Monthly Archives: May 2012

Watch and Weep

As I said in the previous post, sometimes there is a glimpse of greatness in our Reality TV Overload.  And So You Think You Can Dance, one of the most under-watched reality shows with the stronger talent to showcase, really delivered a brilliant performance tonight (see below – searched long and hard for this online clip):

#WGWG5 Trended Earlier This Evening

And that about says it all.

Congratulations, Phillip Phillips. That was truly an emotional ending when you stopped singing and ran to the arms of your parents. It made up for my feeling a tad bit annoyed that the winner results were so predictable. And your coronation song is halfway decent!

And, welcome to the Runner-Up Circle, Jessica Sanchez! You have joined an illustrious circle (see: Archuleta, David; Clay Aiken, Adam Lambert, Crystal Bowersox, etc.).

You did yourself proud and held your own against a legend like Jennifer Holliday (I hope Hollywood and Broadway types were paying attention).

Overall, the finale tonight was interesting. Loved the Phone Book Choir, Chaka Khan, Aerosmith, Joshua-meets-Fantasia, and the Hollie Cavanaugh/Jordin Sparks duet.  Rihanna knows how to work a stage, I will give her that.

Other than that, seriously: if you’re not a WGWG, why bother to audition for this show next year?

Think about it: when a girl with a guitar (Crystal Bowersox Season 9) outperformed her off-key WGWG opponent, she lost.  When a girl who sang and held her own with a DIVA like J. Holliday loses to a sick WGWG (so sick he needs to get surgery right away!!!!), something is wrong with the voting.

Sorry, something is not computing.  132 million votes, and the majority went to a sick cute guy who wasn’t even performing at his optimum best? REALLY??

Come on!

I understand that the other talent show, So You Think You Can Dance, is going to have a Top Guy and Top Girl winner this year. They may have to do the same kind of gender Affirmative Action on this show because, whether you like PP or not (and he is likeable and good at what he does – just not great at it), being crowned the fifth (5th!!!) WGWG winner is getting a bit ridiculous.

I can guarantee you, if we had the same trend with another group – let’s say, five girl winners in a row, five black winners in a row – the media and the public would be all over this, wanting the show to change the format in some kind of way.

Of course, I can’t just say it’s “America’s” problem in wanting to vote for the same type of winner since season 7 (and I still blame the inclusion of musical instruments as swaying the votes to this type of winner). I blame the judges.

If Simon Cowell were still on this show, and he thought it was time for a girl winner, he would have known how to manipulate “America” into voting for a girl winner. These current judges are totally inept.  Their unanimous praise of everyone is causing mediocrity to win out in the end.

Do you think Simon Cowell would have let PP get away with his half-checked in performances all season?  Do you think he wouldn’t have told Jessica to change her style pronto, lest she become “boring” (the way he lit into David Cook during Top 20 week)?

Whatever. America gets the winner they vote for. But, as we’ve already learned, that winner isn’t always the best.

Missing Idol’s Finale for Cirque du Soleil!

This year was the first time I’ve ever missed Idol’s Top 2 Finale, and I’ve been watching since Season 1.

Of course, I don’t care. I’ve been so underwhelmed by the talent popping up on the show that I couldn’t even be bothered to record it on my DVR.  Instead, I went to the circus! 🙂

Seeing Cirque du Soleil perform Michael Jackson’s Immortal World Tour was a long time coming. I received the tickets as a birthday present, and I was finally able to attend the show.  It definitely lived up to all my expectations and beyond.

Let’s put it this way: Michael Jackson’s Music + Cirque du Soleil = Magic! Imagination! Mind-blowing Awesomeness!

I haven’t seen such things on Idol since David Archuleta (who of course never needed all the razzle-dazzle pedazzle that the likes of Cirque and MJ have relied on to entertain the masses, but still: pyrotechnic-meets-acrobats-meets-greatness makes for magnificence).

What was really amazing to me during the 2-hour plus show was how the more simple performances turned out to be my favorites.

Like, the “Human Nature” piece, which included high-flying trapeze artists spinning in the air, only detected through lights illuminating their bodies, as they danced against the backdrop of deep space.

I tell ya, I was moved unspeakably to tears, it was so beautiful. The entire concept, beginning with our clown M.C. stand-in as MJ doing an amazing breakdance popping number while the digitized screen imagined his inspiration coming from musical keys, was awe-inspiring, especially as he surrounds himself with hearts. Love, the ultimate source of inspiration!

Or, how about a pas de deux in air, danced to “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”?

Simply exquisite!

