Saturday, May 3, 2008

American Idol: My Fearful Forecast

From my complimentary copy of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, I was able to read Nestor Torre’s fearless forecast regarding American Idol’s probable winner. I don’t find it surprising, however, how I agreed to most, if not all, of his opinions.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m no AI expert. The only AI season I religiously watched, apart from the current one, was that of Taylor Hicks beating Katharine McPhee. But I just have got to demand my turn to talk about it. American Idol season 7, that is.

Allow me to go through it starting from the first guy to be eliminated from the top 12 finalist.

David Hernandez was first to leave. They, the American voters, may attribute Hernandez’ lack of popularity to his flamboyant performances all they want but I think it has a lot to do with the scandal he found himself in during the week when they had to perform Lennon-McCarthy songs. It’s the mess regarding him being a gay lap dancer at one time in his life. I still feel sorry for this guy.

Amanda Overmyer was next to go. This one, I believe, is well deserved. I just don’t dig Amanda’s attempts to rock. It is, to me, what “trying hard” means. And, just like Simon, I don’t understand a thing Amanda is saying when she sings. Her inability to enunciate her words properly must have played a huge part to her downfall, after all what is a Beatles song without words?

Poor Chikezie had to leave third. Why? He wasn’t popular, that’s why. He forgot to offer something new to the audience with his rendition of a song that came out during the year he was born. We’ve got to admit, it really was a bit too boy band-y.

Little Ramiele Malubay, every Pinoy’s primordial bet, said the fourth goodbye. Not that Dolly Parton songs didn’t do her good. Actually it seemed to be a matter of losing focus on the contest at hand. As it often translates, Ramiele’s concern rested on making friends and losing them. It appeared like she lost the drive to compete, thus taking away her voice’s wow factor.

Perhaps the most surprising elimination was that of Michael Johns’ who was fifth to take a bow. He was doing well and he wasn’t that bad with his inspirational song. Could it be that he joined the wrong franchise to this contest? He’s Australian, you know.

Everyone was relieved when Kristy Lee Cook’s time to leave finally came. She’s the pretty girl with nine lives, always finding herself at the bottom three but always manages to get away. In fairness to her, her Mariah Carey song is her only performance which I liked. Ironically it caused her her AI spot. She should just join Miss America next.

It is disappointing to see a contestant leaving when she did great prior to the elimination night. Although Carly Smithson isn't really my favorite (you may attribute this to her flair for gigil performances), her Andrew Loyd Webber song was not bad at all, but her road to the Idol throne ended with it. Conspiracy theory alert: Carly is Irish. Wrong AI franchise again? If there's any consolation, Carly left with something good to boast.

I didn’t think Brooke White’s journey will end at top five early in the contest, especially when she did her winning “Let It Be” number. But because of her less than impressive performances that followed, Brooke deserved to leave before Carly, maybe even before Kristy. (OA na.) Brooke was eventually bound to lose her magic given her sporadic performance blunders. It's quite disappointing. Her Neil Diamond performance, specifically the second one wasn’t that bad but after somehow stealing Carly’s slot, Brooke just had to go.

By now we are reduced to four contestants:

The two Davids, Archuleta and Cook; the guy with the dreads, Jason Castro, and the remaining rose among them thorns, Sayesha Mercado.

I’m predicting Sayesha will leave next in the event that she doesn’t come up with a spectacular performance, not that she is incapable, in fact she’s good. It’s just that unlike some blacks, Sayesha isn’t very charming. To tell the truth, she ain't my favorite. And the way things are going, Sayesha has become the new Kristy. It is only a matter of time before her nine lives get extinguished.

Now, Jason Castro, I don’t think he’d make it to top two. I’d be surprised if he did and I’d like it if he did--in fact, I wouldn't mind if he wins (may halong kilig yan)--but, you see, he’s going to have to leave sometime soon. He’s cute and all, and his “girls” (that’s how I call his fans/supporters) may vote like crazy for him but I don’t think he’s got what it takes to be the idol. He deserves credit for taking a stand where his type of music is concerned. But his vocal range has its limits. We've seen that when he struggled with Cat's "Memory". Although I have to admit, kinilig ako doon! Still Jason deserves a spot in Hollywood after all he is good at his preferred roster of songs, he is almost an original, he is charming, he has a lot of fans and, yes, he is sexy.

As Nestor Torre predicts it, it is most likely that the two Davids will go head to head on the finals night. Both are talented alright but of course I prefer one over the other.

The young David (Archuleta) is indeed raw. He lacks confidence and character. While watching him, you get the feeling that he’s a contender at some singing contest. It is hard to imagine how he'd sing outside a contest. His movements are stiff and studied. He’s just so tensed! Before he becomes the idol, he should get over his “contestant performance”. He should start performing like a star, drawing his spontaneous emotions from the heart. As it is, he seems to be swimming at the pool of uncertainty about himself. I don’t think he’s just being modest whenever he sighs when Ryan tells him he’s safe and that he can now sit on the couch. For these reasons, Archuleta isn’t convincing me that he is the next American Idol. The huge number of his fans may place him in the throne, though. Honestly, if ever that happens, I wouldn’t be happy about it.

For all its worth, I believe that the older David (Cook) deserves to win because he’s got the talent and is bold enough to know it. Allow him to go on a concert and he’d know how to handle his audience. I am aware that this guy doesn’t seem to be the most humble-looking wannabe on earth (just check out his big head, you can go literal on that) but he’s trying. He lacks the charm Archuleta is oozing with but he does something about this shortcoming by actually interacting/connecting with his audience. And as Paula says, Cook is not afraid to take risks. Unlike others who’d rather stroll along the safe zone, Cook dares to take a balance stick and cross a thin wire even during the toughest stage of the competition. And the good part is, he pulls off the stunts he orchestrates. Now that is an idol!

I just fear Cook, my bet talent-wise, will have to say goodbye because he isn’t the prettiest or cutest boy in America. But I’m sure one American record company will be smart enough to sign him up. If hearing his Mariah Carey song playing on Philippine airwaves (proof that Cook is crossing oceans) is no indication how bankable his voice is, I don’t know what is.

Good luck to America if they let Archuleta win.

Oh well, they'd live through it. They're surviving Bush, aren't they?

***All images are from


kate said...

i LOVE jason castro. i don't think he'll win though. anyway, great article :)

btw, i didn't like amanda either! ang weird. plus she has nude photos somewhere (not that its bad, but still)

-tye- said...

Hay...I didn't foresee Jason screwing up his song. Naku! bye bye na tuloy!


Running Waters said...

david cook... wanna cook him for myself. bwahahah... he's hot. but yeah, archuleta's age and "raw" talent is something.

i don't pretty much care who wins... it's who sells the records after AI that matters, i guess.

who cares about the voting? time and again, americans have proven how *bleep* up they are when it comes to voting.