American Idol Moving Into Final Rounds

It looks like it might be another WGWG (white guy with guitar) win on “American Idol” this year, as Joshua Ledet, the preacher’s kid from Louisiana who sings a gospel-infused R & B, was eliminated from the show, leaving Phillip Phillips (the WGWG) and Jessica Sanchez to compete in the finale.

Much has been written about the type of singer who has won “American Idol” in the past four years since the show has allowed instruments on stage.  Overwhelmingly, white guys with guitars have won—and then gone on to have disappointing careers.  Is that going to happen to Phillip Phillips?  I certainly hope not, because he seems like a genuinely great kid with a lot of talent.  He’s not the best singer, but his combination of swag, soul, and musicianship have won the hearts of teen girls everywhere.

Phillip’s voice has definitely improved over the course of the show, as was evidenced in the opening number, “Got to Get You Into My Life” by the Beatles.  However, both Ledet and Sanchez are effortless singers and they again sang circles around him, despite his improvement.

Once again, it was great to hear the commentary of Jimmy Iovine, because the three judges—Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and Steven Tyler—are absolutely useless.  The show really misses Simon Cowell, who had the courage to tell singers when they were truly awful or just mediocre, and Iovine plays that role on the show now. We just have to wait until results night to get an honest assessment of the singers’ performances.

Iovine felt that Phillips won the night with his touching rendition of “We’ve Got Tonight” by Bob Seger.

“Phillip won the night.  It was the best performance of anyone last night.  He hit notes I didn’t think he could hit. I was knocked out,” said Iovine.

Sanchez was the first to be announced as safe for the finale next week.   Iovine feels that Sanchez is “worthy of singing at the Grammys; she just needs the right songs.”  Even though Wednesday night’s performances were not her best, they were enough to get her to the finale. Yet, Iovine  said, she needs a “shock and awe” moment if she’s going to win the contest.

Apart from the three final contestants, the show featured some truly awful music by Lisa Marie Presley.  Seriously, they had Coldplay on the show a few weeks ago—they couldn’t come up with anyone better than Presley?  Her song put me to sleep, and she was dressed like a witch with candles lighting the stage.  Weird.  I guess the show’s producers wanted a darker, edgier vibe to contrast with the three fresh-faced young ‘uns.

Adam Lambert, arguably one of the most talented performers to ever grace the “Idol” stage (he also lost to a WGWG, Kris Allen), sang a song off of his new album.  I was reminded again of why Lambert, talented as he is, didn’t win the competition.  He is openly gay, and last night sported a long, fake nail on his pink and neon green earring, a little too edgy for the “AI” audience.

It looks like the way is clear for Phillips to take the whole thing, unless Sanchez pulls out all the stops and he tanks like he did on his performance of “Time of the Season” by the Zombies a few weeks ago.  Let’s hope that this WGWG has a more successful and long-term career than his predecessors.

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