Comments about an inspirational "American Idol" that only lived up to the billing at the end ...
I know that the voters have minds of their own, but on this night there should be no argument that Crystal Bowersox was head and shoulders above the competition, quite deserving of the closing slot and taking a potentially cliched choice ("People Get Ready") and making it something special. The acapella opening alone got me a little misty, and it was better from there. Even the little emotional breakdown at the end felt right -- although, faithful viewers will have observed that it was not in the end-of-show recaps, demonstrating once again that the recaps are edited from the rehearsal not the final show.
Unfortunately, judges' kudos for some contestants notwithstanding, the show besides Bowersox was quite blah. I give it some credit for offering songs on an inspirational theme which were out of the ordinary, although some seemed just bizarre. I love "The Boxer," for one, but inspirational? And that in particular came in for some bluenosed lyric-dropping. In these times, what better verse than the one about "Asking only workman's wages/I come looking for a job/But I get no offers"? But using that would mean including the line about "a come-on from the whores on Seventh Avenue" and I don't think "Idol" was comfortable with that line.
It was Lee, by the way, who sang "The Boxer" and it was unimpressive, way too slow and ungainly. Casey James did nothing with "Don't Stop," Aaron's "I Believe I Can Fly" was unbelievable (and had several vocal slips when he got to the chorus), Big Mike's "Hero" was an admirable try but not entirely successful, and Turban's "Better Days" just sat there. Which leave Siobhan, who went the Whitney/Mariah route with "When You Believe" and showed all the limitations in her range. And, as the bride observed, why distract from an inspirational song with a dress adorned with big, fake butterflies? (Simon thought they were leaves, so I guess her song was "When You Be Leaves.") Of all the current contestants, Siobhan seems more and more to be the one who most desperately needs a vocal coach, since she has some skill but -- if recent weeks are an accurate assessment -- no clear idea of how to use it.
Also, even with the judges being told to hurry up (or at least Ellen was so told), the show ran long. So why does Ryan need to warn us that "Idol Gives Back" tomorrow might run long? That's standard procedure.
But we will see what the voters say tomorrow.