May 2004 Archives

Finale!

I'm just gonna type as I watch this, I think...

Ryan? Leave the singing to the contestants. Please.

I think Tamyra just gave a master class in everything one ought to avoid in singing the national anthem.

Diana? That's the "unbeatable" foe, not the "unbearable" one. That said, my vote's just been vindicated. "The Impossible Dream" is more up Diana's alley than Fantasia's, and it showed.

Aw, John Stevens finally gets a chance to take on the swing theme for a few seconds. (Yeah, a whole long filler medley, and that's all I can find to say.)

Diana's doing a better job on the single tonight. But it's still not the right song for her. [wry smile]

Hey, a fakeout by Ryan! Nicely done. ("After... seventy thousand contestants," with a pause calculated to make one expect "...the break.")

And, whoa. Fantasia won it after all. Man. So much for my powers of prognostication.

Pool results: y'know, if Fantasia had come in second, I'd have won the thing, and Heather and Annie would have tied for second. And if wishes were horses, there'd be some very unhappy sanitation workers. As it stands, the final rankings seem to be as follows:

Heather: 15
Mo Pie: 11
Shmuel: 8
Annie: 7
TeKay: 7

In the event that Annie belatedly posts a retroactive prediction putting Fantasia in first, she moves up to third place, with 9 points. Either way, Heather wins bragging rights, not to mention a mix CD, which I'll get to work on shortly.

Congratulations, Heather, and thanks for playing, y'all!

Final 2: Performances

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I got home with the show in progress, and decided to wait until it finished before watching the tape from the start.

Given my prediction that Diana was going to take the thing, I had a sinking feeling when she led off with her rendition of this year's American Idol single... because it was obvious that the song had been written for Fantasia. Not literally, I hasten to add; I'm not big on the conspiracy theories. But it was totally in Fantasia's style, and not so much in Diana's, and Fantasia was going to use it for the finale, and that just might conceivably swing the thing. I wish they'd followed last year's practice of having separate potential (or actual) singles for the top two. Oh, well.

Anyway. Diana's performance wasn't bad, just not great. Just a bit hoarse, just a bit shrill... oversinging just a bit.

And then Fantasia came out and handed the game right back to Diana. Say this for Fantasia: she takes risks. I respect that. Which in no way alters the fact that this rendition of "All My Life" totally blew up in her face.

And then it was on to the Greatest Hits, with "No More Tears" by Diana and "Summertime" by Fantasia reminding the nice viewers at home why -- contrary to the continued flood of "the sky is falling and Idol is falling apart" articles -- either of these singers would really and truly be worthy of the title.

Followed by Diana doing a reasonably good version of "Don't Cry Out Loud," except the bit in the middle where she got pitchy, followed by Fantasia nailing the single, as expected.

...and, oh, good God. I can't believe they did the "My Way" shtick again. Although it was actually cuter than it had any right to be.

Anyway.

Who should win: By a narrow margin, confining ourselves to this week's performances... Fan... Fantasi... Fa...

...please don't make me say it.

Who will win: This is a tougher call than I expected it to be, in large part because Diana was off tonight, kinda hoarse through the whole thing. On the other hand, that didn't stop Ruben from winning last year. And she's gonna get most of the remaining portion of the triple-J (John/Jon/Jasmine) vote, in addition to a decent portion of the good-singer vote on the strength of the season as a whole. And I still think there are less people who find her annoying than the competition. Add it all up, and I stand by my previous prediction: Diana.

Who I voted for: [sigh] I gritted my teeth and voted against my best interests in the pool. And then I heard Fantasia's message in place of the usual neutral "You have voted for contestant number whatever" (presumably to be sure that, with all the added numbers, people were getting the contestants they'd expected to be voting for), and had to hear Diana's, so I gave her a vote too. Then I decided that I liked her message so much more that I was almost willing to ditch my plan of being fair, but then gritted my teeth more heavily and gave one more to the competition. And then Fantasia's message reminded me that, no, I really didn't want her to win, so I gave one more to Diana and left it at a dead heat.

