When faux-hawks frustrate the 'Idol' system
It's amazing what a great set of songs will do for the show. I use the word "great" loosely since most of the songs sung on Idol were chart-toppers at one point or another. I suppose The Police, The Pretenders and The Cure are more the kind of thing that I'd go pay money to see in concert. So, for me, tonight was a good one. Thanks Gwen for having great taste in music.
Musical taste can't save some, though. Just when I thought what's-his-name was finally going away, once again he's found a way to set office break rooms a buzz with his faux-hawk worthy of the West Village on Halloween night --not that there's anything wrong with it. There's a future in freakiness -- just not in singing. Not for him anyway.
I feel bad for the guy in some ways. He so young and still formulating who he is. It's obvious that he feels almost as awkward performing as we do watching -- like he knows he has no business being on the stage. Then week in and week out, he faces increasingly harsh criticism from the media. Is it any wonder that he's morphing from awkwardly introverted to weirdly extroverted? The kid is cracking.
Still, it makes me laugh that he remains in the competition. There's a part of me that likes to see the system frustrated. So often you hear Simon saying something like, "This is a singing competition" or "We're here to find the best." Moments like last week's boot to Stephanie and tomorrow's likely boot to Chris R. show that idea to be painfully wrong.
I wish the show's element of the unexpected did more to shake Idol's lockdown on pop music, though. If anything the reverse is true. When you've got everyone talking about "that kid who can't sing but everyone still votes for," you're just drawing more people to the show to see what happens next. If it weren't a federal offense I'd think it was the show creators behind VFTW.
Now, if only the music were as unexpected as the results. Not even Gwen's song catalogue can do much for that. If Elvis were alive, I'm sure he'd be able to swing his hips on stage, but not if Idol we're set in the '50s. I'm also convinced AI would never have let The Who bash their instruments around like the Smothers Brothers, nor allow the Chili Peppers to perform in only socks. Well, no network TV would, I'm sure.
Maybe with Idol growing into more of a musical variety show than a competition, we might see more of that, but not from the contestants. Not with the kind of hold the show has over them. It's bad news for those budding stars, but great news for the celebrity guests. It's the perfect recipe for a shocking TV moment.
Jon Peter Lewis was a finalist on the third season of "American Idol." His newly released debut album, "Stories From Hollywood," is available everywhere online and can also be downloaded at americanidol.com. Visit Jon's Web site for more.