It’s the most popular show in the US, and the finals are like the Gay Super Bowl. American Idol was the topic of this past weekend’s parties–ironic, as we could have been at Coachella, where there was real music. But who cares about Depeche Mode’s new album when you can debate the demise of Kellie Pickler?
Our rundown on the pros and cons of each contestant:
• Elliott Yamin: Very strong, but starting to show wear and tear in the vocals. And that vibrato he’s got is about to vibrate his voice box right out of his throat.
Why he won’t win: The same reason Mandisa got the boot: he doesn’t look the part. People have this fantasy that Mandisa was kicked to the curb because she sang a Christian rock song, where she pledged allegiance to God and seemingly spurned the gays. But she didn’t lose many gay votes, because most gay people aren’t voting at all anymore. Gays are bored with Idol. Gays watch, but they don’t dial in the multiple votes like they used to. This is explains why Bucky Covington lasted as long as he did.
The same week Mandisa praised the powers of her anti-gay God, she shunned her usually-flattering drapey clothes and came out in form-fitting jeans. America may forgive a bigot, but they won’t forgive a woman with a severe weight problem. That night we picked up the phone for the first time this season and voted for Mandisa repeatedly because she deserved to stay in, but we knew she was doomed. She was out before she sang her first note. America very prejudiced against obesity, much more than they care about defeinding gay honor.
Which brings us back to Ellliot, who is the best singer–close your eyes, and listen. Beautiful, sophisticated, his control of his voice is like the finest ballet. He understands how to perform a song, not scream it. In Idolville, that’s rare. Then open your eyes, and confront the reality that he looks like Alf. He’s in the Final 3, then he’s out. Sorry.
• Taylor Hicks: Soulful, interesting voice. Original. Fun. And when he concentrates on singing, he really connects with the music. For all his weirdness, you know that’s really him.
Why he won’t win: Because when he sings he looks like he has Tourette’s Syndrome. Although he could be the upset, judging by the love from the GrayCharles website.
• Katharine McPhee: What a voice! So beautiful and clear. Her singing is effortless, refreshing–and after this week’s performance of sliding around on the ground with the drummers, she’s proven she can be fun and pull it off. Which is good, we were starting to get bored with the ballads.
Why she won’t win: She’s too sophisticated for Idol. Let’s remember this is the show that gave us Kellie Pickler. And Katharine is too goody-two-shoes, people want an Idol with a sense of humor. But the first time Katharine McPhee performs at the Algonquin in New York, we’ll be in the front row.
• Paris Bennett: Envokes the spirit of Billie Holliday. Can whip out music of the divas like she wrote it herself. And how many people can cover “Kiss” by Prince and actually make it work? Which she did. THAT is amazing in itself.
Why she won’t win: Because she’s good at jazz, and jazz doesn’t win Idol. She knows this, so she tries to sing pop songs, but her perky vibe is more “annoying karaoke” than “recording artist.” We hope Michael Buble’s manager has her phone number handy, he could turn Paris into a sensation.
Chris Daughtry: Remember when Chris Daughtry was interesting? Listening to him sing was exciting. He’s lucky those memories hang on, because now he’s so boring we change the channel to Top Model reruns when he’s on. Every song sounds exactly the same!
Why he WILL win: Because he’s hot. He’s safe. He picks up where Bo Bice dropped the ball. And most importantly, he’s loud, which is the most important thing, right?