Monday, May 21, 2007

Five Reasons Blake Should Win American Idol...And Five Reasons He Shouldn't



With this year's two-part American Idol finale set to begin in about 33 hours, it's time to take a serious look at who deserves this year's crown. Many of you have probably already made up your minds as to who deserves your vote on Tuesday evening, but for those of you who haven't (I include myself in this category), I thought I would take a look at five reasons why each of the remaining contestants deserves to win this year's top prize, and five reasons why they don't (in a sort of point/counterpoint form). I have tried to be as objective as possible on both sides -- not an easy task!

Click here to read Five Reasons Jordin Should Win American Idol...And Five Reasons She Shouldn't

Here we go with Blake Lewis...

Reason #1 Blake Should Win: He is hands down the most original and current contestant American Idol has ever seen. Think about it -- "Time of the Seasons," "You Give Love a Bad Name," "This Love" -- can you imagine any other contestant on the show giving performance like these, and actually pulling them off? Blake is much more than a singer -- he is an entertainer.

Reason #1 Blake Should Not Win: No matter how good an entertainer he is, Blake is far from the best singer in the competition, and when it comes down to it, American Idol is a singing contest. Can we really give the prize to a guy whose vocal chops are not his strongest attribute?

Reason #2 Blake Should Win: He is the most musically adventurous performer of the season, taking liberties with his performances that no former contestants would have dared even attempt. And he can beatbox like a champ!

Reason #2 Blake Should Not Win: Consistency is not his strong suit -- for every beatboxing success he has had, he has also had a beatboxing failure ("Keep Me Hangin' On"? "You Should Be Dancin'"?) He's had moments of sheer genius, and also moments that were almost embarrassing.

Reason #3 Blake Should Win: To answer critics that call him a one-trick pony with the beatboxing, he has provided a few stellar non-beatboxing vocal performances, notably "Somewhere Only We Know" and "I Need to Know."

Reason #3 Blake Should Not Win: Unfortunately, for every "Somewhere Only We Know" there has been an "Imagine," and every "I Need to Know" is offset by a "Stars Go Blue." His voice is pleasant and inoffensive, but he isn't exactly capable of real vocal dynamics. And when he doesn't beatbox, he loses a lot of his originality.

Reason #4 Blake Should Win: It is easy to see the kind of music that he will produce, and because he is current and fresh, he is likely to be very marketable. Little girls (and some big girls -- and boys, too) love him!

Reason #4 Blake Should Not Win: Beaboxing seems fresh and new on American Idol -- but is there really a place in the current market for a white beatboxer? Even Justin Timberlake gets ribbed when he gets down with the beatboxing -- will Blake be able to credibly pull it off in the real world?

Reason #5 Blake Should Win: There has never been a cute boy winner of the title (I'm sorry, Ruben and Taylor don't count), and it could be fun to have a hearthrob as the American Idol. When he gets the fashion right, he's just as adorable as his bestie Chris Richardson, making him a slam-dunk for teen magazines.

Reason #5 Blake Should Not Win: He could actually be better off not winning the title, which would allow him a bit more artistic freedom and credibility, minus the pressure of being the American Idol. And in terms of style decisions, for every argyle sweater-vest triumph, he has a fake tuxedo shirt disaster!

Click here to read Five Reasons Jordin Should Win American Idol...And Five Reasons She Shouldn't

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2 comments:

Joshua said...

I think you've hit the nail on the head with some of the "Why Blake Shouldn't Win" reasons...one of my biggest reasonings for him NOT to win would be that while the beat-boxing isn't totally a one-trick-pony deal, it is obviously his strongest suit, but something that can only be used in small quantities.

As a successful solo artist, he would not be able to do a concert set of 18 songs with 15 of them having beat-boxing in the middle. It would just get too repetitive. He works well in an ensemble (small doses like Idol and the upcoming tour), but with his "Imagine" and "Stars Go Blue" performances filling almost half of his non-beatboxed performance list, his history just hasn't proven that he could be amazing 18 songs in a row. (Unlike Kelly or even Fantasia..)

NetResearchMan said...

Of 18 song performances by Blake (not counting the repeat performance of "You Give Love a Bad Name"), 12 had no beatboxing whatsoever, including some of his best performances (Somewhere Only We Know, Time of the Season, I Need to Know). I'm a huge Blake fan, so I admit I'm very prejudiced, but I enjoyed 8 of his 12 non-beat-boxing songs.

Of the 6 with some beatboxing, 3 of those only used it for 2 bars or less as a vocal flourish. That leaves only 3 songs with extensive beatboxing, including his best overall performance, and two of his three worst performances (the two Bee Gees songs). So if Blake's calling card is beatboxing, it's really only served him well in ONE song all season, maybe two if you count the brilliant group performance before the semis.

In conclusion, I think it is false that beat-boxing is "obviously his strongest suit". There are far more talented beat-boxers than Blake, but they get 2 minute segments on cheesy talent or variety shows, they don't make it to the final two of American Idol. His singing performances got him where he is, not beat-boxing.

I think it's obvious his strongest suit is actually song arrangement -- his ability to infuse a hip contemporary vibe to his songs, even when forced by the show format into genres that didn't fit his style. Take away those creative limitations and he could do something amazing. I will definitely buy his album when it comes out.