I feel so dirty.

Anyway, predictions go in the comments. Good luck, y'all.

Top 3: Results

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Well, it's nice to have Tamyra onhand tonight. Singing two songs, yet.

...and no surprises here tonight. Jasmine finally goes home.

And, as determined by Jasmine's coin flip, Fantasia gets to choose whether to sing first or second next week. She chooses to go second. And they're going back to having the first single be the same song no matter who wins the thing, and that song has been co-written by Tamyra.

There, that sums up the entire hour...

Top 3: Performances

Okay, before watching the tape, I'd like to start with the following predictions: Jasmine comes in third, Fantasia second, Diana first. Unlike the pool predictions, I'm officially on the record about this batch.

That said, let's see what happened in this week's show...

[watches tape]

Well, no big surprises here. Jasmine was pitchy throughout, and really really doesn't belong here. It comes down to Fantasia vs. Diana, and if I'd been watching this live, I'd probably have been torn as to whom to vote for. I said back in the prelims that choosing "Chain of Fools" is likely to backfire unless you're really good. Fantasia, it turns out, is really good. On the other hand, I was less taken with the choices imposed on her, especially as I'm almost incapable of taking "The Greatest Love of All" seriously. (Especially after having seen a great, over-the-top karaoke performance of it that pretty neatly deconstructed the song. Seriously, somebody explain to me what "the children are our future" has to do with the greatest love of all being that of loving oneself? Anybody? Or is it just that appealing to childhood makes the song ever so much more schmaltzy? Yeah, I thought so.) Meanwhile, Diana was generally good, and closed out with a really strong performance of "Don't Cry Out Loud."

Who should go: Jasmine.

Who will go: Jasmine.

My predictions'll be posted to the previous entry, 'cause I might as well get some use out of it...

Top 3: Predictions

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I'm currently in New York. I'll be returning to Boston tonight, probably after this week's show airs. I'll be watching the tape, of course, but, anyway, here's the thread for the pool predictions.

Top 4: Results!

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Was I a traitor in this week's predictions? Perhaps. Certainly a rat deserting a sinking ship. But I was right!

For those in the usual blizzard of search-engine visitors, Fantasia and LaToya were in the bottom two, and LaToya went home this week.

(Heather, Mo, and I all pick up one point this week, BTW.)

In other news entirely, I've picked up a copy of Kimberley Locke's album, and, of the five AI-related albums I own (Kelly, Clay, Kim, AI1 finalists, AI2 finalists), this one is totally the best. Recommended.

Top 4: Performances

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...and in the third-to-last week, with seven points in my pool already riding on LaToya being this year's American Idol, I've lost confidence in that happening. I think it's very likely gonna be down to Fantasia and Diana in the end, and I just don't know which will end up winning.

Simon's right: the problem with LaToya is that while personality isn't everything, it is something, and we hardly know anything about hers. We more or less have to take it on faith that she has one. Combine that with some recent performances that have been lackluster by her standards, and -- as a finishing touch -- add her apparent indifference towards actually winning the thing, and I'm torn between deciding that I have too much riding on her to change my predictions now (that is, if I stay the course and she does manage to win, I stand a chance, while there might not be any winning scenario if I change my vote now), and deciding she's done and cutting my losses.

My grounds for uncertainty are that, if she survives this week and Jasmine finally goes home -- note that I don't consider this a given, because Jasmine's fans are gonna wear out their redial buttons, while I'm not convinced LaToya's will have much incentive to do so this week -- then everything rides on the actual performances of LaToya and Fantasia. If LaToya comes through with the sort of amazing performances she's capable of, she could end up right back in the game.

Anyway. This week's performances in a nutshell: Jasmine was shaky, LaToya was competent but boring; Fantasia was pretty good and bursting with personality; and Diana just keeps getting better every week and arguably stole the show.

