Five Reasons Why “American Idol” Is In No Way A Singing Competition

noah | April 30, 2008 8:30 am

Even if you don’t count Paula Abdul’s psychic critique of Jason Castro’s second performance, last night’s American Idol was so crummy, it made me wish for the dulcet tones (and fewer performances) of Andrew Lloyd Webber night. The pacing was off thanks to 10 songs, six video packages, and all that product placement being squeezed into one hour; Brooke White’s “crazy girl who just got dumped at the karaoke bar” performance of “I’m A Believer,” capped by a pair of sparkly pleather pants, was the most cringeworthy non-Archuleta outing of the night; David Cook once again proved that the judges have never listened to Puddle of Mudd. And for some reason, Randy’s assertion on freakin’ Neil Diamond night that because Idol is a singing competition, Jason’s performance was weak really grated on me. Not that Jason was spot-on last night–his performances were a bit wispy, and he should really have ditched the band for at least one of them–but the “singing competition” line is usually the judges’ way of saying “jump through more octave hoops,” and I’m sorry, last time I listened to Neil Diamond, he wasn’t exactly Mr. Technical Virtuosity. In lieu of writing up the five contestants, I’m going to run through five reasons why this line is crap–especially this year, the “best year of the show ever.”

5. If vocal prowess was that important, would the producers be as stowed away on the David Archuleta train as they are? Again, I point out that when the show’s powers that be look at Archie, they see Jonas Brothers money, to the point where they are blinded to his lack of charisma and the fact that he squeaked a bunch of notes on last night’s charmless, “let’s-trot-out-the-kid-for-show” performance of “America.” Then again, it’s not like Miley Cyrus has the best voice ever.

4. Yarling is not singing well, and neither is putting every song through the Our Lady Peace Filter. Can someone please give the judges a copy of Buzz Ballads sometime before the finals? Thanks in advance.

3. The best pure singer last night got a bunch of backhanded compliments about her future on Broadway, while others who stumbled were praised. Why the judges are consistently nasty about Syesha’s chances to win this whole thing (or, at least, come in second to Archie) is beyond me, especially on a night when Brooke’s “better” performance was marked by her voice’s “vinegary” qualities turning a lot of her notes sour.

2. Carly got sent home last week. Just saying.

1. David Archuleta’s performance of “Sweet Caroline,” which Randy called “the bomb.”

Surely I’m the only one who thought the old “cruise ship” line should have been brought out for this one? Or perhaps the “you didn’t hit half your notes” line would have worked better. Either way, I hope that Red Sox Nation is as offended by this performance as the Christian right was by Carly’s last week.

WHO’S GOING HOME: An odd combination of lousy performances, Jason Castro sympathy votes, and Simon Cowell telling Syesha that she was “in trouble” leads me to believe that we’re going to say goodbye to Brooke. Those of you with HD might want to stock up on Kleenex and wear your wellies, as tonight is going to be a waterworks.

PAULA ABDUL OUT-OF-IT SCALE: Al Shipley called it: This night went to 11. Not only did Paula give away her comments for Jason’s second performance before he even sang, she called Syesha “Brooke” and looked really, really tired. I did like the neckline on her dress, though.

Johnston out!

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