Quote of the Day: “I saw a six pack of soda-pop for $1.20. That price fucks with your head, man. Because then I though that I would start selling soda-pop. Suddenly I got things of pop with me. ‘What’s going on, Mitch.’ ‘Not much, looking to buy some pop? Fifty cents a can. It’s not refridgerated because this is a half assed commitment.’”
- Mitch Hedburg
I watched American Idol tonight.
Yes, folks, I did. Every other year, I’ve just watched the first few shows to witness the sadness and comedy but this year, I was sucked into the vortex and you frequent readers are aware that I’ve handed over my manhood and admitted to getting into the hype.
So if we can get past the fact that I watched it, let me convey my thoughts.
Starting with the final two, I liked Taylor since the first time he came on. I have proof in the form of my wife who will attest under only minimal duress that I identified Taylor as someone I would listen to sing Happy Birthday.
But I was not immune to McPheever. Have you seen this woman? Absolutely gorgeous and very likable. I wanted to see her go to the finals and was glad to see her there. Last week, I told my daughter that if Taylor and Katherine made it to the final, I would not vote because I didn’t want to vote against either one. If Elliott Yamin would have made it, I would have broken my voting silence and voted for the other. It’s not that I didn’t like him, it’s just that I wouldn’t have voted AGAINST Taylor or Katherine.
So that’s where I stood so let’s get to the show.
I watched the pre-show and I wanted to throw a hammer at my bigscreen TV. The Three Stooges they had on the “red carpet” hit every single stereotype of why Hollywood and the press in general are complete buffoons. I won’t even give them the credit of naming them but there were two women and a man.
Here was what happened. Both Randy and Simon come walking up and they stop them. Then they ask the dumbest of dumbass questions, clearly showing these three know about as much about the show as I do about knitting. Then they would interrupt their answers with other stupid questions that made little sense and phrased in a way that basically boiled down to “I like to hear myself talk and be seen with stars.”
Then, these three morons would rush off the stars, actually being rude to them. Pretty much like a shuffling along “… off you go…” It was amazing. The guy actually said “I hate to be the ugly cop but we have to keep things moving along.” Then he pushed along the judges and smiled at the camera as he introduced the next disastrous session.
The best part was when Paula showed up, drunk as ten monkeys of course. She was smashed and when they tried to stop her, she almost walked on by. They started in with their idiotic questions and she slurred out some generic answer and then said “I gotta get to work” and stumbled off. The three idiots were left there with egg on their face and I laughed heartily.
That line has to contend with one other for the best of the pre-show.
When they were interviewing someone in their rude way, they asked “Who do you think will win?” The star escapes me but they turned the question around and asked the idiots who THEY thought were going to win. One of the women obviously didn’t possess the common brain and said “Oh, I don’t know. I don’t watch the show.”
I about choked on my popcorn.
I actually enjoyed the program and the music was great. I had to explain to my daughter who Al Jarreau was and many of the other stars. But the very best moment of the show by far was when they were handing out the awards to the best reaction, best male vocal, etc. For those that didn’t see it, allow me to explain.
They basically gave awards to the most memorable contestants, defining “memorable” as the ones who made the biggest asses of themselves and let me tell you people, it was stiff competition. It naturally follows that few of them wanted to come back and be made fun of more than they already were, but there was one guy.
He won the best “look-alike” by showing up at the original auditions looking like his own personal idol, Clay Aiken. And it wasn’t the polished Clay that resulted after the stylists did the best they could. It was the uber-gay, goofy, I’m-Such-A-Dork-That-I-Almost-Blew-It Clay Aiken. Some of you might not see the distinction seeing how it sliver-like.
But this imitator showed up at the original audition sounding like a cat in a meat grinder, looking ten ways wrong till Sunday. He claimed he was “off” because he was really nervous and had to pee so the judges let him run (and I use the term loosely here) to the bathroom and come back to try again. It didn’t help and Simon dismissed his summarily with a verbal bullet to the head.
So now they bring this guy back and the first in a line of funnier-than-shit moments, he actually comes on stage to get his “award.” Ryan Seacrest asks him if he wants to sing a song for the audience of what, 55 million, and he thinks this is a great idea.
The music starts for, appropriately, Elton John’s “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” (I normally, mentally, replace the “The Sun” with “My Son” because it makes me laugh) and Aiken wannabe starts belting out the lyrics like his moment in life has arrived. Still sounding like said cat in said meat grinder, he really thinks he’s wowing the crowd and I’m starting to wonder what could have possibly possessed the producers to let this farce continue. It was really embarrassing.
The thought hit me that this little episode highlighted the fact that normal people CAN stick up this stage. You get so used to hearing the big league voices that you tend to forget that “normal” people sound like dogshit if they don’t have the talent. And as far as Wannabe… woof.
As Wannabe continued to butcher the song, the back of the stage opened up.
And out walked Clay Aiken with a microphone. The REAL Clay Aiken.
But the thing was, Wannabe didn’t see him and obviously didn’t know this was going to happen.
