Month: May 2013

Awards show

With season twelve in the can, it’s time to hand out some awards. Apparently SAG doesn’t do awards shows pro bono, so I have to hand them out myself.

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Public Awards

Based on the results from the public voting, from the semifinals to the Nokia. Sponsored by a half off coupon from Pizza Rita.

  • Idol: Candice Glover
  • Top Male: Lazaro Arbos
  • Top Female: Candice Glover

Tour roster:

  • Candice Glover
  • Kree Harrison
  • Angie Miller
  • Amber Holcomb
  • Janelle Arthur
  • Lazaro Arbos
  • Burnell Taylor
  • Devin Velez
  • Paul Jolley
  • Curtis Finch
  • Aubrey Cleland

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Private Awards

Based on my own personal opinion, they are occasionally logical but mostly capricious and arbitrary. Sponsored by that weird little paper clip that keeps popping up to tell me how to spell can’t when I’m typing something about Nicki.

Most valuable contestant: Angie Miller

It’s close between the final three singers. I chose Angie because, while Candice was always considered the best singer, Angie was the one who generated the most buzz about her performances, her look, her off stage persona and most importantly – what she was going to do next. Candice, and to a lesser extent Kree, generated a lot of enjoyment, probably more than Angie. Angie, in my opinion, generated more interest.

Past winners:

  • Season 7- David Archuleta
  • Season 8- Adam Lambert
  • Season 9- Crystal Bowersox
  • Season 10- Scotty McCreery
  • Season 11- Jessica Sanchez

Most controversial contestant: Charlie Askew

Coming soon to a playground near you; just make sure he stays five hundred feet away. Honorable mention to Zoanette Johnson, who is batshit crazy.

  • Season 7- Carly Smithson
  • Season 8- Adam Lambert
  • Season 9- Siobhan Magnus
  • Season 10- Lauren Alaina
  • Season 11- Jermaine Jones

Most polarizing contestant– Lazaro Arbos

The man could sweat like a polar bear in a blast furnace, but the controversy was mostly over whether he was a savant or a mediocre talent who was pretending to be inexperienced.

  • Season 7- Jason Castro
  • Season 8- Danny Gokey
  • Season 9- Tim Urban
  • Season 10- Lauren Alaina
  • Season 11- Phillip Phillips

Aside: truthfully most of the controversy this year came from the judging table. I don’t think it was coincidental that the viewers started tuning out in droves about halfway through the season. The show’s focus needs to be on the stage, not in front of it.

Best looking contestant (male)- Lazaro Arbos

There had to some reason why he lasted as long as he did, right?

  • Season 7- Jason Castro
  • Season 8- Kris Allen
  • Season 9- Casey James
  • Season 10- Scotty McCreery
  • Season 11- Phillip Phillips

Best looking contestant (female)– Angie Miller

Lets skip this minefield and move the hell on. They are all beautiful. Leave me alone.

  • Season 7- Brooke White
  • Season 8- Kristen McNamara
  • Season 9- Didi Benami
  • Season 10- Pia Toscano
  • Season 11- Baylie Brown

Best pure voice (male)- Adam Sanders

He looked like a less masculine Chaz Bono, he acted like a Bravo housewife and he probably smelled like deep fried petroleum jelly, but the man’s voice was the closest thing to Adam Lambert we’ve seen since the original; even more so than JD.

  • Season 7- David Archuleta
  • Season 8- Adam Lambert
  • Season 9- Lee Dewyze
  • Season 10- James Durbin
  • Season 11- Joshua Ledet

Best pure voice (female)- Amber Holcomb

It might take her some time to fully harness it, but even Candice isn’t on her level of pure, raw talent. In most other years Candice would win in a walk, though. You would have to go back to Jordin Sparks to find a better tone among female singers.

  • Season 7- Carly Smithson
  • Season 8- Lil Rounds
  • Season 9- Crystal Bowersox
  • Season 10- Pia Toscano
  • Season 11- Skylar Laine

Most entertaining also-ran (male)– Charlie Askew

Hey, sociopaths are entertaining as hell. Is he a sociodork, or a dorkiopath?

