Tuesday, April 26, 2005

"Idol" Watch

For the first time this season, I wasn't all that excited about watching "Idol." No, not because of the latest off-camera developments, which I'll get to later. Instead, two of the singers I really liked, Nadia and Anwar, are gone and I'm not impressed enough by any of those remaining to care who wins anymore. Someone will, and good for them, and I'll go back to listening to my Jason Mraz CD.
Then, when I actually was watching tonight, it was one of those nights when "Idol" is especially tiresome. You know: The producers have realized they may end up trying to sell albums by any of the remaining contestants, so they have to spruce up everyone's image. So we got Visiting the Contestants' Home Towns, and a much kinder than usual Simon. (Randy, meanwhile, was tougher than usual and Paula even found some less-than-glowing phrases for some of the contestants.)
The show also threw a big fat one across the plate for the contestants: songs from the last five years. Any genre, obviously, so all the contenders can go to their strengths. Carrie was back in a country vein, digging into the Martina McBride catalog; Bo offered up a rendition of the "I Don't Want to Be" (which my wife immediately recognized as the theme from "One Tree Hill"); Vonzell went for Christian Aguilera's "I Turn To You"; Anthony proffered Celine's "I Surrender"; Constantine went back to rocking (sort of) with Nickelback's "How You Remind Me" (and thanks to my 16-year-old son for knowing that one) and Scott CLOSED THE SHOW with Luther's "Dance With My Father."
Still, in spite of the easy category, the show wasn't that great. On my scorecard, Bo came in first (continuing his resurrection) followed by a tie between Carrie and Anthony (even if his faux-Clay manner was more evident with the real Clay Aiken in the audience), then a three-way tie between Vonzell, Constantine and Scott. Vonzell seemed unusually bad, especially given her confidence in recent weeks; Constantine was dull.
But I suspect the producers liked the shifting fortunes among the contenders because it sets up a possible surprise on the results show tomorrow night. Even those of us disappointed by the recent votes can't really call them surprises.
Yet the shocker of the night was that Scott, given the closing spot on the show, butchered his song so much that he didn't get the glowing notices that usually accompany the final performer of the night. (The show wants the audience to leave happy, after all.) And that was even more surprising since the clips of his family and home life were setting Scott up as the likable average guy, "the heart and soul of America," the working-class hero. We'll see if the voters paid more attention to the introduction or the performance.
And now on to recent developments: ABC is planning an expose of "Idol" for next week (conveniently during the May sweeps). The network hasn't released many details but it may involve recent allegations by former "Idol" contestant Corey Clark in the tabloid the Globe.
According to Jeannette Walls' report about the Globe piece on MSNBC.com -- which I read because it was less embarrassing than reading the Globe itself -- Clark is claiming an affair with Paula Abdul while he was on the show and that Justin Guarini also bragged about having an affair with the Idol judge. Abdul has reportedly denied the claims, as has Guarini. And Simon Cowell told the syndicated show "Extra" that he considered the charges "rubbish."
I don't know one way or another. The only thing I can point to is that Clark had a reputation for some wild behavior on "Idol" before this latest talk (and before he was kicked off "Idol" for facing legal problems he had not disclosed to the show). In his book "I don't mean to be rude, but..." Cowell said that "I think some of the girls (on the show) were sorry to see (Clark) go ''' because apparently he'd had a threesome with two of them." (Cowell offers "speculation" about which two, but you can look that up in the book.)
Anyway, the Clark story was tough for Abdul because she was already answering speculation about her outlandish on-air behavior (very much reined in on Tuesday's show) with a story in People magazine about her "secret battle" with reflex sympathetic dystrophy, which she is finally treating so successfully that "I'm dancing for joy."
I'd have more interest in the People story if it didn't contain one interesting abrupt transition from Abdul: "A few years later I was a Laker girl and I was in a couple of car accidents. As a result, I had some serious neck problems." Whoa! Whoa! What was that about "a couple of car accidents"?

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