On Idol, a night of threes

by Jon Peter Lewis, posted May 16th 2007 4:21PM

Jon Peter LewisThe American Idol format is so brilliant. It's like the marriage of a national sports league, Star Search and the presidential election. After seeing the final three go home to all the fanfare, I can't help thinking how amazing all the intense community support is for the local Idol. It's like watching the home team during the NBA playoffs.

I never really had that experience, though, since my dad was a military man, and I grew up all over the country. That, and because I stayed in L.A. after the show instead of going back to school in Idaho, which is where AI decided to place me.

But, like Ben Folds says:

I'm really not complaining,
I realize it's just a job
and I hate hearing belly-aching rockstars whine and sob
Cause I could be bussing tables
I could well be pumping gas
but I get paid much finer for playing piano
and kissing ass

So, tonight it was three contestants, three songs, three phone lines and three judges. "A night of threes" Ryan calls it. Hmmm, well, what the heck -- why not just carry that a little further? What three things impressed me the most about the three contestants tonight?

Jordin started off the show, so I'll start with her.
1) Jordin has a star at her local mall in Glendale, and now she says people can walk all over her. Truer words have not been spoken, I think. The moment she gets a deal with J Records, she'll be Clive's newest throw rug.
2) Simon picked "Wishing on a Star" for her, but didn't like the arrangement. He did say she was great, though, and I don't think she understood that when she started to give him some backtalk for it. That just looks bad, I think. Better to just roll with whatever and move on.
3) She looked good tonight. I think she's lost a bunch of weight. Good for her.

Blake:
1) While I'm surprised that Simon is being so nice tonight, I did agree with him on a couple of things. You can't sing Roxanne and not get compared to Sting, but it was pretty good, and I think he should get some respect for maintaining a lot of originality.
2) If this were a high school yearbook, I'd nominate him the most likely to succeed ... commercially.
3) I'd also vote for him to be most likely to leave tomorrow night.

Melinda:
1) Tonight was a back-up singer's delight. I liked that she brought the Idol background vocalists up on stage. It was like a little glimpse of the past for her and a reminder where she came from.
2) All three judges thought she showed a lot of range. I'm not really convinced about that, but she was great.
3) Melinda is now up there with George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Bobby Brown -- she has her own street. That's pretty cool.

Answers to Reader Questions:

I have an issue with Jon feeling that BOTH Lakisha & Melinda could not have continued in the competition. And as much as I hate to bring up race, I see no other reason for him to express that concept other than the fact that both women are Black. I'm curious to know if he would have the same opinion if there were two Caucasian women remaining?

Not a bad question. In short, yeah. Let's say Katharine McPhee and Haley Scarnato were in the top four together. Both are from California , both have a background in show tunes and they're both beautiful girls. They would be competing for the same type of voter. It has nothing to do with race. It's like Corn Flakes and Special K, Chili's and Applebees, Mac and PC and McCain and Giuliani. Melinda and Lakisha are both deeply rooted in gospel singing and have a very similar vocal quality. They were directly competing for the same votes. It's demographics, not race.

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.

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daisy

Melinda ousted from American Idol - What a disgrace.When Sanjaya survived for so long, I thought something was wrong with the show. Now I am convinced that there is something wrong.

May 17 2007 at 10:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
emily.

Demographics and race are closely linked. As long as race and cultures/sub-cultures are linked, demographers and statisticians will use race as a demographic dividing line. Racism can be a part of demographics, but John is right to point out that demographics aren't automatically racist. I bet there's doctorate-level research in the social sciences about the link between the two.
But, one could make the same argument I just made in the last paragraph substituting "class" for "race." Does that make AI a class-ist show, or us a class-ist society? What about making this argument with gender?

My conclusion from asking myself these questions is that as long as people can think of ways to divide and classify ourselves, we will divide and classify ourselves. Frequently generalizations are made about these classifications, which lead to all sorts of "-isms."

Another thing to remember is that our culture is responsible for AI and it's popularity. As such, things that are present in our culture will definitely show up in AI. Racism is still a part of our culture. Racism probably effects AI, but this is an indictment of our society rather than AI or the media specifically.

May 17 2007 at 2:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jm

Good response to the Melinda-LaKisha question, Jon, but Haley is actually from Texas. Excellent comparison, though. I always like AI finales with two extremely different singers myself, such as Bo-Carrie or Taylor-Kat. That way, you can choose the singer whose record you're more likely to buy later. With two similar singers, viewers who dislike their shared genre are turned off.

May 16 2007 at 10:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kat Okon


Doing a booty dance... "oh yeah, uh huh, oo oo uh huh."
I never thought I'd say it JP but I am so happy your crystal ball doesn't know Jack! Then again it probably don't know Jill either. =D

Anyway always lovin' your blog and even more the picture. :p I no want your blogs to end :( BTW My question, next time can you use that uber hot picture of you? You know the one that goes to your Bio page... *CHEESE*

May 16 2007 at 10:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Samantha

Mmmm...I could look at "that guy's" picture all day. Easy.

Jon, I really think you handled/answered the race question eloquently. Good analogies.

May 16 2007 at 7:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nukethewhalesagain

Anyone else tired of looking at that guys picture anytime theres an AI post? I can't wait for this show to be over.

May 16 2007 at 6:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Whoosh

if all the contestants were black, someone would still find a way to call it racist

May 16 2007 at 5:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim

Mac:PC::Frank Sinatra:Sanajaya Malakar

May 16 2007 at 5:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
\"Gidget\"

LOL...well you can't really say John and Rudy because Rudy was never a soldier much less a POW. ;) They have different voters I think...I'm for Rudy BTW. ;) I love how people say they "hate to bring it up", it they really hate it, why do it

May 16 2007 at 4:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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