Posts Tagged Kris Allen

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 — 05.18.10

Hallelujah! Someone finally answered Idol fans’ prayers for an “Oh, Wow!” moment, something that had been sorely missing this season.

That all changed last night on American Idol when Lee DeWyze took Leonard Cohen‘s song “Hallelujah” to the promised land. Lee’s epic performance solidified him as the front-runner going into next week’s finale.

Last night was crucial. I think the week before the finale is just as important as the finale (maybe more), and here’s why. When people watch next week, they want to know who they’re rooting for. So most people’s minds will already be made up. So last night was the last chance to really change some minds or win over new fans. Lee picked the best time of all to be peaking!

The Top 3 finalists performed two songs each last night: one they picked themselves; the other picked by one of the judges. I say each finalist did better on the song picked for them, which is telling. Even at this late stage, this year’s finalists still have some things to learn about how best to position themselves as artists.

Lee took a moment after his season-stealing performance to thank Simon Cowell for choosing “Hallelujah.” It seemed Lee may have had some initial reluctance about the song. Ironically, the thanks should be mutual. Simon owns the rights to the song. One U.K. news outlet even calls the song “Cowellelujah.” The song’s already put boatloads of cash in Simon’s bank account. Finalists on Simon’s U.K. show, The X Factor, have performed and recorded it. And Lee’s version will undoubtedly add to Simon’s “cha-ching.”

So “Hallelujah” for both of them: win-win.

It’s interesting. “Hallelujah” is one of those songs that has a larger-than-life reputation, but surprisingly little airplay on the radio in America. I’m not sure if I’ve even heard Leonard Cohen’s 1984 original of the song. There’s been notable cover versions by Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright and k.d. lang. Yet, for the most part, radio silence. Maybe, this is the moment for that to change. If I was running a radio station, you’d be hearing Lee DeWyze’s version today.

So here we go, last night’s performances ranked:

1) Lee DeWyze – “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen – Reviewing what I wrote above, it seems I’ve already said quite a lot about this. Let me add that Lee got a ton of help from the Idol crew. The arrangement, the choir, the strings and the horn-section, were all spot-on. With the buzz trending toward the negative about this season, I’m guessing it was just important for the show to have this moment as it was for Lee.

2) Crystal Bowersox – “Maybe I’m Amazed” by Paul McCartney – I was glad Ellen DeGeneres picked this for Crystal. I remember singling out this song after the Lennon-McCartney Songbook Night a few weeks ago as being a song that should’ve been performed. Crystal, performing without her guitar, used this opportunity to demonstrate her full range, hitting big notes, raspy notes, and soft and sweet notes. Bonus points for not changing the gender references in the song. For starters, the word “man” needs to hit a single beat for the best emphasis. If she’d sang “woman” instead, the extra syllable would’ve made a mess of things.

3) Casey James – “Daughters” by John MayerRandy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi chose this one. Give Kara some credit; if she were Simon, she would’ve picked a song she wrote herself and earned some extra royalties! Casey turned in a solid, nice’n’soft version that featured more piano than guitar. As a song choice for Top 3 Week, Randy and Kara were able to insure Casey focused on his sensitive side at this crucial moment. The downside was the song’s not designed for a big vocal moment. So instead, Casey had a big “quiet” moment.

4) Lee DeWyze – “Simple Man” by Lynyrd  Skynyrd – When I went to bed last night, I actually had this ranked above Casey’s version of “Daughters.” When I listened again this morning, I revised my rankings. But it’s a close one. Lee picked this one himself, and I think it was smart move. The idea that Lee himself is a “simple kinda man” doesn’t hurt his case with Idol voters, who I suspect approve of his no ego, nice guy persona, much in the way the audience responded to Kris Allen last season.

5) Crystal Bowersox – “Come To My Window” by Melissa Etheridge – So all through this song Crystal had one of those harmonica holder/harness things around her neck. She blew a few notes at the beginning. And a couple at the end. Seemed like a long way to go for the little use it got. Meanwhile, I’m guessing Idol cameramen were running around trying to find an angle to shoot Crystal’s whole face. Ultimately, Crystal might’ve had a more transcendent performance with this song if she’d gone even more acoustic with it (even used that harmonica more) instead of staying close to the original. Crystal sounded better on the quieter beginning of the song. By the chorus, Crystal was, as the judges pointed out, “fighting the arrangement.”