Most entertaining also-ran (female)- Zoanette Johnson

She doesn’t need a reality show, she IS a reality show. Zoanette might have as much natural vocal talent as Amber. Talent is only a small part of the battle, though. Not being batshit crazy is a big part of the equation.

Survivor Award– Kree Harrison

I don’t think anyone had her making the finale before about the final five or six. I had her barely surviving each week until just a few weeks ago, because she always seemed so distracted and nervous.

Aside: In a way Candice is the ultimate survivor, having been rejected three years in a row before making the live shows this year. It shows just how subjective music is, doesn’t it? A singer good enough to win the entire show, good enough to become the Next American Idol, wasn’t impressive enough to even make the top fifty three years running. Last year she was dumped in Vegas despite singing every bit as well as she sang this year. The difference, literally the only difference, was that her weaknesses (being too tall, too thick and too black) last year weren’t considered weaknesses this year. While Candice obviously worked her personal woodshed down to the baseboards, what really changed wasn’t Candice; what changed was the perspective of her judges; her measurers.

An argument can be made that nothing can be objectively measured without establishing perspective; that perspective itself is an element of measurement. For artistic measurements like singing, dancing, painting, writing, etc.; perspective is frequently a larger variable than what is being measured. Because of this, it’s not just possible for someone as talented and accomplished as Candice to be rejected; it’s almost automatic if she doesn’t fit the perspective of her measurer(s). If the measurer doesn’t give any credit to her style of singing, it’s not going to matter how well she sings.

Candice’s voice, surrounded by other good voices, struggled to stand out. Her body, as a tall, dark skinned, thick bodied and mature looking woman in an ocean of young, short, thin, nubile young women, was never going to be an asset when the perspective of the “measurer” was predisposed towards young, short, thin and nubile women. Her Vegas performance last year (and subsequent rejection) caused an outcry among Idol’s internet followers, and finally got her the kind of attention she needed to stand out from the crowd. Once noticed last year, she took it to the house this year. Good for her.

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Performance Awards

Sponsored by whoever invented Youtube – and made it free.

Most creative– Candice Glover

She doesn’t get a lot of credit for it, mostly because they had her keep singing recycled songs, but she was extremely creative with her arrangements. She was able to make most of the old, tired standards sound new, and in many cases she exceeded the original Idol performances. “I (Who Have Nothing)” was an overdone boring piece of crap before Candice turned it into something special, for example, and her version of “Straight Up” was a nice hybrid of Paula Abdul’s original version and Andrew Garcia’s Idol reinvention.

  • Season 7- David Cook
  • Season 8- Adam Lambert
  • Season 9- Siobhan Magnus
  • Season 10- Casey Abrams
  • Season 11- Phil Phillips

Most thrilling early peak– Angie Miller

No obvious pick this year; there were no surprising flameouts or shocking eliminations once the live shows began other than Big Ugly, who ruined his own dinner. Angie gets the nod because she was the front runner for several weeks, but she didn’t really flame out. She just got lost in a numbers game, with three strong contenders for the finale. One of them had to lose.

  • Season 7- Chekeze Eze
  • Season 8- Lil Rounds
  • Season 9- Siobhan Magnus
  • Season 10- Pia Toscano
  • Season 11- Slylar Laine

Most consistent- Candice Glover

In a way Burnell was the most consistent, in that he was always the same – no matter what he sang.

  • Season 7- David Archuleta
  • Season 8- Adam Lambert
  • Season 9- Crystal Bowersox
  • Season 10- Scotty McCreery
  • Season 11- Jessica Sanchez

Most entertaining live performer (male)- Charlie Askew

Charlie was easily the most interesting male performer all year. He wasn’t my favorite (Burnell was), but he was the one who I most anticipated seeing, to see which version of Ted Bundy was going to show up. We’ll see him down the road, in Dorkapolooza or maybe Celebrity Rehab. Lets hope it’s not on the six o’clock news.

