Anoop Desai: In Memoriam

noah | April 23, 2009 8:30 am

Last night’s American Idol saw the exits of two contestants, as well as a bunch of weird stuff that made me wonder if Paula Abdul had secretly added producing the show to her choreography duties. There was a little bit of old (the disco medley that trotted out a bunch of disco-era stars, who were definitely not lipsyncing), a little bit of new (Lykke Li’s “I’m Good, I’m Gone” soundtracking the Ford ad), and a ghost of last year’s Idol (David Archuleta, who was forced to fill a minute with an awkward pep talk about Idol-derived “opportunities” for this week’s elimination candidates). Lil Rounds, as expected, went home, and was informed that she would be doing so in an elimination sequence that was as awkward as it was short. And then there was Anoop Desai, who had an off performance this week but who really deserved better from the judges during the course of the competition. After all, the awkward thing about Idol is that it’s slightly out of touch with what’s actually going on in pop music–not that being on top of it is always easy, mind you, but given that the Idol powers-that-be do get paid a lot of money to be arbiters of these sorts of things, you’d think they’d have the ability to at least turn on the radio once in a while. (Or to hire interns who could do so.) In a year where the producer-divined top two are working in genres that are either outdated (Danny Gokey’s Boltonish take on “inspirational music”) or unproven on a mass level in the States (Adam Lambert’s glammed-out mini-revues), Anoop was one of the two members of the Top 12 whose overall “thing” is close to what’s actually happening in one part of the pop charts, with Kris Allen’s Mraz-y charm being the other. He not only had the chops to play with falsetto on certain tracks, he had enough respect for songcraft to show restraint in his phrasing when it was called for–which, of course, is the kiss of death on Idol, a show that’s all about this big, bloated country that we call home. (In a lot of ways, the dorky, mawkish, utterly annoying Gokey is the perfect contestant for the show, but I’ll leave that depressing postmortem for another time.) Anyway, farewell, Anoop; you will be missed, and your shout-outs to the band as you were being shown the door proved your classiness even further. There is one good thing about your elimination: Idol‘s Top Five this year won’t be a sausage race. But then again, if Gokey had been voted off… American Idol [Official site] [Pic via Top Idol]