6) Casey James – “OK, It’s Alright With Me” by Eric Hutchinson – Song choice. Always so crucial. Especially on the week before the finals. I don’t see any benefit to picking this song. Strike that. No benefit to Casey. I’m sure Eric Hutchinson couldn’t be having a better day today! The judges said Casey was “playing it safe,” probably because this was similar to a lot of songs Casey’s done this season. I think “safe” is the wrong word. “Risky” is more like it. The week before the finals is not the best time to give the audience a song that manages to be both unfamiliar and more of the same. That said, no complaints on the vocal. I’m a fan.

Casey James goes home tonight. Lee DeWyze vs. Crystal Bowersox in next week’s Idol finale.

Those are my thoughts. Yours? Let me know!

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

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Idol Thoughts – 05.12.10

So, last night Michael Lynche was eliminated (again) on American Idol. Here’s a few thoughts this morning, to use Ryan Seacrest‘s careful wording from last night, “in no particular order.”

First off, those Seacrest words were kinda an important detail last night. If you missed them, you might’ve assumed Crystal Bowersox was in the Bottom Two. We really don’t know. The finalists were sent to safety (and the Top 3) one at a time, starting with Casey James, then Lee DeWyze, then Crystal Bowersox.

We don’t know who got the most votes. We don’t know who got the second least. All we know is Big Mike got the lowest amount. Some Idol fans might be frustrated by that. I’m not. In fact, I kinda like knowing that I don’t know. It adds an element of surprise to the two upcoming weeks.

This brings up another thought. Is a Lee-Crystal finale a done deal? They seem to have been the front-runners for a while now. Is there anything Casey can do next week to change that? I don’t know the answer to that. I’d be curious what others think.

I see two sides. On the one hand, yes, they’re the front-runners and it makes sense. Casey’s been in the Bottom Two a couple times. Lee and Crystal have never been. On the other hand, the last two seasons have had guy vs. guy finales, making it seem the block of females who simply vote for their favorite “cute guy” have taken over once and for all. (And c’mon, you know that block of voters exists. Don’t hate on me for pointing it out.)

And let’s not eliminate one other scenario. Casey delivers an amazing performance next week, and America responds with well-deserved votes, sending him into the finale. I honestly like all three. So whatever happens, I’ll be sad to see one leave, but happy for the other two.

Nevertheless (here comes another thought), I think I’m on board with the growing number of voices out there saying this is one of Idol‘s most boring seasons. No Paula Adbul. Simon Cowell seems like he’s already moved on mentally to his next show, the U.S. version of X Factor. And after a season featuring contestants with pipes and big-to-solid personalities (Adam Lambert, Kris Allen, Danny Gokey, Allison Iraheta), this season’s Top 12 are a bit dry.

But I think it’s too easy (and too “fashionable”) to say this is the most boring season. The fact is Crystal Bowersox is unlike any Idol contestant before, not unlike how Adam Lambert was in his way last year. In some previous seasons, the likes of Bo Bice and Diana DeGarmo made it into the finale. Heck, Taylor Hicks won the thing! I’d hope even the biggest Crystal hater would agree she’s more talented than the likes of them.

Another thought, what’s the real point of the “Judge’s Save?” Is it to give a performer another chance to win the show? I say no. I don’t think anyone who gets saved will ever win Idol. There’s some fundamental reason why people weren’t voting for that person that won’t go away just because the judge’s override America’s decision.

Clearly, the save is a ratings gimmick for the show, thought of in some brainstorming meeting as producers looked for ways to freshen the show as ratings began to dip. Whether it’s helping ratings remains to be seen. The one thing The Save does do is help a performers recording career. No doubt Michael Lynche will sell more music now then he would have if he’d gone home six weeks ago.

