A few IDOL thoughts

Hello, everyone! I’ll be bringing you my penultimate Voice recap tomorrow, God willing, but first, a few thoughts on American Idol‘s finale last night.

I’ve been an intermittent Idol watcher this season, which has been a relief – without the need to live-blog or any sort of real investment, you can fast-forward through all of Steven Tyler’s incoherent haiku and the inane Ford music videos – but yet, as a longtime Idol follower, I just found the finale so…unsurprising.

I don’t just mean your new Idol champion, though that has been a mortal lock since early April; as I facetiously noted earlier this week, “cute white guitar-playing boys really struggle to win this thing.” But every element of the show had a been-there, heard-that-from-Seacrest kinda vibe. For example, when the guys of the top 12 started singing “Coming to America,” “Cracklin’ Rosie” and “Daydream Believer,” the only way that Neil Diamond wasn’t joining them for a “Sweet Caroline” singalong was if there had been a freak accident in the Idol greenroom.

And even the moments that seemed “spontaneous!” were mile-away kinda enterprises. When Ryan pointed out former contestants in the crowd, ending with the “first Idol romance” of Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo and then inviting them to join him onstage, it was patently obvious that a televised proposal was in the works. Did anyone really think that Ryan Seacrest just wanted to have an extended chat about what was new and exciting in their lives? Just saying. (Credit to Ace Young for proposing using the patented Seacrest move: “I…will drag this out…for a while…to build suspense…and retain relevance.” Also, anyone else notice that he worked the name of the jeweler into the proposal? It is the Kardashians’ world, folks. We’re all just horrified visitors.)

Frankly, the only thing that I thoroughly enjoyed was the Idol producers FINALLY taking Randy Jackson to task for his repetitive cliches by having the top 12 literally “sing the phone book.” It was a delightful little skit that ended with Ryan Seacrest presenting him with a gift-wrapped phone book and saying “Get some new material before next year!” If not for the “next year” part, I would’ve given Ryan a standing ovation from my own living room.

As for our young Phillip Phillips, well, I am anxious to hear his first album, particularly since his single “Home” is pretty damn good, if a blatant Mumford & Sons photocopy. (At least it’s better than Scotty McCreary’s anthem last year, “I Love You This Big,” which sounded like a song from some straight-to-DVD kids’ program starring Elmo in a cowboy hat.) And I hope that runner-up Jessica Sanchez not only finds some material worthy of her big voice, but figures out how to use it; when challenged by the inimitable Jennifer Holliday during their “And I Am Telling You” duet, she finally showed the passion of a potentially great artist. (In a related story, I am telling you that I never want to hear that song again on any reality show ever.)

What say you, b-rollers? Any Idol watchers in the audience? What did you think of the show, and your new Idol champion Phillip? And can people please finally stop abusing their children by giving them the same first name as their last name?


TV Finale Round-Up

Howdy do, b-rollers! My apologies for disappearing, but April and May were just about two of the more hectic months in recent history. But thankfully, life is a bit calmer now so I plan to be b-rolling a bit more often, if you please. To begin, a few notes on our season finales and general TV thoughts:

  • I have not forgotten about The Voice, but I STILL haven’t watched the last two episodes of the year. (Yes, that busy.) So I shall recap them for you this week, and while I know this gives new meaning to the phrase “a day late and a dollar short,” our journey would feel incomplete otherwise.
  • Speaking of musical journeys, what a bizarre little world American Idol has become. Our finale this week will pit a ridiculously talented teenage android (she can hit a note, but don’t ask her to register emotion) against a very limited yet adorable boy who plays the guitar. It’s quite a toss-up, since cute white guitar-playing boys really struggle to win this thing. (Although judging by this slideshow, “win” is a relative term when discussing former Idol contestants.)
  • House ends tonight, and frankly, it’s time. The two hour finale will begin with a retrospective, during which the show’s creative team will surely talk about their decision to “go out on top, while the show’s still fresh” while the rest of us chuckle to ourselves. Still, we can mourn for the end of a once-awesome-but-still-enjoyable show, and an iconic character for which Hugh Laurie deserved a bazillion Emmys. And we can applaud the fact that someone was smart enough to give the gorgeous Australian doctor his own show this fall. Which I will watch. Frequently.
  • Speaking of iconic characters, series two of PBS’ (BBC import) Sherlock wrapped up last night, and holy hell, is that thing good. (Did you know that House/Wilson were based on Holmes/Watson? Tis true!) CBS is rolling out their own modern Sherlock series this fall, and it has a lot to live up to.
  • Smash ended last week, finishing its rocky inaugural season up by showing Katharine McPhee’s character, Karen, conquer the Marilyn Monroe musical Bombshell (which, for the record, looks way more interesting than Smash). My favorite moment of the episode – and maybe series – came when the musical’s writers sprinted through the halls of the theater with a new ending that would hopefully fix the flailing show with just five minutes to curtain; talk about a metaphor. Here’s hoping that Season 2 (with a new showrunner in place) brings more showing, less telling, no Ellis, and let’s agree never to discuss that Bollywood hallucination again.
  • That “five minutes to curtain” thing is still more believable than the high school show choir that wins Nationals despite nailing their set list down two days before the competition. Accurate as ever, Glee.
  • Grey’s Anatomy also concluded last week, with another plane crash that claimed the life of one of our beloved doctors (and maybe more, they’re still shivering in the woods somewhere). Okay, I watch this show every week and am incredibly invested, but did you note the use of the word “another”? That’s right, kids, there have now been two plane crashes in Seattle on Shonda Rhimes’ watch, and we haven’t even discussed the accidents involving ferries, cars, trains, buses, sinkholes, lions and deranged gunmen. The series finale will someday conclude with the Rapture, yes?
  • Community will go on (yay!) without the distinctive, warped stylings of series creator Dan Harmon (nay!). Leave it to NBC to follow up one good “let’s axe the showrunner and hope things improve” decision (Smash) with a terrible one (Community).

So – what are YOU watching?