American Idol

American Idol Claptrap and Crystal Bowersox

idolI just tweeted that I'm part Don Draper, part Omar Little. I wish. Those are two of the most fascinating characters I've seen on television and their respective shows are fantastic.

You know what show is far less cool than Mad Men or The Wire? American Idol. I've taken more abuse from friends and family for watching American Idol than for anything else this past decade.

Today when people discover I watch American Idol, I melt their hearts by telling them how much my kids love it and how we watch it as a family and play along with the judges. This is true, my kids adore this show, but the devil is in the details. I was watching before my oldest could talk. Shhhh, that's a carefully guarded secret.

We're in season 9 and it feels like this will be the last. In my opinion, this is also the worst. There's only one contestant I believe actually has the goods. The crystal clear #1 is far and away the cream of this crop, and I don't even know who's second best. I'm referring to Crystal Bowersox.

Laugh at my guilty pleasure if you will, but Crystal Bowersox can sing. Unfortunately for viewers, she's the only one.

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I Hate Myself For Watching American Idol

idolI wish a didn't watch American Idol. I've managed to completly avoid such craptacular game shows as Dancing With the Stars, Don't Forget the Lyrics and America's Next Top Model, but I've always been strangely drawn to American Idol. It would be easy to say I just watch it with the wife and kids, but I'd watch without them.

I've actually followed every season of this show. I know, I know... I want to be the guy who walks away from it all, the guy who tires of holding his nose. I hate myself for watching American Idol.

The finale starts in 34 minutes and you know I'll be watching. I've picked David Cook to win pretty much from the start. If he's beat by that Archuleta kid, I'm through... until season 8, at least.

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David Cook Didn't Sing Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon

idolDavid Cook has made his mark this season on American Idol because he rearranges songs so they sound current and edgy. I recently called him "cover artist extraordinaire".

On Beatles night, he performed "Day Tripper" the way Whitesnake covered it and "Eleanor Rigby the way Doxology covered it, then he performed "Billie Jean" the way Chris Cornell covered it. He does covers of cool covers, so when I found out tonight was Neil Diamond night, I would have bet the house on David Cook singing "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon", Urge Overkill style.

Urge Overkill covered Neil Diamond's "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon" for Pulp Fiction. David Cook didn't sing it.

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David Cook: Cover Artist Extraordinaire

idolMy wife doesn't watch sports, so that makes American Idol the one show the entire family watches together. It's not music I would ever listen to outside of the competition, but for some reason this is the only reality show I enjoy. Maybe it's the singing, maybe it's Simon, I dunno... but for some reason I follow American Idol.

This season, I have a favourite competitor. Week after week David Cook gives the best performance. He has a knack for putting the best spin on songs, even if the arrangement isn't a David Cook original. Last week he covered Our Lady Peace and earlier in the competition he covered Chris Cornell's awesome cover of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean". Last night, he made a Mariah Carey song sound pretty damn cool.

You've never heard Mariah Carey's "Always Be My Baby" sound like this.

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Our Lady Peace Get American Idol Exposure

idolWhen American Idol aired last night, I was busy dodging balls. It has since come to my attention that contestant David Cook, previously written about here and my personal favourite in the competition, performed a song from the Our Lady Peace catalogue calling OLP his "favourite band".

I've always had difficulty gauging the popularity of Canadian bands south of the border. I hear Americans don't get The Tragically Hip, but I know they seem to really like Nickelback. Toronto's Our Lady Peace, a band I've seen live a couple of times, is a band I always assumed was a way bigger deal here in the great white north than in the USA. I'm rather shocked (and pleasantly surprised) to hear Raine Maida and the boys rank #1 on David Cook's hit list.

I used to be a rather big OLP fan. Naveed, the album, is one of my favourites, and "Naveed", the song, is still an iPod staple. Clumsy was a solid disc as well, with the wonderful "4am", but after that I sort of morphed from huge Our Lady Peace fan to OLP appreciator, if you know what I mean.

Here's David Cook singing Our Lady Peace's "Innocent". Too bad he didn't hit us up with something earlier. A little "Starseed" would have been cool.

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Let's Give Chris Cornell A Little Credit

idolIf you caught American Idol on Tuesday night, you saw David Cook sing Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean". It was the best performance of the night and he received a great deal of praise for the arrangement and modern spin on the Thriller classic. The praise was well deserved, but it was directed at the wrong guy.

