Really, this type of column is overdue. And really, American Idol is overdue as a victim to diatribes. I could have done one in the show’s opening weeks, about the structure of the tryout shows are well-worn. Mark Donohue at the Toaster Network had a good suggestion that the producers should value — we really should be seeing every single person that goes to Hollywood before Hollywood. Part of the reason for the show’s success is that in invokes a sense of ownership between viewer and contestants. The more contestants we see, the more ownership involved, and the more success the show has. How do these producers have jobs?
And, really, I should have done a diatribe against Paula Abdul long ago. Do you find it insane that you live in a society that, within the last year, had Paula Abdul as a central character in TWO shows (her reality show and Idol)? I’m not okay with this. But to write that diatribe properly, I would have had to TiVO the entire season, and kept arduous notes the 9,831 times that Paula said something that was so stupid it was noteworthy. As I sit here now, I can only think of one: last week, when she threatened to rip off David Archuleta’s head and hang it from her rear view mirror.
Which brings us to David Archuleta. This season on Idol, Ryan Seacrest has literally shoved down our throats that it is the “most talented season ever.” When we got down to 24, I thought collectively, that argument made sense. Now, Archuleta’s “Imagine” is one of the only resonating performances of the season.
And for that reason, everyone, EVERYONE, assumes he is going to win, or as Simon said last night, “definitely be in the final two.” Um … what?
Don’t we see a parallel here to last season? How is the path Archuleta is headed down not the same as Melinda Doolittle a year ago? That path is: use a big voice to blow it out and outshine competition early, establish yourself as a favorite, never reach a bar you did in February again, and gradually lose connection to the audience. And what Simon was trying to say last night when he said Archuleta was getting a little gloomy — which was the complete wrong word, as Simon was then implying that one of the greatest written songs of any British artist ever is gloomy when it’s actually a song of hope, but whatever — was that Archuleta has only sung ballads so far well. Eventually, something upbeat is going to have to happen.
Hell, Doolittle and Archuleta even have that annoying “I can’t believe the judges just gave me a positive response” look in common.
In the end, Archuleta’s biggest problem will be cultural relevance. What kind of music will he record be? The first person I thought of was Robin Thicke, whose voice is too high, but you get where I’m coming from. And I can promise you Archuleta will not be featured on a 50 Cent album any time in the next ten years. So, who?
Outside of being the Sonny to Miley Cyrus’ Cher, I don’t see it. David Archuleta can sing like crazy, but this assumption that he is going to win Idol now, 3 months early, is ridiculous.