May 14, 2009

American Idol 8: So it’s Adam vs. Kris, a surprise and yet… not

Posted in Television tagged , , , , at 8:20 pm by myrlinn

There’s only so far the judges can go in hyping up a contestant, as proven by the exit of Danny Gokey, a judges’ early favourite. I could never see exactly what’s so great about his vocal talent, and it seems I’m not alone, judging by the reactions of people around me. My brother has been predicting Danny’s exit for weeks now. He FINALLY got it right ha ha. (I gotta say, though, I LOVED Danny’s “You Are So Beautiful” last night. If he had had more performances like that, maybe he’d have changed our minds)

Danny’s departure makes the competition more interesting for me because it makes it less clearcut who I think should win.

On the one hand, there’s Adam. No denying his vocal prowess, even though I don’t love the tone of his voice which I find a bit thin. His singing is largely effortless, though, and I appreciate that.

What I can’t really get into is his performance. I’ve said before that I think it’s theatrical, but thinking about it, that’s not really the problem. The main thing is that it all seems too choreographed, the moves coming from the head rather than from the soul. His theatre training and background showing here, I suppose I’d like to see him appear more spontaneous (even if his moves are practiced).

Also, I think his singing style has become a little too predictable, it’s all starting to sound the same to me. I haven’t really enjoyed any song since “Ring of Fire”. And the judges’ obvious championing him is not helping me to like him.

Yet… he can definitely sing. So, if we judge on vocals alone, he should hands-down be the winner.

But then there’s Kris. Vocals can be described as competent, pleasant, nothing distinctive.  But I can’t help but be drawn to his commitment to his music. He often performs like him and his music are one, like the music is pouring out him, like he’s really loving the making of the music. Personality-wise, he also seems “real” (A bit awkward, but definitely real). What strikes me also is that he seems to have a more pop-inclined musical sensibility — his song choices reflect a love for catchy melodies and rhythms. So he could actually do rather well as a pop recording artist.

With Kris relying so much on his ability to improvise on a song, it’d be fascinating to see what unfolds next week. Will it be like Blake Lewis’ year, when as I remember it, he was not allowed to change up the arrangement of the original song, thus making it glaringly obvious that he doesn’t match up vocally to his competition???  Now, that would be doing a disservice to the strengths which brought him this far.

Even if he doesn’t win, I’d like to see him wow everyone at the finals. First, because I like him, and second, because I don’t think it’s fair for the judges to “campaign” for one contestant over the others. I mean… Simon Cowell asking people not to forget to vote for Adam *rolls eyes* at the end of the top three show. Tacky, and seems a little “desperate” (hear that, Simon?).

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