Wednesday, May 13, 2009

American Idol- Top 3 Results

Was Jordin Sparks lip-syncing?

Who told Katy Perry it was ok to endorse Adam Lambert via cape?

How come there was so much less contestant crying at the Homecomings this year as compared to all of the Final Three last year?

But who cares at this point!!!

Who should have been eliminated: Danny Gokey

Who I predicted would be eliminated: Danny Gokey

Who was eliminated: Danny Gokey

Well, this was worth the wait! What a difference from last week in being able to feel good about these results. I am really pleased with this, despite the fact that I will have to wait another week to hear the meltdown of all meltdowns from zealots in a certain fan base and despite the fact that my endorsed candidate's opponent might wind up being at least a little bit more formidable.

This was a good night though, and that includes some new-found respect and goodwill towards Danny Gokey as well. I guess pre-packaged "homecoming" montages and farewell montages as well can play with one's mind, but as I said last night, I really do wish the best for Danny. I certainly think the earliest of the pimpees this season was definitely overrated to some extent, and I admit that I found him to be really creepy sort of early on this season and at times since. However, I have to respect him for his talent and his perseverance. I do not know how aware he is of all the hate that has been directed at him from the Idol chattering class, but I hope he gets a fresh start with many people now. He is not evil. He is not even ghoulish. He just is a kid who grew up in somewhat sheltered circumstances and does not realize that he can come across at times as a tool. He is young and with this exposure to show business, he will grow both as an artist and as a person. I doubt he will be signed by 19 Entertainment, but he will have a great chance to have a successful career in the Christian music field. Maybe that is really all he wants out of this experience at this point anyway.

The biggest strike against Danny in the eyes of many was that he auditioned for the show (the last year he would have been eligible to), just weeks after his wife suddenly passed away. As to be expected, American Idol overplayed that aspect of his back-story at the beginning of the season and a backlash quickly developed. Gokey and his family were not sophisticated enough to see the implications that was going to have for his Idol career. While his critics will claim that several of his song choices were veiled plays for sympathy, his widower status had not been mentioned or alluded to in the show at all for quite a while, until this evening, when I think it was done appropriately.

Now, that Danny is off American Idol, and does not have to be worried about accusations of an unfair sympathy advantage, I hope that if he feels the need to talk publicly about Sophia, that he does so. What he has gone through over the past ten months is hard to imagine, but everyone grieves differently. It's easy to lose track of that in such a massive pop-culture competition show like this when you have your favorites or your least favorites, but I imagine his late wife has never really left his mind, and that away from the Idol bubble, it could be a rough adjustment. At the same time, while I think he should not have outlasted a few contestants that he did, Danny ought to feel proud of himself. Sophia certainly would be. Good luck to him. He will never be quite the musical cup of tea for many Idol watchers, such as myself, but from this point on, it is useless to ever again extend any energy towards "hating" on him.

So, we have our Final Two of Adam Lambert and Kris Allen, and I am really looking forward to next week.

Looking back though on this season is also pretty interesting to me. Back during the Hollywood rounds, (when nobody even knew who Kris Allen was), I had a feeling that the eventual winner would either be Anoop Desai or some "dark horse" who was not even on anybody's radar at that point. I also would point out to some Democrats online the yet to be broken Idol streak of the winner always winding up coming from one of the "red states."

I have talked about how I saw some potential in Kris during his semifinal performance but many did not give him much of a chance of advancing to the Finals. When he ultimately did, many said he would soon be gone, but I had a feeling he would stick around longer than most expected. To be sure, I had my incorrect hunches early on in the Finals, such as shock Gokey or Lambert ousters at around the 6 to 4 slot. Of course, I even formally predicted that Kris would be eliminated last week, when Allison sadly was. (Conservative Democrat, you ought to remember all your prediction comments as well, where you seemed to predict that Kris would be eliminated almost every week!)

As time has gone by though throughout the Finals, I began to have more and more of a vision of Kris outlasting Danny and I said at the end of April that I thought it might all come down to Adam vs. Kris.

