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.

STARS
Taylor Hicks
American Idol 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 McPheeAmerican Idol 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.

MandisaAmerican Idol 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.

FAKES
Kellie PicklerAmerican Idol 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 YoungAmerican Idol 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 American Idolhas 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!

16 Comments

  1. Oh yes! Love, love, LOVE Taylor! He is the reason I’m watching American Idol this season. I love Katherine and Mandisa too, but I agreed with the judges last week and thought that Mandisa’s performance wasn’t her best.
    I also like Chris Daughtry, but I think his rock tendencies could cause him to falter on genres that don’t play to his strengths. He may not always have a “Higher Ground” to fall back on. Hubby read that after he did the version of “Hemmorage,” the band Fuel called him because the lead singer left. They told him they wanted Daughtry to audition for the open lead singer, but he had to turn them down.
    I’ll go ahead and wager Taylor and Mandisa as the final two, and if that happens, I think we could see a vote as close, if not closer than, Clay and Ruben.

  2. Carla!
    I am glad you are a Taylor fan! Simon Cowell does not like Taylor but he holds his tongue because Simon knows we, the audience, LOVE Taylor. Simon will not let Taylor win.
    I find Chris more karaoke than original. I think he covers a song well but I challenge him to not growl and to try singing something quiet and intimate one week. He will not do well.
    Mandisa is fine — but she’s safe and rather ordinary.
    Are you taken in by Miss Pickler? Or are you wise to her?

  3. I haven’t been watching AI lately, but I always made sure to tune in when they were weeding out all of the horrible singers. It is great fun.
    I can’t see Taylor Hicks as the American Idol. He reminds me of my uncle who works as a credit union auditor. His probably one of the best people in the world, but not that exciting.
    Taylor Hicks does have this going for him: the American Idol folks will be able to sell him along the same lines as Clay Aiken. He seems like a nice, wholesome guy who will cut albums every year, be able to fill auditoriums, and make millions of dollars. I bet in a couple of years, he’ll get tired of touring and open up a show in Las Vegas and rake in money without having to wake up in a different city every couple of days.

  4. Carla! Oh, good! There seem to be so many people from the South who are pushing Pickler and they excuse her “act” as her actually being just naive and bumpkinish. Ugh. I have a lot of family in Kentucky and North Carolina and those states are pretty advanced and forward-thinking.

  5. Chris —
    I agree they will not let Taylo win.
    Pickler won’t win because Carrie Underwood won last year. You don’t repeat the same Idol from one year to the next.
    This is a Man’s Year and the producers want Ace to win — but isn’t having any resonance or stamina with the audience — so I think they’ll pick Chris Daughtry to push as this year’s answer to who should have won last year: Bo Bice.

  6. David,
    I think you’re right.
    The American Idol producers have a certain musical format they want to promote. Every year is a different kind of style. We’ve had our winners come from differnt genres: easy listening (Aiken), country (Underwood), and R&B/soul (Fantasia).
    Could they go for a rock & roll singer this year?
    The key to predicting who will win is to know what the producers are looking for.

  7. Hey Chris —
    Yes, American Idol wants their winners to fit in a variety of genres so they won’t compete with each other in the marketplace. You can’t have Pickler going after Underwood’s fan base. That’s why I think Pickler will go rather soon so as not to de-throne last year’s winner too soon.
    Taylor Hicks fills a completely new niche — but I don’t think the producers are interested in that niche.
    Rumor had it before the season started that the producers said they wanted a “Southern Male” to win this year — a Bo Bice wannabe — and that is Chris Daughtry this year and he can do Southern Rock better than Bucky Covington.

  8. Wife loves this show but also America’s Next Top Model, so we don’t get to watch all of each show. I think Taylor Hicks is my favorite, not that I watch it much, er.
    Having a TV between our PC’s means the show is usually on while I am at the PC so get to hear the performances. I chcuckle at the friction between the judges and wodner how much of it is scripted. Makes for a better show when the judges are slamming each other as well as the contestants.
    Mik

  9. We don’t have Tivo, I cannot even remember the last time we recorded a programme on the VCR (the what? how archiac), we get DVD’s in the mail from Blockbuster and sometimes forget to watch them.
    Although I have been watching episodes of Kung FU on the PC through AOL.
    Sorry, tangent.
    Mik

  10. Mik!
    You must get Tivo! It is one of the small things in life that, once you have it, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it! Control of your life returns to you. You are no longer a slave to the TV programmers. A half-hour show now lasts exactly 18 minutes as you speed through all the advertising. You’ll wonder at the amount of time you steal back from your life while adding even more and more TV shows to watch.
    Love Kung Fu — it is a childhood touchstone for me.
    😀

  11. David-
    This is excellent analysis. I leave the room whenever Ace/Paris begin to sing, they really make me cringe. Taylor is the only artist, the rest are merely singers at best. Sometimes I feel a little guilty for ‘wasting’ two hours on AI and ANTM….but its good to see that other thinking folk drink from the same trough.

  12. Wouldn’t it be great to see a tie for the American Idol?
    Love Taylor and Chris for different reasons but feel they are both as equally talented and deserving to win it all. Unfortunately, I think it will come down to the night’s performances, who’ll win. The show & judges also could be more in favor of one than the other when they assign the songs that they have to sing. That’s why it is so hard to pick because they are at their best in different gendres, & I like them best doing their thing. Good luck to both & I know they both will have a successful career come from this.

  13. I found a couple of “YouTube” videos of Philippine Idol’s teasers — one was posted just yesterday.
    They make for very interesting watching.
    The first one compares the American “losers” — William Hung and Rhonetta Johnson to the Phillipines’ “losers.” Jasmine Trias is huge in the Philippines now — so the American Idol stars (and rejects) are pretty familiar to most people there.
    Here’s the Visaya Islands’ version of the promo for Philippine Idol. Notice how they have their own Randy, Paula, and Simon “characters.”