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Friday, December 26, 2003

How I spent Christmas night 

Since really, it's just another day except for the fact that there's barely anything on TV and all the stores are shut, I pretty much spent yesterday killing off brain cells.

In other words, I watched World Idol in its entirety.

It's funny; I barely saw the first edition of American Idol (though god help me, I have a weird liking for Kelly's single Miss Independent for some inexplicable reason) and only caught snippets of the Ruben-and-Clay show that was AI2. So why watch World Idol? Oh, I dunno, probably because I was bored. Also because I was curious to see the standards of the other countries in picking their winners. So, my oh-so-unofficial thoughts on last night's broadcast:

For one thing, I got to see both the US and Canadian editions. Very interesting to see the difference in editing, what comments were left in and out (more on that later) and more importantly, whenever I got sick and tired of looking at Ben Mulroney's ugly mug (honey, you're not going to age well, no matter how stunning your mother was and perhaps still is. Doomed!) I gather the two Northern lads (caveat: I thought they were Irish, my mother corrected me. So much for my summer in the UK) host Pop Idol in that country. They were OK, though they overdid the whole laddishness a bit. Amazing though that I preferred FOX to CTV. In 99% of other things, it's the other way around....

The German dude: oy gevalt, what was he thinking? 80s cheese combined with my gaydar going off the charts. Oversung, overemoted, over-everything. No wonder the judges killed him.

Even though Diana Karazon has no chance whatsoever of winning, anyone that chooses to sing in a different language is fine by me,though I wouldn't call it "brave" like the judges did. She has a nice presence, a promising voice. But, and this was a trend the entire night, get the goddamned mike away from your face. The audience wants to see your entire face, not just 1/3 of it. Also, she could do with some more confidence, but she used her voice rather well.

The Australian kid may have the best stage presence and charisma, but I kind of agree with Simon on his odd look. It works...but it almost shouldn't. Kurt Nilssen of Norway has the best voice, but he needs a backing band. So does Peter Evrard, although it amused the hell out of me that he did a Kurt Cobain impression.

And what of Ryan Malcolm? Sigh. He's OK, but bland, bland, bland--this was the best my country could do? Almost makes me want to step up and audition for Canadian Idol II, except that I've got a classically trained voice and frankly, endured too many years of stupid judges to go through that bullshit again. But anyway...

Will Young. Why? WHY? He's so vanilla boring. Britain, I'm sorry, but if I wanted to see an updated Cliff Richard, well, I could go and dig up the actual guy. Gah. I hear the new Pop Idol winner has more promise, though.

Then there was Kelly. Yes, it was boorish of the Canadian judge to diss her singing except....he was right. If you're going to sing "Natural Woman"--and this was made especially clear as it was on one of the radio stations here this morning--then you cannot have rough high notes at the top, and you can't overbelt. Which, sadly, was what Ms. Clarkson was doing. She has great stage presence, star quality, none of that's in doubt. Oddly enough, there's something Streisand-esque about her sound. Meaning that it's very suited to Broadway, which is far more Kelly's calling than pop.

As for the judging, it was especially neat to see what was left in and out of different broadcasts. For example, on the American broadcast, Simon talked about how Kurt has an "astonishing voice" and is the darkhorse to win. On the Canadian broadcast, both bits were interspersed with an "honest appraisal" of the fact that well, he's got a great voice for radio but isn't exactly good looking enough to be marketed as a pop singer. Ryan Malcolm got more judge's comments on the Canadian edition but was barely present in the US one. Other than that, it was about equal--the Polish guy was a complete oddball in both cases, the Belgian woman still had the Lisa Loeb look going on, and Zack Werner was god-awfully annoying.

The verdict? Total cheese, but entertaining as hell. Now, if only I can convince my friends to watch the New Year's Broadcast with me....


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