Daily Archives: May 23, 2010

Genuine Idol Moments

As we gear up for the Season Finale of American Idol (it’s about time! Gosh, this season seemed like it would never end!), and we prepare to get some new photos (and hopefully vids) of David on the red carpet, I figured it was time that I came out with my own “Top 10” Idol performances.  Needless to say, David makes my list (actually 2 such performances of David’s make the list – I am a David-centric Idol watcher after all), but what I really want to highlight here are real, genuine “moments” that contestants were able to have just on the strength of their own talent. (Fantasia is also featured twice on my list – even though J-Hud was my fav her season.  So, this is more about the performances I found to be real “moments” and less about which contestants I preferred.)

What was incredibly insulting about the overpimping of Lee Deewyze’s “Hallelujah” was just how totally manufactured it was.  There was nothing in that performance – NOTHING! – that stemmed from Lee himself.  And I’m truly disappointed that Simon Cowell, after 9 years on this show, would dare to give the audience something so trite and unbelievably gimmicky (he, Simon Cowell, who used to call contestants out for these things all the time: how can he hold his head up after accusing Tim Urban earlier this season for being “gimmicky” when he fabricated the biggest gimmick all season with that “Hallelujah” nonsense?  Shame, Simon, for shame!)

So, lest Simon has forgotten (along with the rest of us), here are some real “moments” from American Idol (listed in order of my favorites).

1.  David Archuleta – Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me (S7)

best part of this: when David rises up from the steps and comes charging toward the audience as his Voice crescendos (Gah! Always get goosebumps every time!). Confession: I absolutely prefer this David “moment” over “Imagine.” It was just that fire and his growl that put everybody on notice! Gets me every time! 🙂

2.  Melinda Doolittle – My Funny Valentine (S6)

This performance, which happened so early in the competition her season, really raised the bar on vocal precision.  In fact, I would argue that, because of her flawless vocals, Melinda has made it really difficult for other female contestants to win since her season.  This, after we’ve already heard Kelly Clarkson, Fantasia, Jennifer Hudson, and Carrie Underwood.  What a legacy!

3.  David Archuleta – Imagine (S7)

Speaking of other early “peak” performances, I do believe this performance right here has set the standard for every male contestant on this show.  Absolutely flawless and so heartfelt! Who saw this coming first time around?

4. Fantasia – Summertime (S3)

This is how you create a “moment”!  How simple is this, with no back-up choir or tympani drum rolls?

5.  Bo Bice – In a Dream (S4)

In other “moments,” sometimes all you need is the voice.  Nothing more, nothing less.

6.  Kelly Clarkson – Stuff Like That There (S1)

I agree with most of the Idol enthusiasts who consistently rank this performance highly.  It was a genuine “moment” before we started expecting such moments on the show. Absolute fun and power combined in one performance.

7.  Blake Lewis – You Give Love a Bad Name (S6)

Speaking of fun, this just woke everyone up, and despite the “gimmicky” nature of Blake’s beatboxing, this performance really put his skills to the best use.  Did he start the whole “rearrangement” crap on Idol? Yes.  But, I got to give the guy major props for doing it well when it’s done well. 

8.  David Cook – Always Be My Baby (S7)

Of course, when it comes to “rearranging” I have to give Cookie his props too.  David Archuleta will always be king to me, but when Cook brought it, he brung it! Most people rank “Billie Jean” as their top Idol “moment,” but I didn’t really get Cook until he brought the same magic Mariah Carey week.

9.  Clay Aiken – Bridge Over Troubled Water (S2)

And since the choir had to be brought out last week (at least when Clay and Ruben competed in the finale, they both got the choir treatment), let’s really look at a performance that capitalized on the harmonious impact of having those backup voices build up on an already impeccable vocal masterclass. We sometimes forget Clay was another great singer that came from this show.  Now, that is a cheesy choir, and this is a moment!

10.  Fantasia – I Believe (S3)

This is still my all time favorite coronation song moment, and Fantasia gives it her all here.  Loving the gospel choir treatment here as well.  Vocals aren’t perfect, but the emotions are on point.

Can you imagine, after 9 seasons, we have now come to this sad state of affairs where a “moment” had to be concocted? That Simon Cowell had a hand in it last week, after he witnessed all these fabulous moments first hand, really makes me sad that he should leave the show on such an all-time low.  This is not just about a show jumping the shark. It’s officially lost its way.  The producers need to look through the archives and remember what genuine moments used to be about (and not what “Simon says” they’re about).