This post is a bit late in coming but better late than never (especially if you're always late).
Aside from the Weather channel
in the morning, the History channel
before I go to bed, and the occasional Sportscenter
blurb whenever there's a valuable football tidbit (Fantasy Football is coming!!!), I don't watch that much television when football is in the off season.
However this year, in between billiards, basketball, jogging, the occasional salsa refresher/lesson, trip(s) to the driving range, and of course the girlfriend, I found myself occasionally making time for American Idol (when my favorites were performing).
Now I know what you're thinking (I haven't crossed over to the dark side). If you know me, you know that I loathe reality TV with a passion. I'm far to cynical to actually think the shows have anything to do with reality in general. Not to mention I think that television is far too saturated with reality shows. After 9-15 hours of work per day, I want a little escape from reality every now and then (non-chemically of course)
And most you know that I have loathed American Idol for the past 4 seasons, (especially season 2 when they unleashed Clay Aiken on the world, but that's another story) mainly because the most talented people on the show (in my opinion) were voted off because they they didn't "look" the part.
This year however, I must say was special. This is the first year I made it past the first few days of the show where Simon completely trashes the people that really shouldn't be there (or in the Oliver Stone viewpoint, are paid to be there for "Simon Fodder").
This season, I could see myself acquiring each of the three finalists music (select MP3's or whole CD's).
Two people inparticular really caught my attention, Elliot Yamin
and Taylor Hicks
My first impression of Eliott was that he could have used some dental work. I completely erased that thought when I heard him sing. And to know he had no formal training and is almost completely deaf in one ear impressed me even more (of course being from Richmond, VA
also didn't hurt).
He had some decent song choices thrown at him, but when the Stevie Wonder episode came and he did "Knocks Me Off My Feet
," he became my favorite (the song is one of my all time favorites).
His biggest downfall, other than the inability of the Central Virginia telecommunications infrastructure to handle the outgoing call volume, was his choice of songs. My favorite Eliott performance had to be "A Song For You" by Donnie Hathaway
(Originally Leon Russell).
However, I don't think many people have heard of Donnie Hathaway (I sure didn't), and when Eliott did another Donnie Hathaway song (remake of Ray Charles' "I Believe to My Soul"), while it was performed beautifully, I don't think many people in the typical American Idol age demographic could relate and he was sadly gone. But a top three finish will most likely ensure that we will hear from him again.
As for Taylor Hicks
, my first impression was that he was some other American Idol hopeful's father. He didn't look the 29 (years old) he claimed to be. But again, when I listened to his voice, I completely forgot any shortcomings that I saw.
Not only blessed with a good voice (not better than Eliott's but good) he had more stage presence than anyone I've ever seen. He regularly wandered into the audience while performing his songs, had the craziest dance moves and the flashiest clothing.
But most of all, of all the contestants, he looked like he was having the most fun, and most importantly, he seemed to be singing and performing because he enjoyed music, and he sung from his soul, not for the publicity. It was refreshing to actually see someone in the business fueled by the love of music and the excitement of the fans instead of the search for the next payday (of course there's time for him to be jaded and corrupted by the system).
And of course: The Soul Patrol
Best Performance: Vocally, Joe Cocker's "You are so Beautiful", his best performance period had to be Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark."
And of course unless you were under a rock or have no television, Tayor won American Idol Season 5. And the best part, Simon didn't vote for him to go to Hollywood, and said he'd never make the finals...