Posts Tagged David Cook

What’s Wrong With ‘American Idol’? Maybe Its Viewers

Casey Abrams, American Idol, Smells Like Teen Spirit

Casey Abrams avoided an early exit when Idol judges saved him.

Ryan Seacrest hinted during the American Idol results show last night that there was a shocker on the way. And he was right. Haley Reinhart didn’t get sent home — wasn’t even in the Bottom Three. Shocking!

Who almost got sent home was Casey Abrams, the scruffy-breaded, sometimes wild-eyed growler. I’m not saying Casey could win, or should win. But an exit this early? Hardly just.

And the judges agreed, using their lone “save” to keep Casey in the competition.

Some of the water cooler talk surrounding Idol the last few seasons has been this basic question: “What’s wrong with American Idol?” I say, maybe it’s the people watching the show.

American Idol has developed a huge credibility problem over the last five seasons. An Idol winner hasn’t become a bonafide superstar since Carrie Underwood (Season 4). My theory goes like this. As the show got higher and higher ratings, voting by viewers became less instinctive at picking the next music superstar.

Taylor Hicks, American Idol, Season 5

Taylor Hicks

In other words, right about the time your grandma starting watching the show, we started getting winners like Taylor Hicks instead of Chris Daughtry. Oh, and I’m not blaming your grandma. ‘Cuz she’s awesome!

I’m blaming viewers? I’m a really saying this? Yep.

Have voters become extremely predictable, especially favoring guys over girls? I wrote about that last season Read it here — how around Top 12 Week we often see all-girl Bottom Threes. And right on schedule,  it happened again this year. Guys tend to find “supporters” quicker. And it’s clear that favoritism continues through the season.

Four out of the last five winners have been guys (Taylor Hicks, David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze). Interestingly, the lone female Idol winner of the last five years, Jordin Sparks, has sold the most albums of those five winners.

So there ya go. It’s the voting. It’s clear viewers of this show prefer the Kris Allens over the Adam Lamberts. I think that explains why Casey Abrams nearly departed before his time.

Most of all, I miss the days when an Idol winner was someone who could be a superstar. When it come to winners, gimme more Kelly Clarksons. More Carries. Fewer Lee DeWyzes.

Greg Valentine
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Idol Thoughts — 04.21.10

When America gets it right and I get it wrong…well, it’s hard to be upset about that. The man they call “Teflon Tim,” Tim Urban, was eliminated during last night’s Idol Gives Back charity event.

My own rankings had Tim at the bottom almost every week on American Idol this season–including this week. Even so, I felt his Teflon-mojo would slide him through another week.

Why Tim got the ax last night, during a stretch where’s he’s been improving, instead of weeks ago when his performances were especially weak, will have to go down as one of those Idol “Unsolved Mysteries.”

The other big story last night was the appearance of Casey James in the Bottom Two. I wrote about this yesterday, saying Casey would take a big hit with Idol voters. I happen to dig the blues-rock that Casey’s been churning out week after week. He’s consistently good, and his performances generally go on my iPod the next morning.

But in the Idol-verse, here’s the problem. Casey’s song choices look lazy and repetitive–like he’s not progressing. Never mind that what that what he’s doing he’s doing very well. Viewers (and the judges, from the feedback they’re giving) want to see other “layers.” The solution: do some more ballads, like his recent heartfelt “Jealous Guy,” or take a page from the David Cook playbook and surprise us by re-inventing a well-known song. Casey’s needs to show some other sides. Or else the opportunity to be in the Top 5, which I feel he deserves, will slip through his guitar-virtuoso fingers.

Other than that, a tip of the hat for bringing back Idol Gives Back. With the show being a cultural phenomenon, American Idol is in a unique position to really raise awareness (and money) on the issues of children in poverty, world hunger and malaria. It’s the kinda thing only Idol could pull off on this scale. And it’s cool that they choose to do it.

That said, might I suggest that the time to alert viewers that the broadcast will run over-time would be the night before, not an hour into the night of. Grrrr. That’s two nights this week I’ve had to go hunting on the web for the material my DVR didn’t record because Idol went too long.

Or maybe that’s their revenge on us for skipping through the commercials. Hmmm. Topic for a future blog, perhaps.

Greg Valentine
check me out on Twitter: http://twitter.com/gregvalentine

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Idol Thoughts — 03.17.10

It’s still early in  the game for American Idol‘s Top 12. Some viewers have picked their favorite; but many have not.

I have a theory that at this stage, the boys have an easier ride. The boys seem to build a following quicker. Maybe picking up support from female viewers? And not just viewers–but the “active” viewers, the ones most likely to vote.

So it seems to me on Top 12 results night, a female that’s not a front-runner has a “X” on her back. That’s why I predicted Lacey Brown would be sent home last night–even though I felt strongly that Tim Urban was awful this week.

Anyway, it’s just a theory. A guide I use when I watch the show. Unfortunately, it proved true for Lacey. And for Paige Miles, who ended up in the Bottom Two. And for that matter, proved true for Tim Urban, who landed in the Bottom Three–but was quickly sent to safety. Tim has a coalition of voters behind him. For now. He better get better. Or viewer patience won’t be on his side.

Last night’s results show was a winner, largely due to a hot lineup of music guests.

Idol producers dropped the “group sing” with the finalists, and brought on Season 7 winner David Cook, whose performance of the Rolling Stones‘ “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” seemed almost like an “apology” for the non-rockingness of the previous night. Now, that’s how you do some Stones!

Later, Orianthi sang her song “According To You” and showed off her blistering guitar skills. We didn’t learn to much during the quickie interview with Ryan Seacrest. Instead of just acknowledging that she was set to go on tour with Michael Jackson, I wish Ryan would’ve asked what it was like rehearsing with Michael and get Orianthi to elaborate on some of the incredible footage we saw in the documentary, This Is It.

And, the hot mess that is Ke$ha performed her latest single, “Blah Blah Blah,” with the guys from 3OH!3. Solid track–but no “Tic Tok.” There’s not a lot of singing goin’ on with this chick. Just those electro-vocals. But I say you gotta love her “doesn’t give a f*** about anything” attitude. I’m on board. Even if it means having to always hit the shift key in the middle of her name.

Finally, the Judges’ Save is back this season. One time, and one time only, between now and the Top 5, the judges have the option of saving someone who’s been voted off. (“Hey thanks for voting, America. Now, we’re just gonna do what we want.”)

This early in the game, the odds were about nil the judges would use the save. Nevertheless, we got to see the judges huddle and talk to each other while Lacey “sang for the save.” What were they saying? As Randy Jackson leaned into Simon Cowell, I’m guessing he was saying, “Yo, Dawg, where we goin’ to dinner?” Kara DioGuardi whispered into Ellen DeGeneres‘ ear: “We have to look like we’re really talking about this even though we know we’re not. Now you say something back to me.”

You got any thoughts today? Let me hear ’em!

Greg Valentine
check me out on Twitter: http://twitter.com/gregvalentine

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