Monday, July 31, 2006

Idols Live!

It was a big entertainment weekend for me. Took several teenage girls to the American Idol concert on Saturday and then the whole family (plus Gramma!) went to see “Cats” on Sunday. I’ll be writing more on the fabulous felines soon but first, a couple of interesting notes (of the vaguely theater-related kind) on Idol:

I had the same reaction as the esteemed Melissa Rugieri as far as Kellie Pickler and Bucky Covington struggling through “You’re the One that I Want.” It was a bit ironic given that the curtain on the Barksdale/Steward School production of “Grease” was probably up by that time of night and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they could have been singing the same song at the same time. Spooky! And I’ll give 10-to-1 odds that the high school kids singing that song did a better job than Bucky and Kellie.

What was clear in the live show versus the TV show was who among these kids are performers and who were simply above-average singers. Lisa Tucker has been getting a fair amount of press because she is a surprisingly good singer, clearly the most underrated of the Idol crew. But at the concert, she also proved pretty wooden on stage, trying only half-successfully to work up a “competition” between different sections of the audience on how much noise they could generate.

As for the AI winner, Tay-Tay, I wouldn’t even say he quite got above average as far as singing ability, but he certainly was a showman with a heck of a lot of energy on stage. Of all of them, I’d say only Chris demonstrated actual charisma as well as kick-butt vocal chops. Even our boy Elliot, whose warm personality comes across even in a stadium full of 10,000 people, could use some work on engaging a crowd. He’s definitely got the voice, though – his “Trouble” was a major highlight.

Finally, my favorite part of the night was spying on the activity in the wings. If you had binoculars and you watched the stage left area, you could see various Idols hanging around, checking out the other performers, and chatting with each other. Elliot spent a fair amount of time there as did Katherine. They hung out together for a while, so you could see that she’s about a head taller than him. It reminded me of when I used to work backstage: sometimes more interesting things are happening in the wings than under the lights.

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