AMERICAN IDOL DOWN TO 12 (AND COUNTING)
Paul at Wizbang handicaps the "Final 12" on American Idol and, as always, provides some clever commentary and humor along the way, including links to photos of the wannabes. My wife and I are devotees of the show and on those rare nights when most of the contestants rise to the occassion, Idol can be absolutely infectious provided you can get past the inanity of Paula Ab-dull whose only meaningful contribution to the show is in showcasing what hair extensions can do for a woman's looks.
Among the females, I'm in lockstep with Paul in liking Katharine McPhee's chances. She's gorgeous (reminds me of a young Crystal Gayle of C&W fame with those wide-set eyes and high cheekbones) and has the voice; but, and as Paul points out, she doesn't exude the requisite confidence and showmanship at this stage of the competition. It's all about improving from week to week and peaking toward the end.
Among the men, I part company with Paul, believing that there's not a one of them who comes close to the raw talent seen in Chris Daughtry. He has command of his vocals and plenty of stage presence to win it all in a year in which voters will likely try to find a male winner. He comes across as quite likeable and thoroughly self-confident, but in an understated way. Wish the sideburns weren't such a distraction (lose 'em, Chris).
I don't buy Simon's theory that the "Granny vote" is keeping the quintessential nerdy teenager, Kevin Kovais, in the hunt. There must be a lot of mean-spirited high school voters reveling in this weekly humiliation of an otherwise likeable young man. Taylor Hicks -- Joe Cocker in a sport coat -- suffices quite adequately as Idol's novelty act contestant, so Kovias makes no sense unless Lawrence Welk is voting multiple times from Heaven.
Kellie Pickler (the name fits), who Simon seems smitten with, is my longshot choice. While the "nice bad girl" moniker Simon applied to her seems so much Hollywood casting-couch perversion, her manifest innocence and naivette make her a heartbreaker and, oh, can this young lady sing. This may sound crazy, but close your eyes when she sings and if you have any affinity whatsoever for Country-Western music, you'll melt.
By the way, is there a "Dump Ab-dull" blog out there? If so, I want to put it in my blogroll.