Of course, the crowd goes berserk and you can see it in his eyes that Wannabe ACTUALLY BELIEVES the tidal wave of adoration is for him. He looks at the crowd with a smile and a look of surprise. “Wow, I’m killin’ here!!”
You have to picture this. I’ve never been a huge Clay Aiken fan but he was looking better than before. The stylists had worked some issues out and at least he looked a bit nearer to the way he sounded and next to Wannabe, his star absolutely blazed.
Clay (can I call him Clay?) walks through the opening and as I said, the audience goes apeshit and Wannabe is convinced they’re going to crown HIM any minute. Clay is walking toward the front of the stage with an incredulous look on his face that says “Oh dear, this guy is eatin’ donkey.”
Just as Clay decided he’s going to take over, the moment is pregnant. Everyone on Earth knows what is happening except Wannabe and I didn’t think it could get any better than that one shining instant.
I was wrong.
In his peripheral vision, Wannabe sees movement and his head turns. At first it doesn’t register but a nanosecond later with a double take, Wannabe realizes that Clay “Oh My God” Aiken is on stage with him.
Only in really bad acting moments have I ever seen a reaction like Wannabe the next moment. It was a study in caricature surprise to a level that looked extremely exaggerated. It wasn’t and that is precisely what made it so funny.
Wannabe’s eyes almost popped out of his head. His hands went up to his open mouth and he backed away almost in horror with his head jack hammering up and down yelling “Oh My God!” over and over at whiplash speed. He was a bit hunched over as he retreated, not wanting to get singed by Clay’s cornea of awesomeness.
The only other time I had ever seen anything close to this was a show I was forced to watch (I’m sticking with this line of explanation). OK, it was Oprah. She would find insane fans and get the stars to show up unexpected to see the fans’ reaction. The one that comes to mind were two women who thought Barry Manilo was omnipotent. They were getting their hair done and Barry walks in. The reaction from these two was one of the funniest things I had ever seen.
So Wannabe is backing up, running into Ryan Seacrest and he is freaking out so bad that Clay misses the line he was supposed to jump in on. He recovers and the gulf between Wannabe’s talent and Clay’s becomes instantly clear to everyone. Everyone except Wannabe who thinks this is suddenly a duet. He’s belting out the lyrics with everything his little Wannabe heart has and Clay is looking at him like the guy just shit purple Twinkies.
Finally, Seacrest goes over and grabs the guy and offers him a seat on a stool, away from Clay who finishes up the song. It becomes apparent that they turned off Wannabe’s microphone (something Wannabe is last to realize) when Seacrest bends over and mouths “Are you OK?” to which Wannabe’s soundless reaction despite the microphone still plastered by his quivering lips answers “Oh my God!”
Folks, this is humorous TV at its best.
As the show went on, they edged closer and closer to announcing who won. I had a feeling the whole show that it was going to be Taylor but they had to keep the suspense up. Seacrest announced that they were done with the special guests and now was time for….
The camera swings over, the stage opens, and out walks Prince.
My first reaction was “Wow, they got Prince. Holy SHIT, they got Prince! He normally doesn’t do things like this. Usually he’s a monstrous jackass who thinks he’s too good for this kind of show.”
I had to explain to my daughter who Prince was which made me feel about 100 years old.
My deep-seated hatred for this idiot was fading. I’ve always thought he represented the worst of celebrity, thinking he was too good for anyone and taking himself WAY too seriously. But I had to acknowledge that he really knows how to get a crowd going and no matter that I think he is a shithead, he was a pretty famous dude.
But then I started to remember why I always thought he was a dick. Other than the obvious “I’m so much better than all of you” attitude and petulant sexuality mixed with pouting, I realized that every other performer up to this point had sang their songs with one of the 12 finalists. But not Princess, he was too good to be sullied by the unwashed American Idol contestants.
At the end, he proved himself like I knew he would.
His song ended and Seacrest came walking out as the crowd cheered. And what did Princess do? Turned around and walked out like he owned the place. He strutted off into the fog and lights with his two dancers following like his slaves.
Too good to talk to the crowd. Too good to banter with Seacrest.
Go cram it in your pooper, Princess.
After that was over, I watched as they crowned the new American Idol and one last thing happened that heightened my respect for both of the finalists.
When they announced that Taylor won, Katherine’s instant reaction was a huge smile and a hug. I rewound it and watched it again and sure enough, her first reaction was not feeling sorry for herself, even for an instant. She did not “recover” and be gracious, she just was. Instantly.
My respect for her skyrocketed.
Taylor let out a hoot and hugged Katherine and was obviously and truly moved at the momentous reality of what had just happened. A grey-haired, pudgy soul singer from Alabama had just won the most coveted singing competition in the world.
I went to bed happy. Accuse me of falling hook, line, and sinker but I really enjoyed my first experience with American Idol. It was good TV in my mind because there were highs, there were lows, and most of all, I looked forward to Tuesdays and Wednesdays for months.
Thank you American Idol.
Free Advice for Today: “Let your children observe your being generous to those in need.”
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.