An exercise in Idol physics

by Jon Peter Lewis, posted May 3rd 2007 1:21PM

Jon Peter LewisOne of my favorite Einstein quotes is, "Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That's relativity." Tonight's episode was an exercise in physics for me.

I don't know -- maybe it was the hot stove-like Seacrest interviews or the company I was keeping, but I was busy putting both sides of that version of relativity to the test, while I suppose Chris and Phil typified Idol's weekly lesson in gravity: What goes up must come down -- this time in a Blaze of Glory by high-fiving everyone in the crowd and choking back tears. (C'mon girls, lets hear an "awww" for sensitive guys). Glorious. Charlie Sheen and Lou Diamond Phillips would be proud.

No upset this week. Of all the contestants left in the running, I think they were clearly the weakest. The odds were against them. Last I saw, Phil was at 45 to 1 and Chris was 30 to 1. The closest to them was Lakisha who was 9 to 1. I'll agree and say she's the next to go.

Ryan's prophetic disclaimer for fillers proved to be agonizingly true. I can imagine stage manager Debbie waving at him frantically from off camera to keep talking until it was time to break. For as much as I wanted him to get to the point quicker, though, I prefer him asking questions instead of a group song and dance number. I'm glad to see that's been done away with for that past few weeks.

So now it's off to the staff shrink and a whirlwind of interviews and appearances for the two contestants until the tour. Whether either of them ends up with careers afterward remains to be seen. I'd say Phil's got a shot at country, but Chris has his work cut out for him.

Answers to Reader Questions:

I had the feeling in past seasons that Idols didn't get a whole lot of input on the arrangements. But obviously that's changed this year. Do you suppose it was a specific change by AI, or do you think it had more to do with the specific contestants this year?

Good question. I think arrangement input on Idol has been primarily a logistics issue. During season three, I wanted to make some changes to a song and Byrd, the vocal coach, asked me specifically what I wanted to see changed. I didn't have any specific arrangement ideas, just directions I would like to have taken the song in.

We had to pick our songs on Thursdays, cut it down on Fridays and on Saturday, the studio guys had upwards of 12 songs to record in a day. I couldn't write for them specific orchestral notes other than "I want it to sound more like ..." in one day. But, having a music director and all the musicians present makes that a lot easier.

Now it would be possible to take a rough idea from software like Ableton Live, Garage Band, Pro Tools, or whatever to the MD and have him help put something together.

What do you think makes music great or memorable?

Wow, you guys are pulling out the marathon questions today. Uhhh, the short answer is if a song can connect with people beyond it's own time -- like Mozart or Bach. They wrote stuff that still has an impact on people who listen to it--whether they like the style or not. I mean you can't hear Toccata and Fugue in D minor and not think about something spooky. Whatever music from our time people connect with 300 years from now will truly be great.

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 Visit Jon's Web site for more.

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June 12 2007 at 11:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Who is your personal favourite? Do you think they have a shot at winning? Why/why not?

I'll go first. Blake is my favourite. He's original and he has cojones. He's also pretty attractive, which doesn't hurt. Anybody who can get 311 on idol gets props in my book. But his performances are always entertaining, and not in a Sanjaya-type of way. If I were to buy an album from one of the final four, it would be his.

The other three all sing very well. But I don't listen to a lot of R&B/pop music. I don't see them releasing albums in a style that would be appealing to me. I enjoy watching Idol as a singing competition, but I do not know most of the music that's currently on the top 40, nor do I own more than about 3 albums by female artists. Sampling of what I do like:

That being said, I think Melinda has the best voice. Jordin is cute. LaKisha plateaued way too early and is getting really boring. I look for the top 2 as Blake with Melinda or Jordin, and the girl winning. Why? Not everyone likes the same music as me.

(wow, this almost turned into my own blog)

May 04 2007 at 11:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thanks for answering my question! It seems to me that in the 6 seasons of AI, we've had a shift from a more "karaoke" type of contestant to actual singer/songwriters. I think that having contestants with a more musical background makes for a far more interesting competition. I wonder if someday they'll let contestants sing their own songs. Anyway, it's refreshing to see them get past pretty face/good voice.

(oh, and to the other readers - can't you recognise a bot when you see one? don't talk to bots, they can't hear you)

May 04 2007 at 10:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow JP, I love your honesty.

My office mates and I have AI recaps on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. We agree with you that Lakisha is the next to leave.

I though I was the only one who hated the group sing. This year for me, the Coke Sponsored Q & A session before the contestants sing, comes in second as most annoying part of the show.

The contestants are terrible at thinking on their feet and they always seem to look unconfortable when Ryan asks them the "audience question".

If Freemantle wants to make additional revenue, they at least can coach the contestants on Q&A techniques. Maybe hire a former Miss America to help them out with this!

May 03 2007 at 10:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why so much hate Scott? Why waste your time then? I just don't get it. This is a forum for Jon's American Idol blog and comments about his blog, not a place for you to take out your irrelevant and innapropriate hatred on someone. Jon does not deserve your nasty comments. He was hired to do this job for a reason. When you become CEO of AOL, then you can find someone you like better. Have a nice day.

May 03 2007 at 6:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Who gives a cr*p what scottisrude says? You're welcome.
JPLewis is a hack, clearly trying to cash in on his 11 minutes of Idol fame (which have clearly faded; hence his "blog" trying to somehow make him current and relevant in this crop of contenstants).
I can't believe TV Squad and/or AOL post his inarticulate ramblings.

May 03 2007 at 6:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Who gives a rat's butt what Scott says? Anyway, thanks for reading his blog! :P

May 03 2007 at 6:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Who gives a rat's butt what Jon Peter Whoever says, and what gives him the right to be glib, callous or condescending to American Idol and/or its contestants? Oh... yes. That's right. It must be his astromonical album sales or sellout stadium concerts. LOL

"Credibility? Party of one..."

May 03 2007 at 5:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My 'aww' moment last night was when Blake was crying for Chris... So sweet their friendship... In fact I wasn't really watching Phil, I have found that I like his singing better if I'm not looking at him.. But when he started crying I had to look up to see what was going on...

As for who is leaving next... I hope its anyone but Blake, since this whole season, he has been the only entertainment I have gotten from the show...

And I have to say that I agree with you 100% on your answer to the last question...

May 03 2007 at 5:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Another great analogy Jon. Soooo... who's next to go? Hopefully not Blake since he's the last of the dudes. The show would be really boring without him.

May 03 2007 at 5:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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