Do not expect justice in the final of 'American Idol'

American Idol is down to the Top Three. Last Saturday night we lost James, which leaves Scotty, Haley and Lauren heading for the final. I am jiggling with excitement.

The talent this year has been staggering. And just as well, for when "cruel bastard" judge Simon Cowell left, everyone prophesied doom. You can't have a talent show without a "cruel bastard" judge, they said. They were wrong.

This year's judging panel has been wet and useless, and Idol is recording bigger-than-evers each week. Last week, in a country racked by recession, a record 72 million voted at a dollar a pop. This is beyond analysis.

J.Lo, announced during the series as the Most Beautiful Woman In The World, and Randy Jackson, who has been inexplicably allowed to say exactly the same things for 10 seasons, enough already oy vey, mostly just used up valuable singing time.

But Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler, despite having nothing to say beyond excruciating chat-up lines, has been fascinating. Tyler has one of rock music's classic ravaged faces, a melange of wrinkled prunes trying to escape from two flapping fish gills.

My mother-in-law (82), new to the show, got him first time. Surveying the panel, she said - "The woman on the end isn't very attractive."

Tyler is currently flogging his memoir Does The Noise In My Head Bother You?

Well, from the mouth it does. Steven Tyler Undrugged? would have been much better. The book is filled with aphoristic wisdom - "If you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail: if you're a singer, everything looks like a song." Yes.

The contestants have been so much better. James' exit was a surprise. It has become normal in Idol to bring destruction, disease and death to the table, and James brought two conditions, Tourette syndrome and autism. His departure, thumb and little finger raised in the metal salute, tears streaming down his face, will not be forgotten.

Scotty, a former grocery clerk who holds the microphone as if caressing a wounded sparrow, has been the bookies' choice. He is 17, but sounds like a real man with his canyon-deep country voice. A friend in high fashion, and these people know bodies, assures me a voice that deep means he is extraordinarily well endowed. But Scotty, cute in a mannered way, is a mature quick-witted pro with an impeccable voice for country ballads. He will surely win.

But Lauren is my favourite. She cries a lot, especially when reminded of the tornado that recently whipped through her home down in Rossville, Georgia.

Lauren has only just turned 16. She is too young yet to handle the perversion of fickle stardom, lacks confidence, and most of the time looks as though she has been dressed from the last three unsold items at a jumble sale (except for last weekend). But she's lovely, and on the right song, she can be breathtakingly good.

Haley is the dark horse. Her smile is patently false, failing to hide a seething competitiveness that can turn nasty at the flick of a judge's word. Unfortunately, she is involved with the wretched Casey (sixth), and now you can hardly hear her singing for the sound of Casey screaming her name from the audience. Haley has come back from the dead twice. She's a fighter, not a lover.

Of course it is all down to public vote; anything can happen. Why else was the near-perfect Pia tossed six weeks ago?

They never release voting numbers. I smell a huge board-room of rats; America cannot be that stupid.

But if Idol is squeaky clean, then we are really watching a pop culture doco on voting patterns, from a public split between teenage girls, and middle-aged women with their noses pressed against the window staring at the falling rain, their lives.

Do not expect justice in the final - Adam Lambert did not win in 2009 - but it will be riveting entertainment.

• Roy Colbert is a Dunedin writer.

Add a Comment

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter