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The Only Idol Question Left: Is It Really a Singing Competition?

...Because if it is, we already know who won this year's contest.

Jordinbackyard06web300 That's how dramatic the difference was in vocal ability among American Idol's last two contenders last night, especially on the sappy pop song both had to sing, "This Is My Now."

In the words of the show's only consistently coherent judge, Simon Cowell, 17-year-old phenom Jordin Sparks "wiped the floor" vocally with beatbox king Blake Lewis -- who once again came up perpetually short on every song where he couldn't leverage that mouth percussion gimmick.

When it works, particularly on Lewis' inspired revamp of Bon Jovi's You Give Love a Bad Name (extra props to unheralded drummer Teddy Campbell, who helps make that rendition sing with some jaw dropping drum licks), it's powerful enough to nearly counter the fact that he has so much less vocal talent than his rival.Blake

But Sparks took the sappy ballad "This is My Now" to Kelly Clarkson-land, with a soaring, powerful vocal capped with a touching falter at the end to hammer home the song's too-obvious, Idol-compatible theme (I also kept thinking: it took a nationwide songwriting competition to come up with this?)

Indeed, the only sign of Sparks' inexperience comes in her lack of stage presence. She can stand in one spot and belt it out with the best of them, but when it comes time to sell a song, she flounders a bit.

So it comes down to a simple question for Wednesday's two-hour finale. Is this a singing contest, or not?

(Dial Idol seems to think it is, predicting this morning that Jordin will take the crown; Hitwis,e a service which tracks Internet searches, says it is not, prediciting blake will win because more people search his name. ).


-- alerted me to a way cool .PDF file from the Chicago Tribune outlining the ratings trajectory of all the American Idol editions. The upshot: ratings for the Tuesday performance episodes are falling dramatically, while the results shows are staying steady.

-- Hitwise also notes Blake's searches focused first on the topic of sexual preference, with "blake lewis gay" accounting for 4.25% of his searches. Apparently Internet searchers are undecided on his orientation; 0.5% of Blake's searches were for "blake lewis girlfriend."

-- Does it seem odd that Lewis is from Seattle, Sparks was discovered at a Seattle audition and the songwriting winners are also from the Sea-town? Somebody's either got one hell of a hookup or there's something in the water there.

Cowellthumbs -- Why do the judges suddenly turn into pussycats for the finale? The same Cowell who had no problems predicting LaKisha's fall and smirking when Sanjaya was finally voted off, let Lewis' awful, off-key version of the big Idol song pass with nary a criticism -- asking Lewis what HE thought, instead. When has Cowell ever been interested in anyone else's opinion?

-- Is anybody buying that Abdul broke her nose -- excuse me, "bruised" her nose -- by tripping over her dog?

-- Why did Sparks get to sing a new song first, while Blake pulled out a tune he had performed before?

Wes Sarginson Retires

Wesseginson Not that many people in blogland have memories this long, but some may remember Wes Sarginson as WFLA's longtime 5 p.m. anchor. Tired of waiting for Bob Hite to step aside, he moved on to Atlanta's WXIA-TV in 1997, where he is retiring after 41 years in the game. Check this blog post for a little information on what Wes has been up to since he left the Sunshine State.   

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:39pm]


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