I have watched and generally enjoyed every season of American Idol. I did not believe Fantasia deserved to win but she lucked out by finding herself stuck in a bland year of contestants and so she won by default. Her career after her win demonstrates the failure of the American Idol producers to pick a winner beyond Tuesday nights.
Here is a quick examination so far of my top three stars and my least favorite three fakes from this year’s competition. The other contestants I do not mention are just doing time until they’re tossed off the show.
Taylor Hicks must win American Idol because he is the most interesting, most talented and the most compelling musician of the current crop of contenders.
Because of his immense talents and abilities he will not win. American Idol is not about talent and perfection, it is instead merely about marketability. Marketability means selling millions of records to teenage girls who want to swoon with Puppy Love as they hand over their weekly allowance to iTunes and Tower Records. Taylor’s singing has depth and emotion and great human reverberance.
He is technically supreme. If American Idol had any guts they’d promote him more and allow him to win and make the American Idol niche deeper and wider from its hoary teenaged core. You can listen to Taylor Hicks here and my favorite song is “Heart and Soul.”
Katharine McPhee is a tremendously talented singer. While she doesn’t yet have Taylor’s emotional depth, her voice is still ringing and beautiful.
Katharine has a wardrobe problem where everything she wears makes her look pregnant and that makes it hard for her to connect with the core American Idol audience.
She needs to accept her appropriately voluptuous body and serve as a touchstone image for all women who are not stick-thin. Katharine needs to show more versatility in song choice and to let loose a bit more. I would love to hear Taylor and Katharine do a duet — I think it would make for an interesting mix of voices, styles and incredible talents to create something bigger than each of them alone.
Mandisa is my third choice because there really isn’t anyone else who even begins to come close to Taylor and Katharine in the talent department. Mandisa is a distant third. She has a passable voice that tends to scream.
Her face is lovely. She needs to learn what to wear to hide her flaws and flatter her features. She always puts forth her best effort and for that, I appreciate her enough to give her the third spot in my list. I like having Mandisa in the contest because she proves you do not have to be perfect and baby-faced to win a spot in the Top 10 contestant pool.
Kellie Pickler is not as talented as many of the other competitors so she falls back on her Southern-I’m-a-Hick Hillbilly Hee Haw Cornpone that, for those of us who know be
tter, comes off fake and false and extremely planned.
Many in America are fooled by her act but I am not. I recognize bad acting when I see it and, like her singing, Kellie is not talented enough to pull of the innocent bimbo role.
Some compare her to Dolly Parton but Dolly is funny and cutting-edge wise in her Southern Belle role. Kellie just comes off as dumb and uneducated when she puts on the act. Her singing is usually off-key. Her song choices are not interesting.
Ace Young is already thankfully wearing thin with the American public if his place in the bottom three this week is any kind of indication of his popularity.
Sometimes American Idol likes to scare their Favorite and the Favorite’s fans so Ace is likely safe for a long while because the producers are obviously in love with the guy. I find Ace’s talent weak. He may be pretty but he has little connection beyond the 13-year-old girl fan base. His singing is rather awful.
He has a Keith Partridge surface sameness in his immature vocal styling and his “sexy look” using his dead eyes comes off incredibly creepy and off-putting. I turn down the sound when he sings and then I look away after as he plays with his hair while being interviewed.
Paris Bennett has quickly fallen out of favor with the American Idol viewing public after being an early favorite. Paris, as someone in a newsgroup said, is the kind of person that “the more you see of her the less you like her.”
I completely concur. Paris is the precocious child we are all forced to deal with in public when we know the child is not as precious or as talented as those around her have proclaimed her to be since she was bubbling in her mother’s womb.
We know what we like and we do not like Paris. Her personality is grating. Her singing has no tempering. She does not present herself as interesting or humble or in need of support and that is deadly in a competition that is really an overblown popularity poll. Paris behaves as if nothing that comes out of her stinks while the rest of us shake our heads and hold our noses because each week we know better.
Hold your faith for Taylor Hicks! He’s already your SuperStar winner!