Wednesday, May 21, 2008

American Idol Showdown

OK, first things first. What was the deal with the cheesy boxing gimmick? Totally hokey. Why do they do this? Do they want us to sit and ponder whether little David A. is really only 100 pounds -- and if so (and even if not so) was he a little embarrassed by it all?

And the whole Jim Lampley commentary was irritating, to say the least. Don't the American Idol producers know that a lot of us female and non-sports-watching types like American Idol because it's NOT sports. We get enough Lampley, Costa, Bird, Barkley and all the others when our husbands kidnap the remotes and subject us to the NBA finals, March madness, NFL preseason, postseason, playoffs, Bowl games, MLB, hockey, and in my house, even professional soccer. The whole sport feature style stories and images of the Davids -- reminiscent of the types of features you see on athletes during the Olympics -- was, I thought, silly.

But back to the singing, because this is a boxing, I mean singing, show.

I've said for weeks now that I'm a huge David Cook fan. And I still am. He's awesome and he'll go far no matter what happens. But after last night and witnessing David A. step up his game and give his best performances so far, I think he'll win.

David A is a better singer; David C -- in my opinion -- is a better performer.

But the other difference is that David A wants this -- the title of American Idol -- more. Sure, I think David C is appreciative of what AI has done for him and his career, but I can't help but wonder if he wants to be "the American Idol." I wonder if it's too pop, too mainstream for him. He could have closed his trio of songs with "Hello" or "Billie Jean," as suggested by Simon. Instead he chose the understated Collective Soul song. I wonder if he maybe even made a conscious -- or perhaps subconscious -- decision to downplay it a bit.

I read in an Associated Press article that David C says he wouldn't change a thing about his song choices. That if he had to choose a song that everyone knew and loved and a lesser known one that echoed his style and personality, he would choose the latter. I think a true American Idol, like David A, would choose the former.

Remember Bo Bice? He was the Southern rocker with long hair who was runner-up the year Carrie Underwood won. In a recent interview he said that as he stood there with Carrie waiting for Ryan to announce the winner, he was thinking, "Please, don't be me." I wonder if David C shares this sentiment.

And while David C shed a few tears, he seemed to be going with the flow, just another round for him. But David A was packed so full of emotion and intensity and a desire to knock our socks off. After his flawless "Don't let the Sun Go Down on Me" I thought he was going to hyperventilate. The nerves, the fans, the huge stage, the pressure, the judges, his Dad, the media -- it's overwhelming for anyone, let alone a 17-year-old kid. I thought they were going to have to bring out an oxygen mask.

But last night as we saw the emotion overcome him, even I was drawn in. I felt like a proud Mom. I kept thinking that I hope the music business doesn't strip him of his sweet and kind nature.

His shining night was so powerful, so stunning, so memorable, that I think he'll win. In either case, I hope the producers have some paramedics and lots of Kleenex ready for little David A.

Here's a great article about the Davids on the LA Times.

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