I am hoping that June will bring a fresh head of steam. May ends with me feeling spent. Oh, I'm mustering some energy. Have watched in recent days the premiere "Hawthorne," three episodes of "Nurse Jackie," the season premiere of "The Closer," the pilot for "The Good Wife," and some odds and ends. But I still haven't taken the trouble to watch Jay Leno's "Tonight" farewell. I may do so before Monday's Conan debut, and bracket them together. But I've been rationalizing the delay with James Poniewozik's thought that it's not much of a farewell if you're back on TV three months later. When Johnny Carson left, it was basically goodbye.
But I think I am most glad to be done with May because it was one of those months where the Smart Money so often proved to be done. Repeatedly we were told about favorites who proved not to have won all the favor they needed. I can start, of course, with the Cavs: best regular-season record, LeBron James, sweeps in the first two rounds of the playoffs. I said their next series would be over in six games; I also said they would win it. Not quite. I leave it to others to analyze why. But no amount of commercials with puppets changed the final score.
Then there's Susan Boyle, who became an international sensation through her work on "Britain's Got Talent," only to finish second to -- well, some group I've never heard of. Of course, most of us hadn't heard of Boyle either not too long ago, and I could never shake a sense that "BGT" had methodically manipulated the British audience and by extension the world. She had to pass an audition, didn't she? And I don't believe the judges were unaware she was good, any more than I think the "American Idol" judges are all that surprised when someone really odd walks through the door. Indeed, when you look at Simon Cowell's reaction to Boyle the first time, you would think he had never seen a performer who proved better than externals implied. But the game worked, and Boyle proved a good story, and then ... she didn't win. (And the whole experience has apparently been rough on her, as this story indicates.)
Same deal with Adam Lambert. Even bigger with him. This guy was supposed to have won "American Idol" months before the show was won ... by Kris Allen. I'd call Kris the Orlando Magic of "American Idol," but that won't fit unless the Magic beat the Lakers, or if Allen had beaten Lambert in "Idol's" Eastern Conference. (Yes, I'm loopy. It's a bit late for me.) But Adam was certainly put on an LeBron level, with matching expectations of victory. To be sure, Adam may still sell some CDs. So will Kris. Still, as I said in the Twitter note that started me down this road, May was a rough month for favorites -- because there's always someone looking at the favorite and saying, "Not so fast."