Sunday, April 22, 2007

American Idol many rough weeks later

Latin week was rough for everyone. Even though Latin music abounds with great singers who you could name better than me, I think of great Latin rhythms before singers. And as such, it's just not a genre to highlight singing, particularly singing by eight non-Latin twentysomethings. The same holds for funk. Yes, James Brown could beg, scream, and shout as well as any soul deity. But that's just not his gift to the world. And after Soul Brother No. 1, where are you going to turn for great funk vocals? P-Funk? Zapp? The Gap Band? Could Hayley have saved herself with "Funky President?"

Still, the contestants did their best to find the most Eurovision Latin hits available with Gloria Estefan predictably dominating the evening. A dreary show all around even though it got the overdue job done of sending Hayley back to whatever wallpaper she'll blend with best.

Then last week's show comes right on the heels of Cho Seung-Hui's shooting spree. And as the Mr. suggested, Sanjaya Malakar was a casualty of the sour national mood. But I find it ominous that Sanjaya was voted off during country week. "In a time of tragedy, let's get back to the verities," his departure begs, screams, and shouts. And where can we find these verities? Why, in Phil Stacey, all of a sudden, now that he's decided country is his soul. This is why he wasn't even in the bottom three last week. I didn't believe his announcement just like I haven't believed a single note he's sung all season (as with Lekisha, he seems distracted by some sort of sadness although Lekisha can paper over it with a much better voice).

But sincerity hardly mattered after Monday. Sanjaya represents the unfamiliar, the "foreign," difference, some of the concepts Cho Seung-Hui represents to so many Americans. A vote cast to keep Sanjaya on for entertainment value (Hey! isn't that the point of the show anyway?) or to sway the numbers towards "incompetence" would be a vote for those concepts. But Sanjaya met every slab of negativity with aplomb and megawatts of charm. When the going got rough, the hair went up into a mohawk. As such, he represents the crazed opportunism that is as American as the country verities. He held on and he'll continue to hold on, maybe even eclipsing the actual winner. Phil is merely grasping onto something, anything. And Cho Seung-Hui let go a long time ago.