May 24, 2005

TV: American Idol -- the finals!

Let's not beat around the bush: Bo didn't have a particularly good night tonight, but Carrie had an even worse one, and it will be a tremendous upset if she wins the competition.

I'm taking things out of order in this wrapup. Each singer sang three songs tonight, one chose from earlier in the competition and two original songs, one of which -- "Inside Your Heaven" -- they both sang; it'll be the Official First Single of the winner.

"Inside Your Heaven" isn't much of a song, and Bo sounded a bit bored with it at the beginning. He never did connect with it or get much personality across, but it was at least a competent performance. Carrie, on the other hand, had her worst pitch problems of the night on this song. She was terribly sharp on the chorus, with a nasty harshness to her tone; she was quite flat at the big dramatic key change.

In their other original songs, it was about the same. Bo's "The Long Long Road" began with a quiet intro that was a bit too low-pitched for him, and he had a few pitch problems in the chorus, something that's rare for him. The last note was particularly unattractive. Carrie's "Angels Brought Me Here" was the least interesting of the original songs, and Carrie didn't seem sure of herself singing it; she sounded strained and tense throughout. There was a telling moment when the camera panned past Carrie in the foreground and one of her backup singers, out of focus, in the background; that fuzzy woman in the distance had more stage presence than Carrie, and was more interesting to watch.

For their "greatest hits" selections, Bo chose "Vehicle" and Carrie chose "Independence Day." I was surprised by Bo's choice; I hadn't thought it was one of his more impressive performances. (Had it been up to me, I'd have gone with "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" or another run through "In a Dream.") But I think now that part of that may have been that the song simply seemed so out of place, shoehorned as it was into 70s dance music night; that was less of a problem tonight, and the song worked better than it had.

Carrie's "Independence Day" was really her only choice. (It wasn't her best performance, mind you; that was "Hello, Young Lovers," but there was no way in hell she was going to choose that tonight.) It was probably her best performance of the night, but even here, she sounds tense, with a clenched back-of-the-throat quality to her voice that wasn't pretty to hear.

In short, all three of Bo's performances, weak as they were, were better than all three of Carrie's performances, and I'm predicting that Bo wins with no less than 54% of the vote.

And a few year-end awards:

Best performance: Nadia, "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me"
Runner-up: Bo, "In a Dream"

Worst performance: Scott, "One Last Cry"
Runner-up: Mikalah, "Love Will Lead You Back"

Voted off too soon: Nadia
Runner-up: Jessica

Lasted too long: Scott
Runner-up: Mikalah

Most disappointing: Anwar
Most pleasant surprise: Vonzell

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