Where's the breakout star on American Idol?

by Jason Hughes, posted Apr 27th 2009 4:27PM
Allison Iraheta of You can say Adam Lambert is the breakout star of American Idol this season, and you'd almost be right. But he's not. He's too over-the-top most of the time (keep your tongue in your mouth!) and though he's come closest, he still hasn't had that "moment" Simon is waiting for. In fact, none of them have. This is about as bland a "Final Five" as we've ever seen.

After all these weeks, there should have been a performance from almost everyone that forced me to back up the DVR and experience it at least once more. It hasn't happened.

Remember Jason Castro's performance of "Hallelujah" last year? How about David Archuleta on "Imagine?" And beyond that, we had the incredibly distinctive and diverse sounds of Brooke White, Carly Smithson, Syesha Mercado. Even underperformers Kristy Lee Cook and Amanda Overmyer brought a unique style to the show. In one season they touched on rock, country, soul, R&B, folk and pop. For all Kara DioGuardi's talk of "artistry" in this season's crop, there's very little diversity on that stage. If it weren't for Adam and Allison Iraheta they would almost be totally interchangable.

But this problem didn't start with the Top Five. Anoop was the same kind of singer as Kris and Matt and Danny. Most of the ones who did have a unique sound turned out not to be very good. Megan Joy was one of the most singular voices on the show, and she became awful. Lil had all this potential and got worse and worse. Alexis? Cut down almost immediately. And poor Scott MacIntyre was never as good as his story, despite what the judges tried to tell him.

In a way, it reminds me of Season Three when Fantasia was in a league of her own and the rest of the contestants just fell by the wayside, one boring performance after another. This year, the front-runner seems to be pretty clearly Adam, though I prefer Allison. Back then your top 5 was Fantasia, Diana DeGarmo, Jasmine Trias, LaToya London and George Huff. I know. So the pool is stronger this year, and the genders reverse, but it isn't any more interesting to watch.

For the first time in a long time, I don't even look forward to the new episodes anymore, really. And I don't think it's the show because I'm just as ridiculously fanatical about it as I've always been. And I'll be there next January hoping for a better crop of contestants to get excited about. I guess it's hard to get the right blend of talent every season. If you find a bunch great singers who all sing in the same way the same type of music, you could have a great singing group ... bit it makes for one boring season.

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