I didn't watch "American Idol" last night. I just didn't care. But today, I got home from work, and making dinner and pouring a glass of wine, I put on the TiVo and scrolled through the thing. By the time I get to the end, the results show will be on, so maybe this is an efficient way for a nonvoter to watch.
Some random notes:
1. The theme was Diana Ross. After weeks of saying the "boys" are worse than the "girls," they finally combined the "girls" and "boys" and forced them to sing girl songs. What's the sense of that? [CORRECTION MADE: I had "boys" and "girls" reversed in the part about who they were saying was worse, as anyone who knows the show -- or, really, anyone who assumes I'm rational -- would realize.]
2. Ross seemed highly scripted. At the very beginning, her speech was weird, as if she may have ill-fitting false teeth. In the individual sessions, she was gracious and helpful, but I had the feeling that she had people helping her and intensely managing her image. She's a good enough actress to take direction. And I think she had direction and took it. Clearly, she did not wander into the show unprepared and did not fall into the trap of believing in her own divahood.
3. Melinda Doolittle is giving off an "Ugly Betty" vibe.
4. Chris Sligh was sunk by a terrible arrangement. He tried to call attention to the problem, but they tried to hang it on him. It's not fair when the music is at odds with the vocal choices. Especially when the instrumentation is awful. Chris and Diana have a hair moment together. He conceded that his doesn't go out like hers. She revealed the secret: You've got to tease it. I make a mental note to tease my hair tomorrow. (I remember back in the early 60s when teasing your hair was a moral issue. You'd try to secretly tease it. People would say you teased it, and you'd lie and say you didn't. And it was a health issue. Anti-teasers were always sounding the alarm. Your hair will fall out! You'll go bald!)
5. LaKisha Jones ("Kiki") was profound and elegant singing "God Bless the Child." I'm not a sucker for LaKisha, but... that made me cry.
6. Phillip. I like him!
7. Sanjaya. Hair recurled. Still 17. Fan favorite. Bad, but we'll keep him. Every year, there's a young guy that we embrace and keep beyond his talent level. This year, that guy is Sanjaya. I like the way he appears to understand what's happening, and he's riding his ride to the end, with a sweet, happy attitude.
8. Blake. He's my favorite. And I don't even understand the current trends. But there's something sharp and knowing about him. There's humor and lightness. There's style. We don't need to be generous or empathic to like him. It's pop music. Right there. That means something.
9. There were others. I'm not writing about them because I don't wanna.
10. Oh. A word about Simon. A few weeks ago, he amused me by saying to somebody -- no one cares who anymore -- "You sang through your nose! And halfway through you looked like you'd been boiled." Well, last night, he looked like he'd been boiled. Seriously, you'd think he'd have people helping him with his image. If he fell asleep under a sunlamp, don't they have makeup for that?
UPDATE: Brandon. Phil! In the bottom three. Commercial. Diana. Who's the other? Hayley or Sanjaya, but they string it out. Another commercial. It's Sanjaya! I think Brandon will be leaving. And Phil is sent back. So it's Brandon or Sanjaya. C'mon! It's Brandon, right? Yeah. It's Brandon, who's nice and good, but just didn't throw himself out there.