It struck me last night that American Idol is a lot like The Hunger Games: a savage competition in which young people are dropped into an unfamiliar and cruelly manipulated environment and ruthlessly eliminated until only one survives.
As Seacrest says, “Dim the lights. Let the games begin.”
The top 13 began the season in earnest last night with a soul cavalcade: boys singing Stevie Wonder, girls go home – I mean, singing Whitney Houston.
New twist (one that’s already been used by just about every TV competition but Idol): it’s guys vs. girls. Tonight the male and female with the lowest vote tally will be announced and the judges will decide who leaves covered in disgrace.
Prediction: it will be the guy. I think putting the decision in the judges hands is intended to prevent another imbalanced year like last season when there were only about two girls left by the time a single guy was sent home. Ah, Idol, that’s what happens when your call-in electorate is about 90% female.
So who was good last night? Jimmy Iovine and Mary J. Blige were great as vocal coaches. The singers? Well, both Stevie and Whitney are vocal quicksand.
My subjective ruling: Best male was DeAndre Brackensick who crushed the Carib-flavored “Master Blaster”. See for yourself.
On the female side, I know the crowd and the judges went for Jessica Sanchez in a big, standing-O kind of way. But I thought she had phrasing issues on a very showy song (“I Will Always Love You”). Idol loves the muscled-up long ball hitter.
I much preferred Hollie Cavanagh precisely because she sang “All the Man That I Need” without trying to overpower it. Here’s how.
It’s foolish to try and predict results this early in the season, but no one ever accused me of being wise. I’ll take J. Lo’s Jer-Bear, Jeremy Rosado on the male side and Shannon Magrane on the female, with Rosado going home (despite a river of tears cried by Lopez.)
That’s fine by me, because it gives us another week of watching Magrane tower over Seacrest like a page out of Ripley’s Believe It or Not!