Ah, American Idol. The last dominant bastion of network TV.
Let's get this out of the way: last week's Top 24 performances SUCKED.
I mean, really, really, really sucked.
Katie Stevens and Andrew Garcia, both bequeathed with the inaugural Pimp Spots, were, at best, mediocre. No stars were born in the first semi-final round.
Until hearing the performances, I had been "best three months of the year!" And then, after the two nights of singing (if, in some cases, it can so be called) was considering just writing the season off. And there are those who probably have.
But that was Season 7 and Season 8 thinking. Hell, in a lot of ways, that was every-season-except-seasons-one-and-six thinking.
Because those season all had major frontrunners who delivered. Constantly. Sure, a hiccup or two along the way... but never so early. Looking specifically at S7 and S8... we had Archuleta and Lambert. Both were anointed, from the first performance, as Top 2.
And they were.
And they were both beaten by someone in the competition we didn't really notice right off the bat.
Guess what? Without that clear frontrunner, this is the most interesting season of Idol in a few years (not the most exciting, not the most talented... the most interesting). Because, like Seasons 1 and 6 (when the overall talent pool, arguably, was at its weakest), we get to DISCOVER someone through the process. Every contestant gets to grow (or leave). There will be no Anointed One this season. No Presumed American Idol.
Which, for the show, means a tad less positive press than last year with Adam Lambert. But for the viewers, if you can stick with it as the contestants improve... it should prove more rewarding.
Which brings me to Crystal Bowersox who may be the only hope this season has for an exciting, Adam Lambert-esque figure (something that is possible WITHOUT being Anointed). She's Adam Lambert's antithesis, of course, with her indie-rock stylings compared to his glam rock. But she needs to stay in the competition. Hence the night change for the Men and the Women this week... so that she can sing. Because while Idol may seem like an odd place for a musician like Crystal... Idol needs her to be this season's lightning rod.
It will be interesting to watch this season to see if the talent pool rises to the occasion. Because it will be fun to discover a new Kelly or a new Jordin (two of the three successful Idol winners at radio). I do want it to be a girl this season, though I wonder with the last two years of Teen Girl Voting Block if it's even possible any more. A female contestant has to relate to the young female viewers... I wonder who it'll be...
Off to watch the Top 10 Men perform... my ears bleeding at the thought...