Tuesday, March 16, 2010

ONE LAST CYCLE, THRILL FREAK UNCLE SAM // PAUSE FOR BUSINESS, HOPE YOU UNDERSTAND: The tier analysis is where my Idol kvetching begins -- it's not as important that the contestants are eliminated in exactly the right order as long as over the course of each multi-week period, the sets of ousters are more-or-less accurate. Based on what we've seen so far, here's how the final twelve ought to leave us:

Doesn't Belong Here, And Will Not Be Around By The End of Passover: Tim, Aaron, Paige

Could Linger For A While, But Each Seems Too Limited To Win: Didi, Lacey, Andrew

Will Go Even Longer Than Them, And We All Like Him, But He Ain't Winning Either: Big Mike

The Wild Cards With Serious Potential To Fulfill My Theory #2, and Believe Me Alex Lambert Would Have Been Listed Here With A Bullet: Lee, Katie

My Presumptive Final Three: Siobhan, Crystal, The Outlaw Casey James -- with Siobhan winning.

My theory on Crystal Bowersox is essentially that she's Melinda Doolittle 2.0 -- exceptionally poised, talented and ready. Will never screw up, and will always be in the A to B+ range of performances. But her genre isn't quite what the marketplace is seeking, and this competition will reward Siobhan's perceived growth/rise (because of her relative youth) more than Bowersox's every-week maturity and hyper-competence, even though The Pride of Marston Mills is plenty experienced herself.

Now let's see how wrong I can be. (Here's last year's initial tiers from when the competition was down to ten -- but given the change in wild card format we're dealing with similar levels of exposure now. And in 2008 at this very stage, I was very, very wrong.)

added: Alan Sepinwall with his own tier analysis. And Fienberg interviews the twelve. You'll never guess who said, in re "what's your dream theme week," the following: "I want to have a Disney theme week. Me being young, that's kind of a cliche for me to say, but I think it would be awesome to see everybody pick a Disney song and do it."


  1. Watts9:48 AM

    I would love to hear Siobhan get hold of Honky Tonk Woman, but I'm doubtful it will happen.  I think one of the warbly girls should grab "Waiting for a Friend."   I'd also be curious to hear one of the women do the Sundays' take on "Wild Horses."

  2. Fred App10:20 AM

    I think you're selling Big Mike short. Not that he's necessarily the most deserving of winning, but -- like Kris Allen last year -- I can see scenarios where the other contestants knock each other off and he winds up pulling in the votes of the non-committed. There does not (yet) appear to be a reason to actively dislike Big Mike, whereas you can think of all sorts of reasons why one bloc or another might dislike Casey or Siobhan or Crystal.

    I'm not saying he's going to win. But, to quote a phrase David Plouffe, I can see a "path to victory."

  3. I don't think that Katie really has the capacity to grow, at least not at this time.  She doesn't actually seem to know that much about music, so you've got an Archuleta-type performer, but without (1) any superstar performances to date, i.e., no Imagine, and (2) the judges' full backing for what she's doing, like Archuleta had.  So, I have her in my bottom tier.  But Lee's a good choice for dark horse, especially if he can learn to control the bum notes.

    I'm not sure where to rank Casey---I still just don't get much from him, but he can (generally) hit notes, which is more than you can say for some of the people in this group, and there are a number of people who do seem to like him.  And I could also see Big Mike getting up to top 3---it just depends on how the themes play out and whether he's able to adapt.  I don't know that I see Crystal winning, for the reasons that you give, but I want her in as long as possible, as I enjoy her performances, want more Bowersox for my itunes, and want her to get a record contract so she can continue to provide me with purchasable music.

    Didn't Kara cite the Sundays to one of the girls this year?  I seem to think that it was Didi, but it could have been Janelle.  Or one of the other random blondish women.  But if the women aren't looking at the Sundays, they aren't paying attention.

  4. The closest analogue I have is George Huff, and not only because of the racial component -- it's the charisma too.  But if we believe that rearrangement/artistry is now an essential element of the show, he's shown none of that yet -- just really good singing (2/3 times).

    He's gone to the My Wife Just Had A Baby, Remember? song selection well once. Can he do it again?

  5. Say Sioban does win... what do they do with her? I know they keep harping on this idea of a Taylor Swift type, but Siobhan doesn't strike me as "squeaky clean," what with the mohawk and the nose ring. She seems to have a little grunge/rock in her, which I love. Do they go a Hey Monday/Paramore route?

    As always, I can't really figure out who among this group could put out a viable album, not at this point. Lee, definitely. And maybe a Bieber-type thing for Aaron on Tim, but aside from that... None of the girls, at least.

  6. Sand off the rough edges, Bowersox makes an album instantly playable in Starbucks worldwide.

  7. SStvMg4:59 PM

    I wouldn't be surprised at all if Didi does "Wild Horses."

  8. StvMg5:01 PM

    I do think Katie could go longer than most people expect. She hasn't been particularly good, but she's still getting votes. In fact, I remember checking Dial Idol the day after the first semifinal round. Dial Idol is notoriously unreliable when there are still tons of people left in the competition, but at that point, I believe Katie was the only female who was clearly safe. I'm sure she's lost some voting support since, but if she gives a solid performance tonight, I'm sure we'll hear raves from the judges about "Dawg, Katie is back tonight!!! That was hot!!!." And then they can build the storyline about this great unpolished voice that finally blossomed. Or basically the storyline that Alex seemed to be doing a better job of writing until he was unjustly axed.

  9. isaac_spaceman6:25 PM

    Re the Fienberg ETA:  Good lord, NO DISNEY SONGS.  Is she slow?  There is something wrong, seriously, irreparably wrong with a 17-year-old who both wants to be a musician and likes Disney songs.  A 17-year-old who says "I want to sing Disney songs" is incapable of distinguishing intentional sound from music.  A few years ago I made the argument, to which I still subscribe, that the fundamental program of pop music is to help teenagers and young twentysomethings get laid.  That need not be the overt or literal point, but branding oneself as the kind of person who listens to (or, better yet, makes) Important Issue Rock or world music or gangster rap or lesbian identity-politics folk still furthers the ultimate goal.  A person who self-identifies as a Disney music fan either is wholly uninterested in getting laid (or, for the more morally upright, in having those pleasantly unacceptable feelings in the context of an acceptably chaste relationship) or has no idea at all about what it is that gets you there.  Let's say, hypothetically, that you are attracted to a person.  If you would be mortified at the thought of that person seeing you onstage singing a type of music, that absolutely is the kind of music that you should not be singing. 

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  11. Paul Tabachneck6:36 PM

    I think Siobhan doing a Paramore-like thing would be awesome -- or maybe she could be the next Kay Parker.

  12. girard318:02 PM

    Siobhan can't win. The little girls and grammas will vote her off. They'll make Casey go a long way, and Crystal reminds them of the cool mom/daughter on the block, so she could last as well. Big Mike could go the distance if he doesn't appear threatening in anyway. It's the tweens and the grammas who vote, always remember that.

  13. The tweens LOVE Siobhan - she's much more identifiable as once being one of them than is Crystal.  And the grammas think she's pretty, and less threateningly quirky than Crystal.  Boomers like her classic rock song selections so far...I don't see any subgroup having any strong reason to dislike Siobhan.  I think she can thread the needle, all the way to the end.

  14. re The Outlaw Casey James, what's the furthest an overtly hetero-sexy male has gone in the competition -- Maroulis?

  15. Kris Allen doesn't count?