Tuesday, March 10, 2009

'American Idol' finals preview - Sepinwall on TV

In today's column, I preview the top 13 on "American Idol," springing off from Simon Cowell's line from the wildcard show about how they tried to cast the season. I also try to handicap the field, but considering how adamant I was about the inevitability of David Archuleta a year ago, I wouldn't go placing any wagers off of my picks.

Back tonight with my take on night one of the finals.

18 comments:

Granola Mom said...

They are singing Michael Jackson songs tonight? Really? Why is it that the contestants are constantly told that they shouldn't be trying to cover Whitney or Michael, and yet the show has obviously paid for the songs so that they can?

And now they are having a whole MJ night? This is one of the very frustrating parts of this show for me.

Sonia said...

Oh I am SO with Granola Mom on this...this could be worse than the two weeks of Beatles songs...LOL. Poor Michael Sarver...

That being said, I think the wild carders are goingto give the ones voted in a run for their money. I think Anoop could finish higher than Adam...I think he'll be in the top 3. No, he's not better vocally, but so many people just LOVE him.

Adam said...

Alan, thanks so much for dropping by our Idol Preview live-chat last night. We had a blast.

I seem to be most out on a limb with predicting big things from Allison Iraheta -- you see a corked bat, I see a well-seasoned minor league groomed for the Majors. We shall see.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I think Anoop could finish higher than Adam...I think he'll be in the top 3. No, he's not better vocally, but so many people just LOVE him.

We'll see. Someone in the aforementioned Throwing Things chat made a very astute observation:

Anoop isn't a tween crush. He's the dorky guy that 30-somethings like because he reminds them of college.

Will that be enough to carry him to top 3?

Alan Sepinwall said...

I seem to be most out on a limb with predicting big things from Allison Iraheta -- you see a corked bat, I see a well-seasoned minor league groomed for the Majors. We shall see.

I'm basing it only having seen that one performance, and not really knowing much about the previous reality show experience, watching the YouTube clips, etc.

With this semi-finals format, I had to do a lot more guesswork than I have in previous years. It was pretty clear at this time last year, for instance, that David Hernandez and Amanda Overmyer weren't long for the show.

Anonymous said...

Could anybody please try to explain to me what did Simon C. try to say about David Archuleta? I do non understand this guy...

Jenn. said...

I find this year to be really hard to predict. The semifinals structure was not helpful for that, and most of the performances were pretty weak. I definitely felt like the female winners from each semi (Alexis, Allison, and Lil) deserved to make the finals, and the likely male winners from the first two weeks (Danny and Adam), but the rest really had no strong claim even to being finalists. Of those five, I've disliked two of Danny's song choices, hate Adam's upper register, disliked Lil's performances in Hollywood, and suspect that Allison may turn out to be a one-trick pony. I guess that means that Alexis is my favorite? But given that I backed into that, well, that's not so good.

Adam said...

We do have more information on most (not Allison or Kris) because of the audition packages, but only 1-2 real performances. On Allison, just based on biography we may have DeGarmoBot v2.0, now with installed "movement" and "emotion" chips.

But we have no idea if Dead Wife Guy can go upbeat, if Alexis Grace can go non-Aretha, or just how much sympathy America has for Scott Macintyre. It could well be that his numbers are off-the-charts and there's nothing we can do about it, or that he's just Gracin/Fedorov (HT: Fienberg) repeated, and will be gone in mid-April

Fred App said...

What we do know is that Matt G., Anoop, Meghan and Jasmine were not popular enough to win a seminfinal round against the same people they're competing against now, and I have a hard time believing that their popularity has suddenly soared because of their wild-card performance.

Now, admittedly, Matt G. and Jasmine lost initially on awful performances, so maybe viewers are going to be a little forgiving. And Anoop came very close to winning the first time in a tough group, so maybe he sticks around. But I can't really figure out where Meghan's fan base would come from, other than Simon. So I'd consider her ripe for elimination.

