Thursday, May 26, 2011

American Idol Finale (Review)

I have been watching American Idol religiously ever since it started airing early this year. When the show’s Top 13 were revealed, I not only agreed with the judges’ choices but was happy that all 13 of them were super talented in their own way. However, I had never imagined that Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina would be battling out at the final for the idol crown. I personally think that these two are the vocally weakest and least experienced in terms of showmanship among the Top 13. Every week, I saw the vocal powerhouses such as Pia Toscano, Casey Abrams, James Durbin, Jacob Lusk and Haley Reinhart got voted out. Shockingly, one after another, just like that.  Don’t get me wrong, the top two are both good singers despite their tender ages but Jeez, compared to those who were voted out before them, I am sure these two as well must be shell-shocked to be competing in the finale. At this stage, it is clear that this show is not all about vocal competition anymore. Anyway…here's what I think about the finale. 

American Idol 2011 finale was a star-studded spectacular extravaganza. The show started out with top 13 performing a rousing rendition of Lady GaGa’s “Born This Way”. Then the heavy metal band, “Judas Priest” featuring the rocker of this season, James Durbin rocked the house. James’s soaring vocals and impeccable showmanship got us thinking why he was not even voted to be in the Top 3. There’s no justice in the world. After their performance, the reigning prince of Gospel Kirk Franklin and Jacob Lusk’s duet took us all to church.  One of my most favorite singers this season, Jacob sang with the legendary Gladys Knight. What a treat it was for Jacob! I hope he finds his career path in Gospel music.

Jack Black and Casey Abrams’s duet “Fat bottomed girls” provided comic relief but let’s not forget the remarkable vocal range of Black’s. He may be the funny man but his singing talent is no joke. Afterward, the ladies of Top 13 performed Beyonce medley and it was fun to see the divas of AI once again. They each had a chance to showcase their vocal chops with various Beyonce numbers. Towards the end, Beyonce appeared on stage and performed her smash hit, “Crazy in love” with the girls and of course she showed’em girls how it’s done!

Haley Reinhart, possibly the most remarkable voice of the bunch showed her versatility singing a jazzy number with the great Tony Bennet. “Stepping out with my baby” has been sung by numerous artists over the years but Haley managed to make her mark with her rendition. I wish that she would include a few jazzy numbers on her album. I love her husky tone in her voice. After their duet, TLC took over the stage. When Ryan Seacrest announced their name, I didn’t believe it.  TLC? Seriously? In 2011? I thought. The remaining members T-Boz and Chilli sang “No Scrubs" and then “Water Fall”. I almost cried. These songs were great Rn’B songs of the 90’s and God knows how much I adore TLC! Tim McGraw and Scotty Mc sang a duet but it was somewhat forgettable. Marc Anthony sang one of his salsa numbers and Jennifer Lopez gave a surprised appearance. What cute couple! The husband sounded sensational and the wife looked smoking hot. If anything, this woman CAN dance!

The best performance of the night belonged to Lady GaGa who performed one of her new songs from her newly released album called “Edge of Glory”.  As usual, she sang it whole-heartedly. It could be the dance moves or her outfit but the song somehow reminded me of Irene Cara’s “What a feeling” from “Fleshdance”. Once GaGa exited, the boys of top 13 sang Tom Jones medley and Tom Jones himself joined the boys and sang one song on stage with them.  Although he could still easily put on a good show, I guess, at this age, his once tremendous vocal range has lost its glory.

By the time Lauren Alaina started singing “Before He Cheats”, I already knew who her duet partner would be. Of course, it was Carrie Underwood. They both did great and sang their hearts out. Poor Lauren nervously tried to hold her own but it was Carrie who was determined not to get upstaged by a new comer. She took it home with a last big note while Lauren looked on. Meow!!!

Later on, Beyonce came back on stage and belted out one of her new songs namely “1+1”. While her soaring vocals and tireless energy should be praised, the song’s melody was definitely questionable. There was a piano led tune playing in the back but it sounded like it had nothing to do with what she was singing. She sang the heck out of that song and looked stunning as usual in her grey gown but sorry B, that song was weird. Perhaps with time, it will probably grow on me. And I hope it does.

Next, U2’s Bono and The Edge performed a song called “rise above” from the maligned Spider man musical with its actor Reeve Carney. Personally, I find the song a bit dull for a Broadway musical. A good song but it would be much more suitable as a film song.  Before they announced the winner of the show, Steven Tyler dressed in white sat in front of a white piano and started wailing his old Aerosmith hit “Dream on”. At the age of 63, his pipes are still golden. He delivered a spine-tingling performance of that song. Way to go, Papi!

When Ryan Seacrest came up on stage and announced the winner, it was as expected Scotty Mccreery. Obviously, this country-singing boy had got the girls texting. I just hope that both he and the runner up Lauren don’t become the last year’s Lee Dewyze and Crystal Bowersox whose albums flopped big time despite being America’s favorites at last year’s Idol. Those teenage girls went wild and voted for Lee Dewyze too but when his album came out, not many were there to buy his albums and lend support.  As a result, his album became the lowest ever charting debut by an American Idol winner. Where have all those screaming girls gone right??? Good luck, Scotty!

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