A couple other things we learned last night: winning American Idol doesn’t guarantee you’ll sound great my to ears six years later (Fantasia Barrino, who wowed me back-in-the-day, but not-so-much last night); Finishing fourth on Idol doesn’t mean you won’t go on to be the show’s third biggest-selling artist (Daughtry, my fave then…and now); And that Bon Jovi rocks. I guess that last one was never really in question.

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

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Idol Thoughts — 03.30.10

It was Soul and R&B night on American Idol. Yep, “timing” can be a cruel jokester; The season’s last remaining black female contestant was sent home last week. So it was up to “Big Mike” and a bunch of white folk to bring the Soul.

R&B singer Usher mentored this week, promising the contestants tough love. And he was in the audience last night to watch his students’ efforts. How’d they do? Here are the performances ranked:

1) Lee DeWyze – “Treat Her Like A Lady” by the Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose – When you add all the crucial elements up, Lee takes the top spot this week. And what are those crucial elements again? Vocals, performance, song choice, and what I call “The iPod Factor” (would I put this on my iPod?). Lee gave a strong rock vocal and is stepping up his game on the performance side of things. He makes better song choices than most of the others this season. And he did Soul last night his way–which is the artist test of all these theme weeks on Idol.

2) Crystal Bowersox – “Midnight Train To Georgia” by Gladys Knight & The Pips – Crystal promised a surprise this week, and made good by starting this song singing and playing the piano, then getting up and singing with just the mic, no guitar to hide behind. So how’d that work out for her? Pretty good. But not perfect. She’s far less confident, and proficient, on the piano. The attention required to actually play the right notes distracted from singing, and selling, the song. But Crystal made a good move mixing things up. Viewers want to see the contestants grow and stretch. Despite marking her down a tad on performance, this was the best pure vocal of the night.

3) Casey James – “Hold On I’m Coming” by Sam & Dave – This was the most joyful effort of the night. Great song choice for him. Both Ellen DeGeneres and Kara DioGuardi felt it was too similar to his recent song choices. But here’s the only thing that matters: Casey did this song much better than those others! This one I’ll put on my iPod. Casey’s best performance yet.

4) Michael Lynche – “Ready For Love” by India.Aire – A solid effort that worked its way higher on this list as other contestants last night dropped the ball. I was a little bored by the song and sit down performance. But “Big Mike” got the message of last week’s critique: less can be more. So he scaled back on the riffing, turned in a sweet soulful vocal, and did a much better job of connecting with the song and audience.

5) Andrew Garcia – “Forever” by Chris Brown – Okay. What a difference a week makes. The fact is this is what this guy does: intimate, acoustic new interpretations of songs. Andrew should have never gotten away from that. I’ve written honestly about how awkward he’s been without his guitar. But with it…it’s a night and day difference. Does that mean Andrew’s a one-trick pony? Personally, I think so. But it’s a nice trick.

6) Aaron Kelly – “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers – Not his best. Just OK. I wouldn’t have picked this song for him. For starters, Kris Allen did it (much more) memorably in last season’s finale. Still, one of my fave voices this season.

7) Katie Stevens – “Chain Of Fools” by Aretha Franklin – Katie ranked higher than Siobhan Magnus? Yep. And quite simply, being able to stay in key for the whole song is the reason. It’s a nice step forward for Katie, who up until now, hasn’t made it through an entire song without hitting a number of off notes. The performance suffered a little from her trying to mimic Aretha’s sass. Katie should watch for that–and make sure her on-stage persona is more organic to the 16-year old she is.

8 ) Siobhan Magnus – “Through The Fire” by Chaka Kahn – Because we like Siobhan, I wonder if many people today remember this one a little rosier than it really was. I listened to it again this morning and it was all kinds of wrong, starting with being a poor song choice for her. Her lower-register didn’t carry the parts of the song that needed it. Then she belted out some high notes that were painful (especially when you hear them again). At the moment, Siobhan’s trending down. She could use a home run next week to regain some mo’.

9) Tim Urban – “Sweet Love” by Anita Baker – Wow. There hasn’t been a soul-sapping, white bread R&B effort like this since…Pat Boone changed “Ain’t That A Shame” to “Isn’t That A Shame.” Yes, the “dot dot dot” back there was me Googling music history to come up with the Pat Boone reference. Like a Vegas lounge singer. Tim’s vocal tone was decent. But, yuck.

