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American Idol Season 6: Round One

March 15, 2007


top12carpet-copy.jpgAfter enduring a less than memorable week of Diana Ross songs, America whittled the twelve finalists down to eleven.  Most viewers may have been wishing for Sanjaya Malakar’s exit; honestly, any of the bottom three contestants could have gone home without any objections from this observer.

Obviously, Sanjaya is horrible, just not horrible enough to get kicked off this early.  He looks like someone you would sponsor through Save The Children, not the next American Idol.  Any stage presence he may possess is glaringly absent whenever he performs.  Even the judges have a hard time justifying his place in the top twelve.  Randysanjaya_malakar.jpg can’t stop laughing about his hair; Paula struggles to slur even the slightest compliment; and Simon simply shakes his inflated head in disgust.  Hate him or despise him; Sanjaya’s perseverance can be credited to a couple of reasons.

American Idol’s audience consists of a lot of families.  With those families come young girls, who (predictably) fall for the pretty hair and puerile charms of someone like Sanjaya.  Good or bad, you cannot ignore that part of the audience and the power it welds.  It won’t be strong enough (god willing) to get him to the very end.  If previous seasons can be used as a gage, you can expect to see him around a lot longer than you probably want to.  I will choose to follow Randy Jackson’s lead and keep my expectations focused on Sanjaya’s hairstyle choices. 

Besides his popularity with young girls, there is also the push by folks like Howard Stern (and websites like that want to see how far someone with very little talent can make it.  That’s the price we pay for leaving the decision making process up to a phone-in popularity contest.  One remedy to this dilemma would be to allow viewers a second tier of votes for their least favorite participant.  Idol producers could set up a separate set of numbers that would let the anti-vote be heard. 

Plenty of wrinkles would have to be smoothed out if this alternate kind of voting system was going to work. It would have to benefit the show and its audience.  To discourage the blatant campaigns (that would likely be aimed at unfairly eliminating one contestant over another) they could charge a caller 99 cents per vote. To sweeten the deal, the money they collect could go to a specific charity each week.   The wishes of the audience would be voiced but the price tag would (hopefully) discourage multiple calls.  The best part is that some needy organization would greatly benefit from our collective disgust. 

phil_stacey.jpgPhil Stacey (aka-the bald one) was the other singer that dodged a bullet during Wednesday’s elimination.  Personally, I can’t stand the guy or his annoying hats (especially those hats!)  He may serve proudly in the US Navy, but he wreaks of phoniness and his Kermit the Frog/Cher-like voice gets on my last nerve.  Ironically, I didn’t think this week’s performance was bad enough to get him booted.  It seems the audience might be catching on to the same things I am unable to see past.  I will happily endure a couple more weeks of his rigmarole if he is guaranteed to face the chopping block. 

Let’s be real, Brandon Rogers needed to go.  Every week he brought more excuses than talent to the stage.  I am sure he is a wonderful backup singer, but he always seemed to makebrandon_rogers-copy.jpg poor song choices and consistently failed to deliver them in a memorable manner.  I am happy to see him (and his excuses) leave the show.  Frankly, I would rather sit through a Sanjaya train-wreck than waste my time waiting for one of Brandon’s boring performances to end (it takes a lot of effort to keep me awake.)  

Look for the ladies to continue their dominance of this  year’s competition.  Melinda and Lakisha are going to be hard to beat, but they won’t be completely safe; it wouldn’t be American Idol if they were.  Anything can happen and I expect it will.  We should prepare ourselves for the unforeseen twists and turns that the season may bring or live with the inevitable disappointment.  At least Jennifer Hudson and Chris Daughtry prove that an early exit doesn’t have to mean you will never taste true success.

Here are a few more of my observations:

  • Chris Sligh needs to get over himself and keep his glasses on, unless he truly enjoys coming across like a ‘cabbage patch kid’ with a full diaper.  
  • Jordan Sparks may prove to be a real spoiler if she is able to maintain the quality she showed us this week.
  • Stephanie Edwards will over-sing herself into an early elimination.  If I wanted to hear that kind of wailing, I would buy a Beyonce CD.
  • Chris Richardson thinks he’s Justin Tiberlake but he sings like Lance Bass.  His personality and cuteness will get him far, but not far enough.
  • Haley Scarnato, Disney World called, they need a new ‘Belle’ for their evening Beauty and the Beast shows. Do us a favor and take that job, you are completely out of your league.  The only reason Simon had kind words for you is because he thinks you are the only ‘looker’ they have left in the competition. 
  • Blake Lewis, Mr. Beat Box.  He could find himself in the finals if he delivers strong vocals and doesn’t overuse his secret weapons.  Hopefully future contestants will take what he has brought to this year’s show to even greater heights.
  • Gina Glocksen deserves to be called a ‘rocker.’ She is definitely better than past female contestants that were branded that way.  If she continues to improve, we may see her go farther than you would expect. Don’t count her out!

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