Tag Archives: Ellen Degeneres

Let’s Drop the 1: American Idol Season Nine’s Case of the Top 2

Let’s Drop the 1: American Idol Season 9’s Case of the Top 2

March 16th, 2010

I, like many others, don’t tend to pay too much attention to American Idol until we get to the Top 12. However, I did watch enough of the preliminary rounds to get a sense of this year’s stable of talent, which means that I was prepared for the predictable and unsatisfying evening of music that unfolded tonight.

However, I wonder what someone who had watched none of those rounds would think of these performances: since the performers weren’t quite the tone deaf cacophony that they could have been, would they have deemed this a fairly competent group of finalists despite the fact that there is absolutely no depth within their ranks? In the end, I don’t think that the disappointment in this year’s Top 12 is based only on the talent that got away (Lilly Scott, Alex Lambert), and I think that even someone who came in blind would wonder if this was really the best that America had to offer.

In other words, even a layperson would be able to realize that there were only two competitors who really stepped up to the plate tonight, and every long-term viewer of this show knows that there’s a fairly good chance that neither of them will become the American Idol.

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Idol and Ellen Go Hollywood: Season 9 Finally (Sort Of) Starts

Idol and Ellen Go Hollywood: Season 9

February 9th, 2010

Like many, I don’t tend to join American Idol until after the audition rounds. Sometimes this means joining at the start of the Hollywood rounds, so that we can see the talent go through the “gruelling” process that narrows down the competition to the Top 24. However, other times I wait until the Semi-Finals, because there are some times (like last season, when Kris Allen had absolutely no coverage prior to the semi-finals and won the entire competition) when these rounds don’t actually matter in the end (not that I’m suggesting the show as a whole matters in any grand scheme of things, but rather in terms of the narratives the show wants to be able to create).

This year, of course, there is reason to tune in for Hollywood, as we see what sort of role that Ellen DeGeneres, she of the sharp wit and daytime talk show, will play as the new judge. What I realized in watching tonight’s episode, though, was that the Hollywood Round is awkwardly positioned as a launching pad and a crash zone, a place where narratives from the auditions come to die and where new narratives leading into the semi-finals are formed. And, in this internet age, I almost feel as if the rounds are becoming more and more irrelevant, in that any new narratives can be followed online while avoiding the resolution to the manipulative clip package narratives the show created in the audition rounds.

Some more thoughts on this balance, and what I thought about Ellen’s judging gig, after the jump.

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So You Think You Can Dance: All’s Fair in Love and Dance?

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Top 8 Performance Show

July 22nd, 2009

In the past four seasons, there have been a number of routines where emotional factors beyond the performance itself have played a role in their success. Two seasons ago, Mia Michaels did a piece where she imagined her reunion with her recently deceased father in heaven. Last season, Jean-Marc Genereaux and his wife France choreographed a piece for Twitch and Kherington inspired by their autistic daughter. In both instances, they were danced well, and there is a sense that the dancing itself was really besides the point: they were there to convey the emotion of the piece, and in those instances the steps were certainly secondary.

However, to be honest with you, I have my reservations about the place of a dance like Tyce Diorio’s Contemporary routine inspired by the fight against breast cancer that we saw this evening. [Before we move on from this point: I was emotionally moved by their performance, and felt the message about breast cancer was incredibly important. I am demeaning neither the purpose of the work nor their performance of it. Just making that clear.]

It was beautiful and moving, don’t get me wrong, and I believe they danced it well, but I think that there comes a point in the competition where such starkly emotional pieces may be too unbalanced for the competition to handle. There’s no piece that could possibly compare to what Melissa and Ade did in terms of emotional value, and I don’t necessarily think that it’s fair at this point in the competition, when the decision is entirely in America’s hands, for them to give a team essentially a free pass from any sort of legitimate critique. The strength of that routine, in my mind, should not be enough to hide the fact that Melissa and Ade’s Cha-Cha was perhaps the weakest routine of the entire evening, but the chances of them going home are now slim to none.

At the same time, of course, choreographers have the absolute right to be able to express their emotions through their work, and Tyce probably wanted to wait until he knew that all remaining dancers could handle the piece before showing it to the world. That all makes sense to me, it really does, but at the same time some part of me wonder if it’s particularly fair for one couple to have something so powerful and moving and the other to have something that inspired absolutely none of that emotion, and was never designed to do so.

I don’t think there’s a particularly answer to that, but a bit more discussion and some general observations after the jump.

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