That said, since this is a "popular music blog", it's kind of hard to ignore the biggest "POP-ular" phenomenon of the past seven years.
Granted, the show is cheesy in many ways. And it's manipulated. Let's take this season, for example:
You can't tell me that the 24 contestants who were ultimately chosen were the best of the auditioners. If that's the case, then wow, the rest must have been awful! I could take a look at the contestants' pictures on the AI site and X out the ones who will be leaving in short order. They're just filler.
I watched the pre-season auditions, and, unlike many viewers, I actually wanted to see the good performers, as opposed to the bizarre, "I'm just doing this to get on TV" auditioners. It's fun to try to pick out the really good singers. And there were some really good singers, but for whatever reason, once we got to the "Hollywood Round", we never even saw them again. But I guess they all still have their MySpaces pages, so whatever....
But back to the ones who did make it through to the final 24. Well, we've got a gaggle of interchangeable blondes. We got a few "rockers" (I like how they call them the "rockers" ~ as opposed to what? The "karaoke-ers"?) Bottom line is, we've got the requisite number of contestants that fit into the most popular demographic groups.....the young'ns, the blondes, the "rockers", the "broadway-musical-ers", the "country-ers"; then the ones who don't seem to fit neatly into any of the afore-mentioned categories.
Oh, I almost forgot. Also, we always have to have that one contestant that nobody likes. I think this person is deliberately chosen as well. This year, it's Kady (the one who pouts after the judges rip her to shreds).
As opposed to all the hype originating from the show's producers and judges, I think this season is, by comparison, one of the weaker seasons, as opposed to the GREATEST EVER!**
DISCLAIMER: Anyone who thinks that AI is strictly a singing competition is sadly misinformed.
I'm at somewhat of a disadvantage, in some ways, because I record the show and watch it on the weekends. By that point, I already know who's been booted off. But it's not like I'm going to call in and vote anyway. On the other hand, I do have the advantage of being able to fast-forward through the 85 minutes of commercials and filler, and only watch the 5 minutes of actual program. This saves me a lot of time.
But back to the show......
Already, at this point, some contestants have been sent packing (although not necessarily the correct ones).
So, what we're left with is, again, a bunch of filler and about 4 - 5 actual contenders.
I don't claim to know much about most of these people (it's a bit too early to have them memorized), but my observations at this point:
- Kristy Lee Cook (one of the blondes) ~ I think she's supposed to be country. At least I read that she, at one time, had a record deal in Nashville. Pretty good singer, but she has the same (lack of) personality as Carrie Underwood. I was a big fan of Carrie when she was on AI, but let's face it, she has the personality of a broom. I think KLC is even more wooden than Carrie, and not as good of a singer, by any means.
- Kady Malloy (another of the blondes) ~ I hate her. She's a real pain in the ass. Sure, she does impersonations, but can she actually impersonate a real human being? Apparently, no.
- Chikezie ~ Anyone with only one name, get off the show! That's a really impertinent gimmick, especially for someone that no one has ever heard of before. Plus, the first week of the semi-finals, he was so woefully off-key, I thought a trap door might suddenly open up, and down he'd go.
- Danny Noriega ~ Well, just....ish. I don't like him. He's a bit too "programmed". And what's with the finger-snapping? He's no Bobby Darin singing "Mack The Knife", for god's sake.
- Michael Johns ~ the Australian dude. At first, in the preliminary rounds, I thought he was pretty good. He's still okay, but I think he'll hang around more for his looks than for his singing.
- Carly Smithson ~ technically a very good singer. But there's been so much backlash against her for previously having a record deal (by the way, her CD only sold 300 copies!), that I think while she will go pretty far, she has no chance of actually winning. Plus, she has been over-hyped. It's not that she's not good. I just can't seem to put my finger on it. Maybe it's just that people root for the underdog, and she seems more like an "overdog".
I won't comment on a bunch of the others, because, frankly, they won't be around that long anyway.
Here are the ones I either really like, or kinda like, or at least seem interesting:
- David Cook ~ one of the "rockers". I like him; he's authentic. He's actually been "rockin'" in real life, not just singing in front of the mirror, like some of the others. Of course, I liked Robbie, too, and he's already gone. The judges basically got him booted off. I don't think they liked him....as a person, I mean. But back to David. He'll probably go semi-far, but he's no Chris Daughtry. But I do like that he's authentic.
- Brooke White ~ I like her a lot. She doesn't have the correct age demographic to win, but she will have a career in music, if she wants one. I hope that she writes, too, because she could have a nice career, if that is the case. She's chosen songs so far that highlight her talent. She's also pretty real, it seems, although I do not believe for a minute that she suddenly "discovered music" while she was in beauty school. She plays both piano and guitar; she's an excellent singer. You can't tell me that the light bulb just suddenly came on while she was shampooing someone's hair; "Oh, how about music?" Nah.......
- Ramiele Malubay ~ She has a beautiful voice. The first week, when she sang the Dusty Springfield song, it was beautiful and a refreshing change from the "screamers". Very controlled and melodical. No theatrics. That's why she won't win, I guess.
- Jason Castro ~ ha ha ~ I have to chuckle, because he's kind of goofy, but I really do think he's got a LOT of talent. And he's got a winning personality; not fakey! I hate fakey. And I thought he did a nice job on the Andy Gibb song. I'll admit, I haven't yet seen his performance of "Daydream", but I haven't deleted it from my recorded programs yet, so I'll still watch it eventually. And why are the judges telling him to lose the guitar? They have such weird biases about stuff. Leave him alone. If he wants to play the guitar, just shut up about it.
- David Archuleta ~ well, this kid certainly has it all going for him, doesn't he? Every site I've been on is already predicting him to win. That's putting a lot of pressure on this kid at this stage of the game. I don't think he'll crack under pressure, though. He seems to be a natural. I'll admit, I read all the hype about his performance of "Imagine" before I actually got to watch it for myself, so I was prepared to be underwhelmed. I have to admit, though, he did a really amazing job on the song. I also like that he's real, and not programmed (see Danny Noriega, above). But it's still really early, so anything can happen. But he's definitely the one to watch.
I suppose somebody that I like will be gone before the week is out. That's usually the way it goes. But I guess we'll see.
RAMIELE MULABAY - YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME
DAVID ARCHULETA - IMAGINE