10) Didi Benami – “What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted” by Jimmy Ruffin – The 1966 original of this song is on my iPod. And I love it! A total classic. That may be partly why this was the performance last night I’d least like to ever hear again. Her voice and this song–not a good match. And yes, Simon Cowell‘s right. Didi’s lost her singer-songwriter vibe. She’s diving into these theme nights entirely wrong. She’s trying on the various musical styles–and losing her own style. This would have never happened to Lilly Scott. I’m just saying. For that matter, somewhere last night, I’m thinking Paige Miles was watching Tim and Didi struggle with Soul and R&B. And I’m thinking that had to a rough night for Paige.

Here’s what I’m feeling for the Bottom Three tonight: Katie Stevens, Tim Urban and Didi Benami. But as a wild card, Michael Lynche‘s unfamiliar song choice could land him in there. Katie will be sent to safety. And between Tim and Didi, Tim dodges yet another bullet, and Didi Benami goes home tonight.

We’ll see what happens. Your thoughts today? Let’s hear them.

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

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Idol Thoughts — 02.25.10

Airtime. Airtime was the wildcard that affected the outcome last night the most on the season’s first results show of American Idol. There’s no doubt that three of the four sent home had been shown less than other singers in danger of leaving.

Did Joe Muñoz sing worse than Tim Urban Wednesday night? Absolutely not. But who is Joe Munoz? We barely know him. Little airtime. Tim Urban, on the other hand, we know as the guy who they brought back, who got a second chance. A familiar face from Hollywood Week and his audition. Plenty of airtime.

So Muñoz was sent home last night. Urban spared. Also heading to L.A.X. this morning, bags packed for home, are Ashley Rodriguez (a ghost since her Boston audition), Janell Wheeler (the exception to my thesis about airtime), and Tyler Grady (memorable audition, haven’t heard him sing much since).

The point being, at this early juncture, viewers vote for who they know. And they mainly know who they’ve seen. Airtime.

It also didn’t help that so many performers gave so-so performances this week. If you were trying to predict who was heading home, you could’ve made the case for 50 percent of the Top 24. Tough one to call. And “call it,” I did not! One for four. Ouch.

Before the results show, here’s what I said:

Here’s who deserves to go home: Girls) Ashley Rodriguez and Haeley Vaughn. Guys) Jermaine Sellers and Tim Urban.

Here’s who WILL go home: Girls) Ashely Rodriguez and Lacey Brown. Guys) Tim Urban and John Park.

Of course, Idol voters are notoriously attached to their favorites, and often push them through despite the vocal “evidence” to the contrary. That’s why I distinguish between who deserves to go–and who will.

Oh, well. At least that last sentence rings true. Here’s a recap, from the live blog version of this writing, of the rest of last night’s show:

At the top of the show, Ryan asks Simon Cowell why he was “harsher than normal” on the contestants last night. Simon denies this, giving that “I’m just Simon” explanation. And he’s right. Clearly Simon’s judging last night was not the “buzz of the nation” today as Ryan bombastically claimed. Fact is, the first two nights have been weaker than expected.

Then on to the group number (“American Boy” by Estelle). It’s really hard for the individual singers to distinguish themselves in these numbers. They’re basically lip-syncing. Hard to mix so many live mics and make it sound good. Really, that’s the reason. Idol producers have acknowledged this in the past. And with 24 contestants, “choreography” consists of following the person in front of you.

Last season’s fourth-place finisher, Allison Iraheta, is back, performing a song called “Scars.” One of my faves from last year seems more grown up. Maybe it’s the ballad she’s singing. I prefer her pop-rockin’ first single to this. This one’s getting away from her, a few reaches for notes that aren’t there. And I’m not sure Allison totally believes in the song, based on the quirky faces she’s making. Ummm, quirkier than usual for Allison.

Footage of Tyler Grady from yesterday’s rehearsal is pretty funny. Apparently he showed up in a bathrobe and boots, thinking wardrobe would have some clothes for him. They didn’t. Not a dress rehearsal. So he sings his song as is.

