My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Saturday, February 27

American Idol Finale

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with American Idol for all fifteen seasons, and I’ve often written about it—praising its finding so many talented singers/performers, lambasting its lack of class. First, the successes: Kelly Clarkson, Adam Lambert, Katharine McPhee, Jennifer Hudson (who, although placing only 7th in the Season 3, went on to win a Grammy as well as an Oscar for best supporting female in Dreamgirls), and the most successful of all, Carrie Underwood, who was the only lock-down, sure-fire winner from the very beginning of Season 4. The limited successes or outright failures? Tylor Hicks in Season 5, Kris Allen in Season 8, Lee DeWyze in Season 9, Phillip Philipps in season 11, and Nick Fralioni in Season 14. Then there are the judges. Too many with only a biased or a limited knowledge of music, too many with low-class wardrobes or hair styles or life styles. I think of Keith Urban’s ratty t-shirts and Simon Cowell’s too tight T’s, Mariah Carey’s bountiful cleavage and Jennifer Lopez’s see-through everythings, the truly odd Steven Tyler and Nicki Minaj in dress and attitudes, the insipidity of too many judges’ remarks about performances. I hate the waving arms in the front rows, I hate the audience screams during performances, and I hate the camera swings during performances to show Keith Urban and J-Lo lip-synching with the performers. Too many song choices are known only to a young audience with unclear or inconsequential lyrics lost in a cacophony of backup bands and backup singers, way too much reliance on runs (almost as though the singers are unable to sustain a note and hope to cover themselves with up-and-down and all-over-the-place runs). What's wrong with songs from the Great American Songbook? The intermediate auditions take too long to get to the final ten. The performances are often too short, only a little over a minute. It’s always seemed to me that American Idol was looking more for interesting performers than for great singers, although every now and then they found great singer-performers. If Idol really is about finding the best singers, then all of the final ten should be required to sing their versions of a song chosen by the judges. (How about the Gershwins' "Someone to Watch Over Me"?) That would separate the wheat from the chaff. Or maybe each should be required to sing one song a capella. Fantasia’s version of “Summertime” was a show-stopper and probably won Season 3 for her. Katharine McPhee’s “Over the Rainbow” was a show-stopper and probably should have won Season 5 for her. What do I see that’s noteworthy about Season 15? Not much. Unless La ‘Porsha Renae (she of the big hair) or Dalton Rapattoni (he of the Adam Lambert look) or Trent Harmon (he who sings to cows) can improve mightily by the final showdown, I think this has been a very average season and an average bunch of singers. Will I be sad or glad to see the end of this final season? A little of both. But I can’t wait to see the start of Idol’s sister show, So You Think You Can Dance. Now, if they could only get rid of Jason Derulo as one of the judges . . .
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