Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Jordin Sparks is the New American Idol

Like KellyClarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, and Taylor Hicks before her, Jordin Sparks has won American Idol.

Jordin is very deserving of the title, and will no doubt go on to join Kelly, Carrie and the others in selling millions of records. Blake, too, will likely have a very nice career, and he was humble and gracious in defeat.

I was happy for Jordin as Seacrest announced her name at 10:05PM (those who Tivo'ed the show were probably pissed), but I couldn't help feeling the coronation felt a little anticlimactic. If there was any doubt that Jordin was going to win this competition after Melinda was eliminated, it was removed entirely once Blake opened his mouth to sing "This is My Now" on last night's show. There was practically no suspense and no build up to the announcement, which took a bit of fun out of the proceedings.

And that was the other problem -- last year's festivities were so fun, in a circus freakshow kind of way (remember the Clay Aiken lookalike? I mean, that is genius television), and the talent level was so high (Mary J. Blige singing with Elliott? Prince?), that this year's finale was bound to suffer by comparison.

I did love that almost all of the former winners were back (Fantasia couldn't get out of The Color Purple), and they were all in fine form. I was especially pleased to see my girl Kelly Clarkson rocking out and doing her thing -- she sounded amazing on "Never Again" and was definitely the highlight of the Beatles medley. It was also nice to see some of the Top 12 again -- I realized I had almost forgotten about Brandon and Stephanie, and I also realized I wish I could forget about Sanjaya (poor Joe Perry must have wondered what he got himself into when Sanjaya started to sing).

I didn't love, however, the random performances from Tony Bennett and Gwen Stefani. This is a night about Idol, and the two of them just felt boring and out of place (even Dancing with the Stars was able to resist the temptation of having out-of-place musical guests). I'm also sick of Smokey Robinson and Gladys Knight -- does Idol have them on retainer? They seem to show up at almost every Idol event.

Green Day I didn't mind, because I love Green Day, and the African Boys Choir were just as adorable as they were on "Idol Gives Back," but Bette Midler -- oy! I was prepared to be psyched for The Divine Ms. M, but she really disappointed me. She sounded awful, and seriously, Bette, enough with miming the wings. That performance was kind of a disaster.

Melinda Doolittle fared much better singing with Bebe and Cece Wynans, and, although Jordin and Ruben gelled really nicely on "You're All I Need to Get By," I can't help but think she got cheated out of singing with a bigger star, or someone cooler. I mean, Blake got jam with Doug E. Fresh (which was fierce), they couldn't find someone else to sing with Jordin? And how come Sanjaya got to sing but LaKisha didn't? These are questions I will probably never get the answers to.

All in all, it wasn't a painful evening (unless you count the horrible Golden Idol awards, which I am choosing not to think about), but it wasn't quite the electricity-filled night last year's finale turned out to be.

Having said that, we've got a great, deserving winner, and a great, deserving runner-up -- in a season of crazy ups and downs, that's all we can really ask for.

Congratulations Jordin, and thanks to the whole crew for one helluva season.

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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes I was one of the angry viewers who Tivo'ed the show. Arrgh! "Jordin Sparks is your American Idol!" The End.

But seriously, the finale was disappointing. I did enjoy Melinda's performance with Bebe and Cece Winans, the African Children's Choir, Carrie Underwood's performance, and the last medley with the top 12 and the other former Idols.

Joshua said...

I'll have lots more to say tomorrow...but for now, can I just say KELLY CLARKSON came back for the first finale since I believe 2004 only to (not surprisingly) steal the show, and show every other contestant including the former winners HOW IT IS DONE.

Her Never Again from tonight ranks up there with some of her best TV performances ever (in line with SUBG on the VMAs, Cryin' on Lifetime's Women Who Rock, Walk Away on CD*USA). I feel like she was up there really feeling like she had to prove herself worthy in light of all the record label drama she's been publicly dealing with as of late. The fervor, the optional high notes, the energy, everything was just ON POINT.

I hated Clive's speech all about Idol combining "amazing vocalists with talented professional songwriters"...seemed like a direct smack on Kelly's recent statements.

I hope this performance shoots Never Again higher up the charts. Tonight I placed a pre-order for the album on Amazon. I know I'll be buying it at midnight on the release day, but I wanted to do something to add my little extra bit of support. She's currently #24 on Amazon....not bad for an album still five weeks away from dropping!

(BTW, she was smokin' in the outfit for the Sgt Pepper's performance; anyone who says she's gotten too heavy needs to check her OUT.)

Anonymous said...

It's sort of interesting to observe the two most successful Idol winners thus far - Kelly & Carrie - together on the same show.

On TV, Carrie stands at the mic, switching hands distractingly often, and sings beautifully. She comes across as stiff and disjointed from her surroundings.

Live in concert, however, she's all over the stage and interacts very well with her audience. Something you'd never believe unless you've actually seen her outside a TV studio. But it's true - BTDTHTS.

With Kelly, OTOH, what you see is what you get. Doesn't make any difference whether she's singing a treacly ballad, her gritty new single, or something country, the girl tears the house up wherever she perfoms, be it live or on TV.

Two wildly successful Idols, two very different styles. Watching (and listening) to their careers as they unfold further will continue to be an enjoyable ride. Would love to hear them record a duet together, too!

And the newest Idol, Jordin? IMHO, as she matures into her 20s is where the biggest potential lies. Given the right material and the right producers, she'll do ok. But she's going to have to carve out a niche for herself, something that will only come with more experience - which cannot be taught.

Anonymous said...

Was I the only one impressed by the boys tight, on spot harmony and acapella finesse on Ooo Baby Baby? It was awesome. Chris R., Phil, and Brandon rocked those falsettos. I was glad to see Brandon show why so many thought he deserved to be in the top 12.

I hated that, aside from Jordin and Blake, the other 10 were barely a force on the show last night. Melinda deserved her turn. Sanjaya didn't. Otherwise the others got little stage time in favor of Gwen, Tony, and Bette getting solo time. Isn't the finale supposed to be about the Idols and celebrating the season? I especially felt bad for Brandon and Stephanie b/c this was the last big hurrah for them.

How terrible was Bette Midler? I think Sanjaya could have done it better. The whole thing was surreal.

All in all it didn't top last year's near perfect finale, but how could it? Still, it was mostly a fun, entertaining finale.

Anonymous said...

Those cruel, snarky Gold whatever awards have got to go! These poor people got humiliated once during the showing of the worst auditions and I think another laugh at their expense is at least one too many. And Clive was rude, self-serving, and disrespectful, which took away from any props to Carrie (which were well-deserved, btw). He's just still in a snit over Kelly and Taylor. Not enough attention on the contestants, especially since they didn't get enough back stories during the season. AI is just providing a venue to hack the latest single/album/tour of some artist completely unrelated to this competition. And they definitely need to rethink the so-called theme nites which just do the same thing. Finally, the last two remaining standing should have their choice of a song to sing which doesn't favor one over the other's niche. Or skip that drek completely! All of the contestants were forced to take a back seat to the "big" guest stars. This is THEIR year, not Tony Bennett's, Gwen's, or Bette Midler, for crying out loud. Supposedly, they want to sell CD's to the "younger" set, but then how do they choose these guest (and guest mentors)? Arrrrgggghh.

OK..done ranting. Go Blake!