May 17, 2007

Melinda is Thrown Under the Bus

Does this signal the true end for American Idol? Has it jumped the shark for the last time?
How to explain the early exit of who was quite clearly the best singer this season, if not the best singer Idol has ever had grace its stage? Well, besides the general stupidity and lack of concise and clear thoughts by America, that is.
Idol says it's a singing competition, but let's be real. Idol is nothing more than high school all over again, it's dressed fancier and I'm sure the food is better (and no algebra) but Idol is really a popularity contest. If the competition was based on singing alone, neither Sanjaya nor Haley Scarnato would have cracked the top 12, much less would we be seeing them on tour. And would Blake be in the Final Two, much less Final Three? Let's be honest, Idol fans. Blake is cute. Blake seems like a nice guy, someone that would probably be cool to hang out with. Blake would be an awesome DJ or a performer at a dance club, with his beatbox mixes. But straight out singing? No way. He's certainly no better vocally than Phil Stacey or Chris Sligh, and his vocal talent diminishes dramatically when compared to Melinda's.
And while Jordin has broken out those vocal chops when called upon to do so with a ballad, give her a rock song and girlfriend leaves a blood trail so thick across the stage it looks like an Idol drive-by (Bon Jovi, anyone?) Sure, Jordin is better vocally than Blake - - but she is far less consistent than Blake. You could wonder what Sanjaya's hair was going to look like a few weeks back, you can wonder what's going to happen with Jordin. There's just no way of knowing. She has given some truly ear-shattering performances and she's still standing. Blake may not be vocally in her ballpark, but he's consistent.
So is it natural that Melinda should be the contestant eliminated? She has been the best singer vocally all season, and the most consistent. Was she boring? Yeah, she was. Adding to the snooze factor was the fact that you just knew she was going to be good (i.e., consistent). There would be no surprises from her. Did she deserve to get the boot now?
No, probably not. She seemed a shoe-in and maybe that's what did her in. Maybe her fans were complacent, maybe it seemed such a sure thing that nobody was voting frantically to save her. Regardless, Melinda will be just fine if the history of the third finalist is any indication. Despite who wins Idol this season (and my preference between Blake and Jordin is Blake), I think Melinda will sell more CDs. And isn't that the true test of talent and public acceptability, rather than who's dialing on Tuesday nights?