David Cook's cover of "Billie Jean" was actually a cover of Chris Cornell's cover of "Billie Jean". The arrangement and style was identical to Chris Cornell's, found on his recent solo album Carry On. I found it interesting that Cook didn't mention Cornell's version as he received praise from the judges and few seem to be acknowledging the fact Cook wasn't being that creative with the song.

And it's not like Cornell's cover was obscure. It was a hit, receiving plenty of airplay on our local modern rock station and I even put it on SLS17.

Here's David Cook's performance of "Billie Jean". Enjoy it, just make sure you track down Chris Cornell's version, too. Without Cornell's cover, Cook would have sung something else on Tuesday night.

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Why I Can't Watch Canadian Idol

idolA little birdy told me Canadian Idol was airing tonight. I followed American Idol and I love this country, so naturally I'd follow Canadian Idol, right?

Wrong again. I can't watch Canadian Idol. I can't stand Ben Mulroney and seeing and hearing him drives me bonkers. He's my Mary Hart with the delivery that strikes every nerve in my body. If there's a show with him on it, I'm not watching.

Ben Mulroney makes Ryan Seacrest seem like Laurence Olivier. He's a horrible broadcaster, so bad I don't even like writing about it. Watching Canadian Idol simply isn't an option for me.

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Sparks Flies High, Beat Boxer Battered

idolI completely missed the final American Idol performances on Tuesday night, because I was busy sweeping a double header. Since I missed that, I didn't bother watching last night, but I taped the finale just to browse at a later time.

At 10pm I flipped on the telly and saw AI was in overtime, so I watched to see who won this thing. Originally I liked Sundance Head, but he fizzled early. Then I backed LaKisha, but she finished fourth. All the while Jordin was getting better and better and I started to think she could win this thing. She did.

After watching this most important announcement, we hit the tape and started watching the two hours that preceded this moment. That's when I watched my favourite guilty pleasure rock out with "Never Again". That's when I realized, I no longer have to feel guilty about this. Enough with this Catholic guilt! There's absolutely nothing wrong with me enjoying Kelly Clarkson, is there?

If "Never Again" was sung by Bif Naked, Edge 102 would be playing it ad nauseam.

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Where Was LaKisha?

IdolLast Tuesday, I went out after my run to celebrate the conclusion of my Learn to Run clinic. At about 11pm that night, I decided to record the West coast feed of American Idol to watch when I had an hour of chill time. That's right kids, I own something called a VCR and I record programs onto a VHS cassette tape. Maybe I'll take a picture and show you this relic from a previous age, but I digress...

It was a busy week, and this free hour never materialized. Finally, on Monday night, I decided to throw in last week's AI. What I saw was some TLC show about a family with 12 kids. Taryn, it seems, recorded over LaKisha, Melinda, Jordin and Blake and I never got to see the Bee Gees ep. Please, save your tears for LaKisha, I noticed she was no longer with us last night. Why, America? Was she really so bad?

Each contestant sang three songs last night, and I think I've got all three finalists figured out. Blake is the cool, current dude who would probably have the most commercial appeal of the three. I thought he was pretty cool, even though I was jealous that I could never pull off wearing a vest like that. Or could I? Hmmm....

Melinda is always good, but I've yet to sip the Melinda kool-aid. I dunno, I can't help but think of how much cooler Tina Turner was than Melinda is. Still, Melinda deserves to be in the finals and if she's voted out there could be riots in Necklessville.

Finally, we have young Jordin, who looks like she could play for the Argos. She can also sing, which probably makes this the tightest final three I can recall. Based on Jordin's songs last night, I think it's time for her to depart to give us a neat little Blake ~ Melinda smack down next week.

I miss LaKisha.

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Welcome Back, LaKisha

IdolWelcome back, LaKisha. You were missed. You were my favourite from the start, but you seemed to lose your way in recent weeks. Last night, your performance of Bon Jovi's "This Ain’t a Love Song” was the best of the bunch.

LaKisha, go get Blake and put him in front of the Idol PC. Blake, that reworked version of “You Give Love a Bad Name” required stones, but you pulled it off. It was so cool, I almost forgot I was watching AI. Now go get Jordin, if you don't mind.

Jordin, what happened? I though you might win this thing. Last week, I had you pegged as the best of the final six but last night you brutally murdered “Living On a Prayer”. Do you realize what that song means to me? Do you understand how many mix tapes I made with that song on it? You're young, you're fun, but you're going home.

Here are my three favourites from last night:

  1. LaKisha Jones
  2. Blake Lewis
  3. Melinda Doolittle

Here are my three least favourite from last night:

  1. Jordin Sparks
  2. Phil Stacey
  3. Chris Richardson

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