  • Season 7- David Cook
  • Season 8- Adam Lambert
  • Season 9- Casey James
  • Season 10- James Durbin
  • Season 11- Phil Phillips

Most entertaining live performer (female)- Candice Glover

The top five were all entertaining (when they were given decent material to sing), but Candice was the most creative performer and the best singer. Who else would I choose?

  • Season 7- Carly Smithson
  • Season 8- Allison Iraheta
  • Season 9- Crystal Bowersox
  • Season 10- Haley Reinhart
  • Season 11- Skylar Laine

Flameout award (male)- Adam Sanders

The best male voice in the entire pool finished just outside the top 40, because he was too immature. He’s a weird combination; sort of a project runway reject who degenerated into a fat, sloppy dorkfish; but also a lazy, sloppy manchild whose mother needs to clamp down on and make him clean his room, clip his toenails and for chrissakes take a shower. My advice to him, if he asked me, would be to get serious about diet and hygiene first, then get a vocal coach who can clean up his vocal chops.

  • Season 7- David Hernandez
  • Season 8- Jorge Nunez
  • Season 9- Andrew Garcia
  • Season 10- Robbie Rosen
  • Season 11- Adam Brock

Flameout award (female)- Shubha Vedula

She is so young, only sixteen, that she should be forgiven her mistakes, but she was perfect all season until halfway through her final 40 song, when she suddenly forgot how to sing. It ain’t easy to sing in front of millions of people like that. Only a rule against it ( she was top 40, but didn’t make the live shows) would keep her from coming back next year, and she should handle the pressure a lot better with some experience under her belt. She could certainly make the tour next year, or even contend for the win. She is a special talent.

  • Season 7- Amanda Overmeyer
  • Season 8- Lil Rounds
  • Season 9- Ashley Rodriguez
  • Season 10-Paris Tassin
  • Season 11- Baylie Brown

Best audition (male)- Sanni M’Mairura

He didn’t go deep this year, but I ain’t worried yet. He is a special talent, and only sixteen years old. We will see him again, assuming he wants to try Idol again (and Idol is still on the air after next year).

  • Season 7- David Archuleta
  • Season 8- Danny Gokey
  • Season 9- Andrew Garcia
  • Season 10- Casey Abrams
  • Season 11- Jairon Jackson

Best audition (female)- Megan Miller

Did they dump her in favor of Angie Miller, like they gave the back of the hand to the “wrong” Lauren a couple of years ago? Megan was the Miss something (Baton Rouge?) who showed up for her audition on crutches, told Ryan “I got this” and sang like Carrie Underwood. I was shocked that she didn’t make the final 40. Honorable mention to Candice, ship sinking jazz smurf Jesaiah Baer (skip to about 2:20 or so) and the not so shrinking violet haired Stephanie Sanson.

  • Season 7- Kristy Leigh Cook
  • Season 8- Lil Rounds
  • Season 9- Didi Benami
  • Season 10-Paris Tassin
  • Season 11- Ashley Robles

Best Hollywood performer (male): Curtis Finch

He looked like he was going to contend for the win, playing with his melodies like an old pro amongst his amateur friends. Unfortunately for him, his amateur friends got better while he kept playing around, and he got his happy butt dumped. Check out the list below… Gokey was the only one who made the top five, and a couple of them didn’t even make the tour. It ain’t always good to get the pimping early; by the live shows everyone is sick of you.

  • Season 7- David Hernandez
  • Season 8- Danny Gokey
  • Season 9- Andrew Garcia
  • Season 10- Casey Abrams
  • Season 11- Reed Grimm

Best Hollywood performer (female)- Candice Glover

It was either Candice, Angie or Kree unless you liked Zoanette’s impression of Reed Grimm gone off his meds.

  • Season 7- Carly Smithson
  • Season 8- Lil Rounds
  • Season 9- Lilly Scott
  • Season 10- Lauren Turner
  • Season 11- Skylar Laine

Best live performance (male)- Burnell Taylor, “My Cheri Amour”

Best of a bad lot more than a moment, but genuinely entertaining.

