Thursday, May 11, 2006

I Did Not Expect That

Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Last night Chris Daughtry, pictured at left and designated TCO* by just about the entire internet, got the boot from American Idol 5. Katharine McPhee, who frankly deserved to go home despite the fact that she showed us her panties a couple of weeks ago, looked as bewildered by the news as the rest of us felt.

Chris was an alt-rocker in the mid-90s style and didn't show much versatility for most of the show (until a couple of weeks ago when he performed Bryan Adams' "Have You Really Ever Loved a Woman" with perfect control and nuance) but frankly didn't need to. When Chris sang, it felt like a rock concert, and I can't think of another AI contestant who pulled that off.

Some big-name band is announcing tonight on Extra that they want to hire him as their new lead singer. It seems likely to be Fuel, whose "Hemorrhage" he nailed in the round of 10 guys, or maybe, if Dlisted has it right, Live, whose version of Johnny Cash's "Walk the Line" he performed on the show that Barry Manilow helped with.

It looks like Taylor Hicks is the likely winner now, but after last night I wouldn't rule anyone out. I'm rooting for Elliott to win. Sorry Katharine, you're going to have to get completely nekkid to get any more votes from me.

Also, just found Lisa Leuschner's Myspace page. Man did she get the scroogie during seasons 3 and 4. Simon decided fat white girls aren't marketable, and she got blocked out before the audience voting started two years in a row. Which totally sucked, because girlfriend can SANG! Go to her page linked above and hit "Sweet thing" in the music window at the top right. She absolutely crushed that in the tryouts and some crapsack named Camille Velasco got in instead of her, and then proceeded to suck. Yes, I'm still mad about it.

Did I mention I have an unhealthy obsession with American Idol? I study the shows like the Zapruder film. Trust me, you don't want to know the imaginary world I've created for the contestants. Well, here's a little to get you started: I believe Kevin Covais and Paris Bennett from this season will one day be married.

* The Chosen One

UPDATE: Couple of interesting Idol articles in the news today. First, one of those "what it all means about [society, America, the world - choose whichever grabs your fancy]" pieces, the kind that make me want to find the author, shake him or her by the neck and ask what the hell's wrong with them, and why they think their personal taste counts for anything on this planet:

In Daughtry, America had the opportunity to choose distinctiveness, confidence and cool. Instead, it chose bland and boring. Blech and blech.

What a tool. Elliott's the coolest cat who ever walked the Idol stage and, according to a column by political animal John Podhoretz, he's going to win. He also says American Idol provides a perfect model for American politics:

If you want to understand "Idol," you need to understand American politics. And if you want to understand the workings of American politics, "Idol" isn't a bad introduction to the way political coalitions are formed and elections are won.

After the "American Idol" field narrows to 12 finalists, the show kicks one contestant off every week - the one who gets the lowest number of votes.

The number of votes seems to remain remarkably constant (this year, somewhere north of 40 million) week to week. This indicates the same people continue to vote each week. It also means that the people who voted for the contestant who was kicked off go ahead and just choose somebody new to vote for.

This is a direct parallel to the presidential primary process. In the early primaries, candidates who do poorly usually drop out of the race, leaving those who would have supported them in other states high and dry. Those supporters then have to pick somebody else among the surviving candidates to vote for.

This winnowing process allows the most appealing candidates to pick up steam by adding new voters to their cadre of supporters. And as they do so, the field continues to be winnowed, until finally there are only one or two candidates left standing. The single-issue candidate, the flash-in-the-pan, the guy who has one fantastic debate - they may all have their moments, but in the end, the candidate with the most broad-based appeal will usually win.

And this is what explains Chris Daughtry's stunning loss this week on "American Idol." He has a distinctive voice and distinctive appeal. The problem is that he never broadened his base very much. If you liked him from the start, you stayed with him - which is why he remained solidly among the top contenders through most of the show's run.

But if you didn't much like his sound when there were still 9 contestants remaining, you weren't suddenly going to decide you liked his sound when there were only 4 remaining.

The key to winning "American Idol" isn't being overwhelmingly popular in the early stages. The key is having a sound that makes it possible for you to pick up votes from people whose favorites have gotten booted off the show. Because if you don't get those votes, somebody else is going to get them.

Can't argue with that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is disgusting that Taylor "Leno " Hicks would win this or Elliot "I look like a recovering herion addict" Yamin. He, by the way, is past his time and should have been hitting it in the 70's where the days of hideous looking singer/song writers ruled the planet. Great voices and great lyrics but just plain hideous looking for today's standards. The porn industry has also paralleled this trend...the hedge hog lives! It has to be Katharine since she has the complete package including the right amount of junk in the trunk. Post the panty video and let the world unite. "Come together, right now, over sweet cheeks"