They take a pause to bring on Kris Allen and talk about Idol Gives Back and raising money for earthquake relief in Haiti. Kris does a version of the Beatles‘ “Let It Be” that feels heartfelt and right for the occasion. Kris’ song will be available on iTunes, the money going to relief efforts. Best performance this week–by far!

Montage of the four departing contestants is set to the song “Leave Right Now” by Will Young, the first winner of Pop Idol in the U.K. Listen here.

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

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Idol Thoughts — 01.12.10

Seems to me, after this season, all American Idol winners will need to have an asterisk by their name. They didn’t have to face the judgment firing-squad of Simon Cowell.

The journey began last night to crown the last “real” American Idol, just one day after Simon announced that Season 9 would be his last.  The timing was not a coincidence. Might as well juice the ratings for this season (the first without Paula Abdul).

Last “real” American Idol? Okay, it might not be fair to dismiss future Kelly, Carrie and Krises like that. But there are big unknowns. What effect will Simon’s departure have on the show? Can it survive without him? Is American Idol the kind of franchise that will span the decades? Is it like the Tonight Show (56 years) or Saturday Night Live (35 years), able to continue and prosper even as it changes hosts and cast members? Or is this the beginning of the end for television’s number one show?

I have no doubt they’ll hire someone new and move forward without Simon next season. I have no idea how viewers will respond to that. But, hey, at least Idol’s not on NBC, whose current crop of execs have made a debacle out of the television institution that is the Tonight Show.

So, about last night. Auditions in Boston. Victoria Beckham guesting as “The Fourth Judge.” Beckham didn’t add much to the festivities, except to mix it up with Simon in a good ol’ fashioned duel of British accents. That’s probably why she got the call.

We know the formula for these audition shows. A whole lotta crazy and bad singing sandwiched between some talent and compelling back-stories. All of these were in play last night.

I’ve always said it’s hard to gauge too much from these auditions. After all, contestants come in with their best material, stuff they’ve practiced over-and-over. What separates the real talent is the ability to take on new material, rehearse it on a tight schedule, and sound great doing it. I defy anybody to re-watch last season’s auditions and declare, “Oh, yes! There’s the winner!” Only a few seconds of Kris Allen‘s audition aired, and none of his Hollywood Week solo performances made the cut.

But a here’s a few thoughts on some of the people who stuck out last night. Early on, 16-year old Maddy Curtis (Downs Syndrome brothers) nailed her audition, a mature-voiced version of Leonard Cohen‘s, “Hallelujah.” Unfortunately for Maddy, she wasn’t the best 16-year old female singer of the night. Enter Katie Stevens (with the Portugese grandmother) with the whole package–looks and personality, and unleashing a big voiced rendition of “At Last.”

Around the Idol water cooler this morning, people are probably mentioning “The Italian Dude,” Amadeo Diricco. Seems like a nice guy, great old-school Italian personality. Belted out some blues, brother. Fans of the show are going to like this guy. But I suspect there’s a wall. And if blues is his one trick, he gonna smack right into that wall. So here’s hoping he knows more than Muddy Waters songs.

Also notable were Tyler Grady (70s rocker looks, smooth vocals), Leah Laurenti (jazzy “Blue Skies”) and Justin Williams (NextGen Buble).

And finally, Ashley Rodriguez got major kudos from the judges. Great look, nice job on Alicia Keys‘, “If I Ain’t Got You.” Still, I wanted to hear more. So I did a search this morning. Turns out she’s got a bunch of stuff on YouTube. Search her stage name, “Ashley Makailah.” Here’s her version of a Sara Bareilles song called, “Gravity.” She’s the real deal. Definitely look for her to make the Top 12.

As always, I’m curious how you saw things. So lemme know your thoughts!

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

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Idol Thoughts — 05.20.09

Welcome to the American Idol “post-game show.” Yes, Idol IS sports. And the finale is it’s “Superbowl.” And there’s been “an upset” (presumably). So that’s even better–more stuff from “the game” to analyze. Let’s break this one down.