The Thriller number looked like it was recreated from the concept behind Michael Jackson’s This is It, so I wasn’t as blown away, other than it was cool to hear the song, and I wish they did more with Earth Song. I definitely think they could have done a more beautiful presentation with costuming and flying trapeze artists, instead of relying on the music video. Yes, I expect more from Cirque du Soleil.  I wanted flying butterflies and animated trees, or even an oceanic scene!  Those two numbers were a bit lazy, compared to the more simplistic performances that offered more imagination.

What saved Thriller?  The prelude, which included a “Book Worm” woman, literally crawling out of a book about “ghost stories.” 🙂

Absolutely awesome what she was able to do with her body!

But perhaps one of the most moving performances came toward the end, when militaristic robots came out marching to “They Don’t Really Care About Us,” while different images from the music video and footage around the world, detailing our social problems, illuminated on screen. When the dance number faded to black, all we could see were their illuminated red hearts, keeping rhythm to the audible heart beats.  But of course! Only love can “fight” social injustice!

Such an MJ message: L.O.V.E. 😛

All around the stadium were illuminated red hearts that segued to a moving number of “Will You Be There,” which culminated with a hologram of MJ himself and a clip of little Michael singing “I’ll Be There”!

*Sniff*

After that was an energized medley of “Can You Feel It,” “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough,” “Billie Jean,” and “Black or White.”  The finale of course was MJ’s “Man in the Mirror.”  Simple and subtle (though it would have been cooler if the company held up mirrors to the audience to remind us all how we need to look ourselves in the mirror).

I’m still on a high from the evening before.  I certainly recommend you go see this show if it’s playing in your area.

So, after all that, and after realizing I wasn’t at all a bit tired so went online to catch up on what I missed on Idol, I’m even more disgusted at what Idol has become.

Really, there will never be another Michael Jackson (and certainly not someone who could inspire a spectacular show like Cirque du Soleil’s Immortal), but these reality TV contests should be about seeking greatness.  There’s no nurturing even of potential. Just a whole lot of empty platitudes and fake mentoring.

Reality TV: a celebration in mediocrity.

But even in the midst of mediocrity, one often catches a glimpse of greatness.  We found that in David.  Other than that, Idol needs to pack it up.

We Fear David Will “Judge” More than We Fear Judging Him

In the last poll I conducted last week, I had asked you to weigh in on what would most blow your image of David.  Nearly 30% of you frowned upon the thought of David ever cussing in a song (the way I was dismayed when John Legend did something similar), but a majority of you (42%) feared more that David would become judgmental of “sinners,” what with his ultra-religious leanings and obsessions at the moment.

So, basically, what would really blow our image of David is that he would become a self-righteous judgmental religionist, rather than the open-minded God-fearing yet spiritual brother we all believe him to be.

Hmmm. Let’s think about that for a moment. Basically, we’d be fine if he showed a little “edge” in his public persona (romantic kissing in a music video, TV show or movie, posing shirtless, etc.), but the minute he starts shouting “Repent!”, we’re done.

And I guess that totally makes sense.  Any of the other things mentioned in the poll (apart from the cussing, which would really be out-of-character) would probably just be signs that he is maturing and getting more comfortable in his skin and his sex appeal.  It’s the direction of growth that we’re more concerned about: the growing to be more sensual and more confident versus growing in what’s considered a narrower direction, in which someone has decided to not embrace anyone who doesn’t fit his particular worldview.

Whatever David plans, I do hope he maintains his generous and open spirit. It’s what we fell in love with, apart from his magnificent Voice.

After all, over the weekend when reading different tributes in the wake of Donna Summer’s passing, I came upon an interesting debate among some gay fans, who still remained divided over her legacy. Some say her disco music provided the soundtrack to their lives as they learned to love and accept themselves during the liberation days of the ’70s; others reminded those with such fond memories that Donna Summer had condemned gays in the ’80s and called HIV/AIDS “God’s punishment” when she had become a born-again Christian.

Needless to say, the conversation about her legacy quickly deteriorated in a virtual fight between those who wanted to remember the positive things – some even denying that Summer ever publicly denounced them – and those who thought her ’80s legacy of condemnation wiped the slate clean on anything empowering she did as an “accidental gay icon.”

Obviously, even in death or thirty years in passing, fans are not so willing to forgive such judgments from an idol.

The fact that more than 40% of David’s fans have already decided a similar condemning religious outlook would be a “deal breaker” for them, I can only hope that David doesn’t disappoint and that he maintains the wisdom he has been able to show at such a young age.

Idol Finale Week and Commencement Weekend

Whew! I’m absolutely wiped out from a full weekend of commencement activities. So, in honor of our 2012 graduates and with the finale coming up on Idol this week, how about a trip down memory lane when David stepped up his game? 🙂