Tuesday, May 22, 2007

American Idol: Jordin Sparks vs. Blake Lewis

At long last, it was time for the finals of American Idol, and this will be the last post of the sort until next season.

Last week, Melinda Doolittle, who was likely the best singer in the field, was eliminated, in what was not a tremendous shock to me, but a result that I felt was quite unfortunate. There seems to be a ceiling on American Idol that women over a certain age just are not able to climb. It also signified the first time that the winner of American Idol will not hail from the south.

So, this week saw it come down to Jordin Sparks, age 17, of Arizona and Blake Lewis, age 25, of Washington in a matchup of two marketable performers that probably pleased the producers of the show.

They each sang three songs and the judges seemed to bill it as a better singer in Jordin against a better performer in Blake. Well, to me, it is primarily a singing competition, and that is what I judged it on. Jordin was the better singer tonight, in all three rounds, and deserves to be the next American Idol, and likely will be by a decisive margin.

They were each to sing a song that they had already performed this season, a new number, as well as their rendition of the prototypical cheesy tearjerker ballad, this time penned by Idol fans in a contest.

Blake started off the night with his unique interpretation of Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name." The beatboxing is good, but I did not really enjoy the way he sang the song when he first did it, and I guess nothing changed. Jordin immediately followed by singing Christina Aguilera's "Fighter", without any of the skankiness contained in the music video and did a pretty decent, if not spectacular job. Clearly, Jordin was trying to sing a different type of song and show off her youthfulness.

Next, came Blake with Maroon Five's "She Will be Loved", which is one of the rare pop songs from the past few years that I actually like. This was Blake's best song of the night and he does indeed have a good voice when he tries to sing something normally, but at times it appeared that he was really stretching to imitate the distinctive falsesetto of the lead singer. Jordin then followed with an encore of her take on the country hit "On Broken Wings" or whatever it is called, by Martina McBride (a past performer at a GOP convention) and was extremely good.

Finally, it was time for the performers to sing the song that will be the first released singer of the eventual winner and the the song that won the writers' contest was entitled "This Is My Now" and was everything that could be expected. Had David Hasselhoff been at the Kodak Theater for the finale, as he was last year, he would have been crying. One can only hope that he was not drunk on his bathroom floor struggling with a cheeseburger at the moment. Also, it might not be a good idea for him to have a Chihauha, considering the unfortunate nose incident that Paula Abdul went through.

Anyways, Blake sang the corny ballad and was not horrible or anything, but it clearly was not his type of song. He knew it. The judges knew it. The audience knew it and everyone knew it.

It was however, the perfect type of song for Jordin Sparks who managed to dramatically break down at the very end of the emotional number, but of course when the recap aired, she did not have that reaction. I guess the rumors about the dress rehearsal performances being used for that purpose was right all along.

So, expect the well-deserving Jordin to be crowned American Idol during a chock filled two hour broadcast on Wednesday night and expect to be extremely sick of finding her singing "This Is My Now" when surfing through radio stations in the near future.

And what is up with Chris Daughtry's eye liner and eye shadow? If he is going to go all glam rock, he should at least have a wig.