Round 3: Kara cowrites the Idol single and it pretty much sucks.
During the final round, Adam and Kris had to sing the song that would be released as the first single for the American Idol. And Judge Kara has cowritten the beauty called “No Boundaries.” (Mind you, I use the word “beauty” loosely.) Seriously, this song is a mess and it’s rather bleh for me. I agree with my friend Mindy that had Danny Gokey made the finals, the song would have been tailor-made for him. But Adam and Kris had to suffer through the bland, overly sentimentalness and try to make something redeeming of the song since one of the writers was sitting in front of them and offer her critique on their performances. Adam’s pants during this section even attracted my mom’s attention (“He’s wearing gold pants now!”) and while I know my mom isn’t really the AI demographic, I don’t think outright laughing at a performer is a good sign.  . . My mom also thought it was hilarious how much bigger Adam was than Ryan and how tiny he looked next to the lumbering Adam.

Kris didn’t fare much better on the dismal song. It was just OK. Not spectacular and at some points, too high. I would like to say he did a better job than Adam, but I don’t think that would be true. Kris’ style tends more toward the music I like, so his quieter, less screamy approach is refreshing to me. Adam grates on my nerves and I really am tired of the screaming and tongue-sticking-out antics. All that said, I still think Adam performed the song better.

So who’s going to win? I have no idea. I think Adam, because everyone in America except me seems enamored with him. It’s not that I hate Adam; I don’t. I think the guy is EXTREMELY talented and am amazed by his vocal control and showmanship. I just wouldn’t buy his album. And I don’t know that he’s relevant, but then I’ve never seen what he would do if he were writing his own songs or what kinds of songs he would select from songwriters. He may produce an amazing rock album. He may produce one that sounds like 1980s hair bands, and while I love to sing along to those songs in the car, I’m probably not going to buy an album of them in this day and age. Kris is more my style, but I think his performances would be better in smaller, more intimate settings. But I didn’t vote last night, because really, this year (unlike last year) I don’t really feel like I have a dog in the fight. I just wish them both the best!

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2 thoughts on “Guyliner vs. the every guy: This is American Idol”

  1. I kept thinking both times we heard the AI song that Carrie Underword would have knocked it out of the park. I think a big problem was the lack of connection with the song and lyrics – these guys just aren’t going to sing these songs witht the deep meanings that are so lyric-heavy. I do agree that Goke probably could’ve pulled off though.

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