Did a fresh breeze blow in last night on American Idol? It definitely did for me. Harry Connick, Jr., said he wasn’t there to blow smoke, he was there to mentor. And if the producers don’t pay him anything, including their firstborn, to become a judge or a regular on the show, they might as well throw in the towel and go home. Harry gave ’em hell. Judges and contestants both. And highly deserved.
Harry cut through the bull crap with a fireman’s hose and brought more life to this anemic, self-indulgent show than anyone has seen all season, if not in many seasons. His freshness, humor, and dead-on, unapologetic honesty left the entire judging panel looking like parroting imitations of real authenticity. I’m still hyped. It showed up Mariah’s vapid preening, the same old stock yadayadayada’s from everyone (except Nicki, and sometimes Keith). And though Nicki has been the judge to say what she thinks, we could still do with some truly adult criticism and judging by someone who knows what he’s doing. I vote for Jimmy Iovine and Harry Connick, Jr. as judges for next season. If there is one.
Though there has never been a question that the diva contestants on the show can sing, it’s just that their singing is BORING. It’s not just Amber who doesn’t know the meaning of what she is singing (as Jimmy Iovine tried to point out in the past weeks), it’s all of them. They don’t seem to have a clue that songs need to mean something, convey something, make the person LISTENING feel something. As with the young Italian group Il Volo, every syllable, every tone, every note and breath, makes you feel down to the roots of your soul, and they sing mostly in Italian.
The only song I felt last night was Amber’s “My Funny Valentine” after Harry called her to the carpet on MEANING. Amber’s ignorance was just an example of the same with the other three, and that can be due to youth, not stupidity. Ignorance can be cured. Stupidity cannot. After all, Amber “got it”. I “felt” that song from the very first note.
Not so with Candice’s much raved about and applauded final song. She had all the chops for sure, but I read my book during the song and was never tempted to lift my eyes back to the screen. It was the same old runs that needed some grit to get her to be a singer that human beings (not just music teachers) can relate to. In Simon Cowell’s old words, it was “self-indulgent”, listen-to-my-gorgeous-voice bunch of manure that’s come from most of the performances this season. And I still say the judges stacked the deck in favor of girls because of the white-boy-guitar criticism, letting go really good male singers in favor of mostly mediocre ones.
And Harry Connick, Jr. was just the Kaopectate to cure those stinking runs if the girls had just bucked up and took the darn medicine. Amber did. Her only problem was that she had lost her enthusiasm and confidence due to being in the bottom several times. Times when she should not have been. And for the first time this season I actually voted. By land line. Punching in Amber’s number with a bum right arm and a grim determination. And if I had my way, I would have voted for Harry Connick, Jr., and Amber’s Dad. I love them both.
YAYYYYY! Give ’em hell, Harry !!!!!!
P.S. Here is a link to a great article from John Stark – Next Avenue – about Idol’s contestants, Harry Connick, Jr., and how they turned deaf ears to his great advice. (Thanks for giving me a heads-up on this article, JoAnn.) This writer knows of what he speaks and speaks it well.