Who I voted for: Diana.

Who should go: Jasmine.

Who will go: ...y'know, given my track record this season, I can't see why anyone would listen to me anymore. That said, while I think this one's a tossup, I'm going to go out on a limb tonight. LaToya.

(Pool predictions to follow, and may not coincide with the above. I'm still dithering on my strategy.)

Top 5: Results

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Okay, so perhaps George wasn't as safe as I thought he was. (At the point in the tape I'm at when I type this, the bottom two have just been revealed, the other being Jasmine.) I'd expected either Diana or LaToya to come in second. Then again, reading through the recaps, it seems that a bunch of people had totally opposite reactions to mine regarding LaToya and Fantasia's performances.

And Jasmine is safe!

Y'know, I've been consistently predicting from the very beginning that there'd be exactly one male contestant in the Top 4, and I wasn't too particular about which one it would be. First I thought it would be Matt, then hitched my wagon to George. Obviously, I was wrong. Oh, well.

(Over in the pool, Heather is currently in the lead with 8 points, followed by Annie with 5, and me with 4. Mo and TeKay bring up the rear with 2 apiece. But there are still lots of points to be distributed in the next few weeks.)

Top 5: Performances

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It's Big Band week! And since it's devoted to a genre, not a performer, it might not suck! Even without John Stevens, who, for all his faults, would've been in his element for this one. (As everybody seems to be pointing out... but it's still true.)

Diana: "Someone to Watch Over Me" and "Come On, Get Happy"
I dunno... a bit flat. Not terrible, but she just doesn't seem on tonight.

George: "I'm in Heaven" and "What a Wonderful World"
Not bad. (Randy's right. Good, but safe.)

(What's with Paula's mike? ...oh, good, they've fixed it.)

LaToya: "One Thing Leads to Another," a badly flubbed segue, and "Don't Rain on My Parade."
The first song wasn't bad at all. The second happens to be my personal anthem, and while she did succeed in interpreting it differently than usual, she sucked all the life out of a song that properly ought to be bursting with vitality. She's not getting my vote this week.

Jasmine: "The Way You Look Tonight" and "It's Almost Like Being in Love"
Just a bit off in parts, but, on the whole, quite pleasant!

Fantasia: "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," the night's least insipid segue, and "All of My Life"
Fantasia was... moderately brilliant, actually. These were unquestionably the night's best performances.

Overall rankings, top to bottom: Fantasia, large gap, George, Jasmine, LaToya, Diana.

Who should go: Probably Jasmine, actually; I think she did a better job than Diana this week, but not by much, and I think Diana's trajectory through the season has been better.

Who will go: Probably Jasmine. Maybe Diana. Slight chance of LaToya. Ain't gonna be George or Fantasia.

(Edited to belatedly add: of course, the big question is whom John's votes are gonna go to. Some of them will evaporate, but I think Diana, George, and Jasmine are the most likely beneficiaries. George as the last man standing, and the other two -- but especially Diana -- getting the youth vote.)

Who I voted for: Being biased, but also not being willing to be totally dishonest about this, I broke my usual practice of voting only once and gave one apiece to George and Fantasia.

Halfway Home

...a bit of a misnomer this year, but whatever.

Filler filler filler...

...if Fantasia says "regardless of the fack" one more time, I may scream.

"Summertime." Like I said the first time around, if you like this kind of thing, good performance. Me, I'm bored.

...filler filler filler filler filler...

George: "Take Me to the Pilot." Fun, at least.

...filler filler filler filler...

Jasmine: "Interminable." Oops, that's this show. Her song is "Inseparable." Good performance, putting aside the context.

...I'm hardly watching this anymore, really...

Diana: "You Better Think." Oh, thank goodness. Something to wake us out of our slumber! Yay!

...and back to the filler, now with sound quality issues!...

LaToya: "Somewhere."

...and, thank goodness, we're done.

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