Thursday, May 22, 2008
"you have chosen.......wisely"
In the spirit of the new Indiana Jones film, released today, I have stolen a quote from the knight guarding the Holy Grail in "Last Crusade" after Indy chooses the correct goblet. However, this post is not about the new Indy movie; I will be talking about that soon after I see it tomorrow night. This post is about the crowing of our new American Idol, David Cook.
I was checking my messages on MySpace earlier and noticed a bulletin expressing disapproval of America's choice in picking Cook over Archuleta in the battle of the Davids. It got me thinking, "I wonder how many people were surprised by this." I was certainly one of them, as I felt that Archuleta's likability was off the charts and he sang very well (for his age). I have to mention his age because the trophy has been given to a few youngsters out there who I feel will not achieve their true critical peak for several years. I think timing was the only thing that was not in young David's favor.
American Idol is about choosing the next great recording artist, as Simon Cowell has informed us on more than one occasion. As much as I love Taylor Hicks, who won the Season 5 crown, his style is far too specific to attract a large enough crowd of buyers. His Joe Cocker style and motown-esque delivery is excellent and I really do like his album but that year I feel that America got it wrong. It's pretty obvious that Chris Daughtry is the one people wanted to hear, as his debut album became the best-selling album of the year.
To follow that same pattern, I think David Cook is the right choice as his music will appeal to a far greater audience who will actually purchase his album (or download it as most do these days). The purpose of American Idol, from my point of view, is to help revive the music industry after a devastating slump of poor sales. The only way that can happen is to put an artist out there that people would pay to hear (or see live). Archuleta was probably the most consistently solid performers on Idol, possibly across the entire history of the show. Every single week, he came out and did his thing and America ate it up like apple pie and root beer floats. Many of the other contestants even started calling it "The David Archuleta Show", and winner David Cook said of Archuleta on the finale "I"m just trying to keep up with this kid."
Overall, I've actually been less interested in this season than any previous one, despite the judges' attempts at garnering improved interest by saying that this is the best group so far. I felt that many of the performers were way out of their league. The real shocker for me was the ousting of Carly Smithson, who definitely can sing. She actually had a record deal before Idol but she was dropped after her debut album sold only a couple hundred copies despite a rumored multi-million dollar promotional campaign. I feel that she will probably get a new deal and this time someone will know how to market her properly. I feel that if you have millions of dollars and fail to get the attention of the music-buying population, you are not the marketing whiz you give yourself credit for.
One of the contestants I feel had no place in this competition is Amanda Overmyer, and it was painfully obvious during last night's finale in which she danced awkwardly among the other girls and looking completely bored and out of place. She is the token "rocker chick" with a southern-fried, Janis Joplin approach which she layers over every performance, unsuccessfully. She's a good enough singer in her own right, but far too awkward to fit in with the shiny, happy bunch she was contending with.
In summary I feel America got it right, which is typical with the exception of Taylor Hicks who fell through the cracks despite a great voice and huge following, known as the "Soul Patrol". Nearly every crowned Idol has become a multi-platinum selling artist and two have become Grammy winners (Clarkson has 2, Underwood has 3). The machine that is American Idol continues to introduce fresh new talent and cause the kind of voter turnout that our presidential nominations still have yet to garner.