Have to admit I don't watch American Idol all that much (okay, at all), so sitting through two hours of it last night was quite a revelation. As in, when did this show become such a bore?
'Waste of my life," was my daughter's reaction. Then again, she's a Beatle's fan.
Bad enough that the contestants, featured on this handy fridge magnet thingy Fox sent a few weeks ago (yes, those are a few magnets from Puppets Who Kill horning in on the action) ruined a bunch of perfectly good Beatle songs. Honestly, after all the hype about how great the singing was on this edition, could you not have picked 11 people off the street to do as good a job as they did last night? One doofus with two first names, Michael Johns, booted A Day In The Life so badly I now know how many holes it takes to fill the Kodak Theater.
To be fair to these kids, they all had to cram their Beatle song into a 90 second performance. For Johns, that meant sacrificing the two long, crescending chords from A Day In The Life, which pretty much wrecks the song.
Another girl, Kristy Lee Cook, admitted she had never heard her song, the Lennon classic You've Got To Hide Your Love Away, and then went out and proved it. Throughout the painfully drawn out night, contestant after contestant failed to find a connection with arguably the most famous songbook in the history of popular music.
The one lad, David Archuleta, who looks about 12, did a nice job with a bad song, The Long And Winding Road. Still, nobody really nailed it last night.
Thought it might have something to do with the fact that these kids are so young until I realized that George Harrison was younger than all but one of them (Archuleta, who is 17) when he and the rest of the Fab Four first performed on The Ed Sullivan Show 44 years ago last month. The oldest Beatle at that time was Ringo, who was still months away from turning 24.
Given that the show dragged on for two hours, why not let these kids take three or four minutes to sing these songs properly? The show seemed bloated and unfocused, lurching from bio to song to commercials and back again with numbing regularity.
Not helping was the fact that the judges looked bored out of their minds. Not just Simon Cowell, who did his best last night to stir things up with his usual blunt criticism. Paula Abdul seemed downright sleepy half way through the show, way off her usual flirty energy.
The judges seemed embarrassed, as well they should, about their blatant product placement duties, especially when shilling for Coca-cola. Ryan Seacrest, on the other hand, seemed to spring to life whenever he had to hold up a cell phone or throw to a sponsor. If he could wear corporate logos all over his clothes ands forehead, he would.
Tonight, former Idol finalist Kellie Pickler returns; hopefully she'll get more than 90 seconds to sing a song. It all gets stretched out again tonight at 9 (in a mercifully shorter one hour edition). Hopefully all 11 remaining finalists will be eliminated.