Now, here we are. For Kris, after being written off as early season "cannon fodder", after all the times he would be listed at the bottom of the Dial Idol predictions, after all the dismissive comments, and attempted busing by the judges, Kris has survived, all the way to the Finale. I will have my final formal prediction after the singing next week, but as of now, I will say this:

Kris Allen will win American Idol.

All the time I saw him sneaking up on the competition, I thought that if Kris could only get into a Finale match-up with a likely opponent of either Adam or Danny, he would be the inoffensive second choice of enough people to inherit those votes. Kris has a religious background and a humble demeanor that makes it easy for conservatives to like him, and he seems "non-judgmental" and close enough personally to Adam to make more liberal folks also like him. If this were a tv show such as "Survivor", we would be saying that Kris played the game brilliantly. However, all he has basically done was be himself, and while Adam is very talented, and came into this season that way, Kris has shown a great deal of growth musically. To those who used that as a rationale for supporting Cook over Archuleta last year, that ought to matter.

Now, when the show began tonight and Seacrest announced that a whopping 88 million votes had been cast, but yet only about a million separated the top two, I did sort of think that could mean there was somewhat less potential for a conventional wisdom upset, and that could be bad news for Kris.

We know now though that he must have outpolled Gokey by a somewhat decent margin, and was only about a million behind (or perhaps even ahead of Lambert, whose fans may have been a little bit more nervous than expected today as well.) If this special kind of run-off election, the momentum and the growth potential are with Kris.

Entertainment writers in newspapers or whatnot are still going to say that Adam is favored to win. Simon Cowell will probably make the tv rounds saying the same thing and claiming that Kris got by just because of his performance of "Heartless", but if anybody really follows American Idol and also happens to understand politics, they should realize that this is now Kris's game to lose.

Adam has a ton of fans and they will vote for him in a big way next week, no matter how good or how bad he sounds. The same will be said for a lot of Kris's fans who have been with him from the beginning. I just think though that Kris will get more of the casual voters and will also pick up the lion's share of Gokey voters who still want to take part. Both Danny and Kris come from Evangelical Christian backgrounds and would be considered more mainstream performers than what one British newspaper has coined the "pansexual alien gorgeousness" of Adam Lambert. If Adam loses, we will hear cries of bigotry and homophobia, and while some portion of America may just not be ready for a gay Idol, Adam's big problem is that his style of dramatic, at times over the top wailing, complete with dyed hair, eyeliner, nailpolish, and crazy snakeskin boots is just not going to win over many people who have not been with him from the start, as compared to the clean cut, soft spoken southern boy, with the pretty, blonde new wife (who may already be knocked up.)

While the video package of Adam's trip to San Diego on Friday was far from bad for him, I do think it sort of failed to make as big of a connection with the sentimental viewer, than the footage of Kris's trip home. Adam came across more of the somewhat exotic, already famous, celebrity, gracing his fans with some of his attention, while Kris looked more like a surprised neighbor returning home, finding it hard to compute the turn his life had suddenly taken.

America likes to root for the underdog, and I have a hunch that is what will play out next week, even though, Kris may not really be the underdog at this point after all.

So, I suppose the only remaining question that I have yet to find out is who won the coin toss this evening for the right to sing second next Tuesday. It's very possible that Simon Cowell and Idol designed a special coin for the occasion that has Adam Lambert's face both heads and tails.

Whatever the order, it should be interesting. I maintain that Kris would have beaten Danny by a landslide (no way many Adam voters would have gone for Gokey), but Kris vs. Adam will receive much higher ratings and greater public interest. Good luck to them both. I have we have six (or four?) awesome performances.

Further good news for Kris is that in almost every season of watching Idol, the person I wanted to win going into the Finale winds up deserving in my mind to take the title (I was for Bo, but agree that Carrie won the showdown) and that person also almost always wins (last season's David showdown being the exception.) I have never been surprised by any Finale result yet, but before they sing next week, I would be surprised now if Adam finds a way to win this.

Allen '09!