An exercise in Idol physics
One 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 americanidol.com. Visit Jon's Web site for more.