The finals (a baker's dozen 13 this year) start on Tuesday, so I'm going to do my recap of the audition, Hollywood, and semi-final rounds before the finals.
I've been an AI fan from almost the very beginning. I still remember Kelly's Natural Woman (and her cool hat). Her upset over Justin was very dramatic. (I even saw, and liked, From Justin to Kelly.) I will undoubtedly watch again next season, but I may have to wait until the finals start. The auditions this year seemed okay, although I didn't see every episode. Hollywood week, where you typically see some of the good singers start to break out, was a complete disaster. One one-hour episode spent the entire first half of "group night" on the petty drama between two of the groups. No singing. And an entire episode to hear, "it's not good news....it's great news" or "it's bad news. . . you're going to have to see a lot more of us." AI is very dramatic. It doesn't need the producers manipulating the story.
But the semi-finals were a complete train wreck. First, a ton of the singers blew. The format, one girl, one guy, and the the next highest vote getter was designed to bring gender equity, but that failed miserably as all of the "next highest vote getters" were guys. So the wild card was half girls and half guys, and they still had to stretch credulity to get two girls in. So they spent at least twenty minutes of one of the Hollywood rounds showing the judges pouring over polaroids and fretting over the final 36. And we're supposed to believe they decided the wild card winners during one commercial break? The fix was in.
But enough ranting. Here are my thoughts on the finalists (in alphabetical order):
Adam - He's a very good singer, but a little too cocky and over the top. He'll pull a Constantine and do something a little off and lose that week in a "shocker."
Alexis - I don't remember her song so she probably won't do too well. She was just the best girl out of an otherwise forgettable bunch.
Allison - Good singer, but I hate '80's Heart. No Hollywood week momentum, but the fact that she won with no pub bodes well for her.
Anoop - Couldn't even beat the roughneck, but the judges love him. Proof the fix was in: singing only for the judges and presumably to impress them he sang something they had already heard. That made no sense. Does seem likable.
Robert Downey, Jr. - Already crowned the winner by the producers/judges.
Jasmine - Are you serious? She was terrible in the semi-final and not much better in the wild card. More proof the fix was in. She did seem to have promise in the Hollywood round.
Jorge - Very likable and sings Elton John, so can't be all bad. Don't see him winning, though.
Kris - Nothing in the Hollywood rounds on this guy, but he made it in cold on his own so could be a surprise. Not enough info. to predict more than that.
Lil - See Danny. Producers/judges co-favorite.
Matt - I love piano bar singers, but he stunk on Coldplay. Dude does have soul. His Ray Charles in Hollywood week was great.
Megan - Cute.
Michael - Not a good enough singer. Did out-poll Anoop in semi-final.
Scott - Scott is clearly a great musician (he's some kind of child prodigy) and technically a good singer. His voice just isn't that interesting and neither are his song choices (Bruce Hornsby?).
I guess I can't see a girl winning this year although Lil would have to be considered a favorite. I'd wager Allison and Alexis came in no higher than fourth in their weeks. Jasmine and Megan couldn't even do that well.
That leaves the guys. Adam's probably the best singer, but he's a little too cocky. We'll have to wait and see if Danny's got the ability to walk the line between Rocker/Too Cool For School and Self-deprecating/Willing to Submit to AI Judges. Daughtery was perfect at this. Toward the end, David Cook had it down, too. Matt's my dark horse, but he may also have one really bad week (see Cold Play) and lose. There are some decent singers this year, so consistency will be the key.
I'd be interested to hear your predictions and/or comments.
Mike Mussina, Hall of Famer
4 weeks ago