I’m a big fan of American Idol. I’ve watched it from the beginning…and I vote. I sincerely enjoy the show and every season I find myself unironically drawn to at least a few of the performers. That said, the undeniably worst part of the show is the music.
Wait wait wait, isn’t this show all about music? No, it is not. It’s about singers: their personalities, their drama, their interpretive abilities, and their voices. In that order. But the music generally blows. It always amazes me that they select the worst songs in any given theme week, and how on the rare occasional that they choose something good that they can manage to cheese it up.
But the worst of the worst is the final song of the season that is written by corporate drones to be released as the winner’s first single. Every year, it’s embarrassingly bad (“A Moment Like This”, “Do I Make You Proud”, “This Is My Now”). And this year, it was worse than ever: “No Boundaries,” whose songwriter just so happened to be the new judge, Kara DioGuardi. It sounded like a cross between a bad Christian rock song and a late-90s Bryan Adams outtake too schlocky for a Hollywood soundtrack. Unfortunately, this song may decide the winner this year.
Even more unfortunate is that the winner will have to release this godawful stinker as their first single. In an Idol tradition that has kept me from ever actually purchasing an affiliated release no matter how much I like the singer, the debut album is always churned through the whitewashing machine of Clive Davis, whose goal in life is to scrub any trace of unique personality from an artist. I mean, Davis made the authentically grubby southern rocker Bo Bice look like this!
I realize that this is all part of the deal, but it seems a shame that they’d have to stoop so low to appeal to the dumbest common denominator. And then DioGuardi has the audacity to beam with self-satisfaction at her abomination of a song. She’s so clueless she doesn’t even realize how bad she sucks.
Every step you climb another mountain
Every breath it’s harder to believe
You’ll make it through the pain
Weather the hurricane
To get to that one thing
Sure you will, dumbass…
By the way, I didn’t vote last night. I’m happy with both of the finalists. Adam sounds like an emo combination of Tim Curry, Freddie Mercury, Axl Rose, and Cher, while Kris gives off the laid-back, nice-guy Jack Johnson vibe. If I can’t hate either of them, I can’t be bothered to vote for one of them. So it goes.
Adam’s version of “A Change is Gonna Come” surprised me. So much potential to be terrible, but it was pretty great. Maybe Adam tapped into the emotions of his “flamboyant past” to connect with the Civil Rights connotations of the Sam Cooke original.
And Kris’ take on one my all-time favorite songs was pretty great, too. “Ain’t No Sunshine” is a Bill Withers classic, but my favorite version is by the 14-year-old Michael Jackson.
So tomorrow, we’ll find out who America voted for. My guess is that Kris appeals to the American Idol audience a little more than Adam. But we’ll see. Only one thing is certain: Kara DioGuardi deserves to be voted off the show.