American Idol Finale: A Hollywood Tragedy
It was Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery, each singing 1) their favorite song of the season so far; 2) a song selected for them by their idols; and 3) the song that will be their first single if they should win American Idol tomorrow night. The judges didn't have much to say -- they commented briefly after rounds two and three, but at this point it's all encomiums. (But wasn't it ever thus?) Ryan Seacrest didn't say much either. For the first time all season, he looked tired.
Lauren Alaina actually was tired. She apparently strained a vocal cord during rehearsal and had to get shot full of meds to raise her voice above a whisper. As a result, she sounded a little hoarser than usual -- a good sound for her, and at times she seemed to channel a little smidgeon of Haley Reinhart. If she's lucky, her encounter with Dr. Feelgood will mark the beginning of a long and hellish addiction that'll end with her doing speedballs in a Chelsea backalley and recording a record of bitter, slit-eyed proto-punk. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how idols are made.
Scotty was fine. Meh, but fine. He'll be hugely famous. He'll be billed as the next Hank Williams Jr. even though he's actually the afterbirth of Garth Brooks, and Red America will love him. Scotty's victory, which is assured, is really their victory. The victory of apple pie, of baseball, of a desperate fear of Lady Gaga and her queer witchery; the victory of not knowing the difference between Iraq and Iran, an ignorance to which Scotty confessed several weeks ago in song, earning a large ovation from a theater full of sweating dittoheads and young girls on the trembling edge of their first orgasms.
Goddamn, this is an awful show. Why do you watch it?
And the songs? There were songs. Six of them, each allegedly different from the others. Scotty sang "Gone." Lauren sang "Flat On The Floor." Scotty sang "Check Yes or No." Lauren sang "Maybe It Was Memphis." Scotty sang his putative first single, "I Love You This Big" (a ridiculous baby-talking treacle) and Lauren sang her own putative single, "Like My Mother Does" (which doesn't even pretend to greatness or blockbusterism, but aims only for respectable profitability).
Tonight, the results. Scotty will win. Lauren will cry. So will Scotty. And so will I, probably, because Lauren seems like a nice kid, and her voice really is stunning, and she only ever really looks at home when performing, and I'm afraid a loss will make her self-conscious even then. U2 will perform, and not Aerosmith, as previously reported. Which is good for the contestants. They'd all look like middling karaoke stars performing alongside Steve Tyler, whereas performing alongside Bono will make them seem as unaffected and genuine as they were when they auditioned for this horrible show in the first place.