So why did Adam Lambert lose? That’s what a lot of people are asking this morning. Of course, that question doesn’t give Kris Allen the credit he deserves for having the most points at the end of the game. So in all fairness, why did Kris Allen win? It’s definitely easier to see the answers after the fact. Here are a few, in no particular order:

“NO-MENTUM” – Going into the finale, my feeling was that Kris needed to dominate the night in order to win. That was based on the hype that Adam was the front-runner. I now believe the opposite was true: Adam was the one who had to kill it, convincingly and decisively, Tuesday night. And Adam did not. Starting with his last song on final three night (Aerosmith’s, “Cryin'”), Adam was off his game during the finale. Not a lot. But it’s the biggest night of the competition. So a little IS a lot. Was Adam a little vocally strained or fatigued on Tuesday (the possible side effect from some of the screams and shrieks)? Maybe. But song choice didn’t help matters. One thing that was glaringly missing Tuesday was the “Oh Wow!” performance we got from him almost every night the rest of the season–those amazing and re-inventive performances, totally fresh takes on old songs, that everybody chatted about the next morning. The format of finale night was also no friend to Adam, cornering him into a somewhat ho-hum trio of songs. Here’s a crazy what if: what if the finalists could perform ANY three songs they wanted on finale night? As much as I love Idol, THAT’S an Idol I’d love even better! That would be the true “No Boundaries”!

KRIS KONNECTED – Kris clearly connected with a majority of voters in the home stretch. I say in two crucial ways. First, musically. Kris did a better job in recent performances of getting inside the songs, connecting personally with them, then skillfully sharing that connection with the audience. Adam has that side, too. It was best displayed when he kept things smaller and more intimate (“Tracks Of My Tears,” “Mad World”). That side was less-heard recently, as that big voice took over. And while I’m a huge Adam fan, I can see why some of his vocal quirks (the screams and shrieks) were polarizing to Idol voters. Not everybody liked ’em, plain and simple. We heard a lot of chatter about it (the Adam Lambert “backlash”). Especially the closer we got to the finale. Second, Kris was more accessible personally. Seems like a genuinely great guy, and very approachable. People like that. They want to root (and vote) for that. Adam was more mysterious and larger-than-life (by Idol standards). That can be seen as “aloof” by some people. And those people are less likely to give you their vote.

FRONT-RUNNER CURSE – Is there a curse on being the “front-runner” on American Idol? Yes, I believe so. Because people love to root for the underdog. It’s another of Idol’s many Catch-22’s. Being a front runner gets you the momentum you want. But that spotlight makes it clear who’s “Goliath.” And when you have a “David” as likable as Kris, the ingredients are there for the myth play itself out as written.

BUT WHO WAS THE REAL UNDERDOG? – Here’s a question: was Adam REALLY the front-runner going into the finale? One thing that frustrates me to no end is not knowing the vote totals. I finally figured out why Idol doesn’t reveal them. If they showed us the vote tallies, like we’re used to seeing from any other election we participate in, Idol ratings and viewer voting would drop. If we knew the tallies each week, results night would no longer be full of mystery. We could look at previous weeks’ numbers and make educated guesses about what will happen next. People might see that the competition’s a blow out, and not watch as much. Or see that their favorite was millions and millions of votes behind and give up voting for them. So we’ll never see the actual numbers. But occasionally, they give us clues. On final three results night, Ryan Seacrest pointed out that “only one million votes separated the top two.” I think most people assumed Adam had a million more votes than Kris. It’s just as possible that Kris went into the finale with a million vote win over Adam the previous week.

THE UNSPOKEN – Finally, did Adam’s (presumed) sexual orientation play a role in how things turned out? I’m sure it’s a discussion some people would prefer to avoid. It shouldn’t matter whatsoever. But it’s a relevant question. The fact that I can ask the question without hesitation makes me suspect that there’s something here. Pair that factor with Kris being the cute, straight guy, and the impact on certain voting blocks seems clear to me.

So, there you go. Whatta show last night, too. Loaded with surprises and massive stars. Best finale ever! I’m curious what you think. Let me know.

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

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