  • Season 7- David Cook, “Billy Jean”
  • Season 8- Adam Lambert, “Born to be Wild”
  • Season 9- Casey James “Jealous Guy”
  • Season 10- James Durbin, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”
  • Season 11- Phil Phillips, “We’ve Got Tonight”

Best live show single performance (female)- Candice Glover, “I (who have nothing)”

She did it twice; the internet said she won the competition with her second performance (linked above), but I preferred her first one because it was so unexpected. I had never liked the song, and Candice made me love it like she wrote it.

  • Season 7- Carly Smithson “Jesus Christ Superstar”
  • Season 8- Allison Iraheta “Someone to watch over me”
  • Season 9- Crystal Bowersox “Up to the Mountain”
  • Season 10- Haley Reinhart, “House of the Rising Sun”
  • Season 11- Jessica Sanchez, “You Are So Beautiful”

Best Judge- Keith Urban

Nicki started out like she was going to be a force, and she was a force. She was the single largest factor in Idol’s loss of audience share this year, specifically because she was such a force. Lost in all the horse manure coming from Nicki’s self promotion death-laser machine was that Keith Urban gave succinct, accurate feedback with a good sense of humor as well as a good sense of moment. He hasn’t committed to leaving yet so there is hope, but I don’t expect him back. Who would want to go through it again after spending a year with Nicki? Nobody signs up to get a root canal if he just had one.

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TERRY’S BIG FIVE AWARDS

Enough preamble; it’s time to give out my five major awards for Idol’s twelfth season: The Chekeze, the Casey, the Allie, the Adam and the Carrie. I’ll talk about them as if they are important, mainstream awards; but I’m just making them up. Some day, if they catch on, you read it here first.

The Chekeze

The Chekeze award is for the single most electrifying live show performance before the tour roster is set. Past winners:

  • Season 7- Chekeze Eze, “She’s a Woman”
  • Season 8- Adam Lambert- “Satisfaction”
  • Season 9- Siobhan Magnus- “Paint it Black”
  • Season 10- Pia Toscano, “All in Love is Fair”
  • Season 11- Skylar Laine, “Stay With Me”

Drum roll……. the season twelve Chekeze Award goes to……..

Amber Holcomb for “My Funny Valentine”, Top 40 Sudden Death Round

Idol didn’t air a single note of Amber singing until this performance; saving her like they saved Pia in season ten, Siobhan in season nine, or Jessica Sanchez last year. As great as those three were, Amber’s debut was the best of the bunch. There have been lots of singers more polished than Amber on Idol over the years, but I humbly submit that Amber has the most lively voice the show has ever heard.

The Casey

Loosely defined, the “Casey” is for the best all around musician of the season. I picked Casey as the title for obvious reasons, as you will see when you look at the list of winners.

  • Season 7- Brooke White
  • Season 8- Matt Giraud
  • Season 9- Casey James
  • Season 10- Casey Abrams
  • Season 11- Reed Grimm

Drum Roll…. the season twelve Casey Award goes to……

Angie Miller

Her piano work is legitimately impressive, and she became the first Idol contestant ever to compete by singing a song she wrote herself.

The Allie

I didn’t specifically define it until season eleven, but I think of the Allie as a female contestant and the previous winners had all been female; so the Allie Award is officially a female award. Basically, the “Allie” goes to my favorite girl who makes the finals. Past winners:

  • Season 7- Brooke White
  • Season 8- Allison Iraheta
  • Season 9- Siobhan Magnus
  • Season 10- Haley Reinhart
  • Season 11- Hollie Cavanagh

Drum roll….. the season twelve Allie award goes to……

Amber Holcomb

I don’t imagine that was a surprise. Honestly, though, I could have seen any of the final five being a worthy “Allie”, as well as many or most of the rest of the final twenty girls. Had the guys been eligible, Burnell would have also been worthy. 

