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?

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