I've been watching American Idol since the first season. As a musician, there is enough about the show to keep me entertained on a number of levels, including the obvious drama of each week's voteoff. Of course, you gotta take the good with the bad, and there are enough contestants to keep you coming back either for the great performances or the comedy of the delusional.
But for the first time tonight, I actually found myself upset at the judges. After 5 years, I finally have a genuine beef with those idiots who sit behind the table and give their criticism. Yeah, sometimes they say really stupid stuff and you wonder if they were watching the same show. Randy has an ego problem and has no qualms about talking about all the stars he's worked with, and you'd think that would give him some perspective on who's good, but even he gets cranky sometimes and just doesn't like anything. Don't even get me started on Paula Abdul...hell, why not? That no-talent hack was a good dancer but was never a great singer and God knows why or how she landed the role as a singing judge. Yes, we all know she has back pain, but between the drugs and botox she is out of her head and it takes a rare extremely bad performance for her to say anything negative about anyone. Not to mention she is smitten with every good-looking male contestant. And everybody hates Simon. Actually, I find myself agreeing with him more often than not. People say he's rude, and I think he's the only judge who is honest about his appraisals. I would stand up and cheer if just one time he said, "Wow, that sucked." instead of making some terrible comparison to lounge singers and cabarets.
In spite of all that, I can still enjoy the show and for the most part I ignore their comments. But there is one consistent theme this season, and that is that if there is one unforgivable sin a contestant can make, it's to sing a song by Whitney Houston, Christina Aguilera, or Celine Dion. The judges whine on and on about taking a huge risk in them making a comparison against the original and how the contestant can't possibly measure up to that standard. Well, I call bullshit. This show, by its nature, is one giant karaoke contest, not an original song contest. All of the contestants sing all songs that are unoriginal, and nearly all of these songs have been performed by professionals with great reputations. To single out a song because the original is so lofty is hyprocritical and narrow-minded. It places certain songs on a pedestal such that any contestant foolhardy enough to attempt it is certain to draw the ire of the judges no matter how well they did. Tonight was a prime example of this bad behavior by the judges.
Now before I continue, I will admit to being somewhat biased about what I'm going to say next. I've already gone on record with friends that I predict that Katharine McPhee has the best shot at winning this year, and I'll be really surprised if she doesn't somehow make it to the final 3. I will also admit at being a bit smitten by her great looks, but I think I can say with some objectivity that she has the best voice and the most talent hands-down. So take the rest of this with a grain of salt.
Tonight, Kat gave the performance of a lifetime singing Whitney's "I Have Nothing". Her performance was nearly flawless, full of range and dynamics that truly showed her ability as a singer and a performer. But even during the performance, I could already see the scowls forming on the judges' faces. Randy interrupted the standing ovation because he couldn't wait to tell Kat how much he hated it. He admitted freely, that even before she started that he was "worried" about her doing a Whitney song. Rather than commend her on doing an oustanding job, he told her she could never be as good as Whitney and shouldnt' be singing her song. Positive Paula, the eternal optimist, changed her tune and jumped on the "don't sing Whitney" bandwagon. The only positive thing she could say was that Katherine looked hot. Simon couldn't wait either to make the comparison either, and told her it was a bad choice. They had made up their minds about the performance before the first note was sung. As for the rest of the contestants, they all got some kind of positive feedback, with the exception of Pickler. (She's getting voted off next. Yup, that's my prediction.) The rest ranged from good to great, but had nothing on McPhee's performance, in my opinion. She simply chose to violate the number one rule of American Idol judges, and got ripped a new one on TV because of it.
I hope Americans will see through the obvious contradiction and vote for the best performance and the clear winner from tonight's show. Vote for Katharine McPhee!!!
Maybe we should start calling him Simon "Sacred" Cowell.