Thursday, May 12, 2011

Stretch and Strategy

It's the point where really, any sane person should be able to see justice and reason in the victory of any one of the remaining four. Unfortunately, sanity isn't always the ruling factor for the average Idol fan--myself included. But here we are in the final stretch, and now it's all about strategy. Not talent, not future career, not defining yourself as an artist, but what is it going to take to win. To have your name seared into the confetti that will be dropped over the heads of all. And, clearly, some of the remaining singers have a stronger grip on that concept than others.

Raise your hand if you knew James was going to sing a Journey song at some point during the competition. Personally, I'd stopped believin' that his rendition was ever going to end. This was a song choice meant to garner votes. We love Journey. We love that song. Fox television loves that song, because Glee does that song. It's an anthem for a generation, so for me, it was a totally ho-hum choice. Now, "Love Potion #9"--that was cool, unexpected. Overall I left thinking that James is much more suited, though, to front a band rather than embark on a solo career. Just a thought. If Journey (or some other 80's revival band) finds themselves trolling through YouTube videos looking for a new lead singer, maybe James should get a shot. He has kind of an old soul for that. Like, can't you hear him singing "Juke Box Hero?"

The case for Haley--she, obviously, gives neither a hoot nor a holler what we're going to think. Every other singer last night showed such obvious strategy. And when she sang the Michael Jackson song I'm too lazy to Google and look up, she took a risk. There was a time when Idol rewarded risk. And I can see nailing her if she hadn't sung the unknown song well, but to blast her for not choosing something the audience knows? Nothing wrong with a little stretch in the home stretch, Jennifer. Well done you, Steven, for staggering to her rescue. I must admit, though, given Haley's hair style, I half expected her to bust into "Oh, sweet mystery of life at last I've found you..." If Haley goes home, chalk it up to America's fear of the unknown. What in the world would we do with her? We can't bang our head, or dance a two-step, or reach into a cooler filled with Mike's Hard Lemonade with her voice in the background. We'd have to listen and absorb. Perhaps be bemused and entertained. NEXT.

The two sides of Scotty--slow country and fast country. One video with slow-motion black-and-white cornfields, the other "concert" footage with girls in tight t-shirts storming the stage. We love the familiarity of Scotty. We want him to grow up and marry Lauren in a sweet Country love story kind of way. (like Faith and Tim, not Vince and Amy) We've been listening to his voice since the crackling days of RADIO. He and James are nostalgia...Scotty is lucrative nostalgia. No matter who wins, I'm pretty sure he's the only one who will carve an actual career in the industry.

And Lauren. Oh, I love Lauren--and I'm only the tiniest bit weirded out by how much Steven Tyler loves Lauren. Here she is, the embodiment of sweet, innocent, pure-hearted teen-age girl. Like a Taylor Swift who can sing on key. How cute that our giggly girl didn't want to sing a lyric that said she was evil. How sad/odd that choosing a song without that lyric didn't occur to her. But, that's strategy. That's wanting to win--so, so bad. My heart will break if Lauren goes home tonight, and I will be haunted by Lady Ga-Ga's perma-goosed eyes.

So, no prediction tonight. With Jacob's final note wafting somewhere beyond the final planet, I'm content with the singers at hand. No single one of them deserves it more than the other. Clearly, the judges and producers want to hand it to James (probably because they're still stinging over Adam's loss); Lauren and Scotty are loved; and Haley just refuses to go quietly into that dark night. No prediction, but a bit of hope that the under dog will live to growl another day.

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