I also think that Lambert and Kris were beneficiaries of a weak group and even weaker performances, so I wouldn't be surprised if one of them went home, either.

Alan Sepinwall said...

What we do know is that Matt G., Anoop, Meghan and Jasmine were not popular enough to win a seminfinal round against the same people they're competing against now, and I have a hard time believing that their popularity has suddenly soared because of their wild-card performance.

See Clay Aiken, Carmen Rasmussen, and George Huff as examples of wildcards who went further than people who beat them in their initial semi-final grouping (or, in Carmen's case, people who actually got to compete in a semi-finals group).

Adam said...

Well, wait: Clay was in a semi group with Ruben (1st) and Kim (3rd), so I'm not sure what that proves other than he was in a Group of Death; and you're giving Huff credit for outlasting John Stevens, but not Jasmine Trias.

Interestingly, Huff made the same mistake as Anoop (a sappy ballad, "Always and Forever") and corrected it the same way via WC: a crowd-pleaser ("Lean on Me").

Mike F said...

interesting year for idol...

I think they made it clear who they are pimping going in. They gave Danny, Lil and Adam the pimp spots in the lineup (singling last) and tons of air time/pimpage in the run-up to the top 36. Then, they gave Anoop the wildcard pimp spot and made him the sympathetic beneficiary of the fake-scare.

I'd also say that Scott's super-edit combined with his handicap vaults him into that same group.

So if any of those four didn't make the top 7-8, it would be a pretty big upset.

On the other hand, we really haven't seen as many performances heading into this part of the competition as we usually do and we all saw last year how big an impact the instruments had on the competition. David Cook, Jason Castro and Brooke White were all able to ramp up their mid-week performances en route to high placings. So, it'll be interesting to see who can set themselves apart that way this year.

In terms of artistic credibility, I think we could see Adam slip into the fake rocker black hole that we saw somebody slip into last year...anybody remember his name? he was Brittney's ex or something?

Megan, Matt G and Alexis seem like the dark horses to me.

The big guy and Anoop both seem like great guys and they should be fun to watch over the next few weeks, but I don't think we'll see either crack the top 6.

My prediction is that we'll see a top 3 of Scott, Danny and Lil...with Scott winning the whole thing.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Well, wait: Clay was in a semi group with Ruben (1st) and Kim (3rd), so I'm not sure what that proves other than he was in a Group of Death;

He did also beat every other person that season, and George beat a whole bunch of people who got voted through in other groups as well. My point is that just because someone has one bad night in this semi-finals format (where only the best advance) doesn't mean they aren't capable of going very far in the finals format (when only the worst go home).

Alan Sepinwall said...

In terms of artistic credibility, I think we could see Adam slip into the fake rocker black hole that we saw somebody slip into last year...anybody remember his name? he was Brittney's ex or something?

Robbie Carrico. And he didn't make the finals.

Sonia said...

My daughter (12) and her friends LOVE Anoop (I know, I know, small sample size...). That just caught me off guard...maybe it's his sweaters...LOL

Ugh...I still can't get behind Michael Jackson night...if anyone is just cringing, just go to You Tube and watch Steve Martin's parody of Billie Jean -- now THAT version of Michael Jackson I can love! LOL

Theresa said...

I've asked this before, but I'll ask it again because I noticed it in your article: is it really "Normund"? Where did that come from? This whole time, I've been convinced that it's "Norman," so this confuses me.

Another Idol-related question, because I'm relatively unfamiliar with the show: how will having 13 contestants affect the elimination? Will they have to pull an America's Next Top Model and have a "shocking" double elimination (or have someone quit), or was their TV schedule already prepared for the hypothetical extra week this entails?

dark tyler said...

That, or they could do a final between three people, which is what Cowell's 'X-Factor' has been doing the last couple of years.

dark tyler said...

Then again, maybe not. (LOL)