The Adam

The Adam award is for the “moment-maker” of the season. Think of it as the “entertainer of the year” equivalent. Past winners:

  • Season 7- David Cook
  • Season 8- Adam Lambert
  • Season 9- Crystal Bowersox
  • Season 10- Haley Reinhart
  • Season 11- Joshua Ledet

Drum roll….. the season twelve Adam award goes to……

Candice Glover

Angie could have won in some years, but I think Candice was the obvious choice.

The Carrie

I think of it as the “most likely to succeed” award. Past winners:

  • Season 7- David Cook
  • Season 8- Adam Lambert
  • Season 9- Crystal Bowersox
  • Season 10- Scotty McCreery
  • Season 11- Phil Phillips

Drum roll… the season twelve award goes to…..

Candice Glover

If Idol was still a 30 million viewer show I might choose Kree, or maybe even Amber, but it’s about half that now. Candice shouldn’t be compared to Lee Dewyze, who was a questionable winner, but with the declining viewership none of these singers can be considered strong candidates to sell tons of albums.

I thought about doing one more article, recapping the year and talking about next year, but instead I’ll just add my two cents here at the bottom of the awards show post. Five things I think about American Idol, in no particular order:

1: Nicki Minaj was a good idea in a vacuum, but in hindsight the worst thing the show could have done. She started out well, providing interest in the show and giving some indication that she would care about the contestants and the show’s future during the auditions. As the show moved on, though, she turned into the same narcissistic autocrat she’s always been; half gangster wannabe ghetto whore, half thorazined disney princess, the entire package made completely out of plastic. While I respect her for her success, and the hard work she put in to get where she is – there is nothing about her talent, her personality or her background that makes her qualified to judge a singing competition. Idol needed a new engineer – and they hired a trainwreck. If they do it again, it could kill the show.

2: America’s pool of singing talent is a constantly restocked, renewable resource, not a dry well as some critics like to claim. Idol’s own pool of Hollywood rejects each year could fill the cast of any singing competition, without a noticeable drop-off in talent. The raw talent is actually increasing, not decreasing. Go back a few years and watch some video, and it will be obvious to you.

3: The days of thirty million viewers are over. Network TV as a whole is bleeding audience share like a stuck pig, accentuating Idol’s ratings decline. Idol needs to find a comfort zone at a lower level, like other cultural monoliths like SNL did. Idol is roughly where Saturday Night Live was around 1986. At that point it wasn’t a sure thing that SNL would become an institution, and at this point it’s far from sure that Idol will continue to be America’s singing contest.

4. “The Voice” is not going to replace Idol. I like “The Voice”, but where are the former Voice contestants in the mainstream? Idol will lord over Voice until Voice produces a transcendent star. With viewership dropping like a rock for network TV in general, finding that star will be harder and harder. The Voice tends to spotlight its judges a little too much, I think, to give their contestants the kind of public push they need to go viral after the show ends. Idol’s largest mistake has been that they have copied this, getting away from the real stars of reality shows – the contestants.

5: If Idol is going to survive, they need to get the attention back on the stage, and off the judging table. It’s hard enough to create buzz for unknown, amateur singers. Giving airtime every week to J-Lo or Mariah, or for chrissakes Nicki, will create buzz for – J-Lo or Mariah, or for chrissakes Nicki. The amateur singers get lost in the shuffle.

I advocated bringing back former contestants like Adam Lambert, Jennifer Hudson and Kelly Clarkson a couple of weeks ago. If the rumors are correct, Idol is going to do this. J-Hud is reportedly negotiating to join the judging table. If this is true, it’s a huge step forward for multiple reasons.

First, I can’t imagine that Mariah will want to come back with Jen there. Second, the closed door behind Nicki will be locked. Idol has already announced that they are going back to three judges, which would be brilliant if it wasn’t so obvious. Nigel’s head is on the block, and it should be. He means well, but his idea of rock and roll is Elvis and Frank Sinatra. Idol desperately needs to get fresher, if not actually younger. While I think classic rock and pop are viable themes, there has to be someone out there who can take over managing the show without putting bow ties on everyone and making them sing a bunch of old torch songs.

Congratulations Candice, good luck to all of the contestants as they make their way in their post-Idolyptic worlds, and see you next year.