Film and TV

Idol Beat: Beam Me Up, Scotty

Thanks to Shea Serrano for taking the bullet yesterday.

After what felt like eons, the 10th season of American Idol lurched to its inevitable anticlimax last night. It was as especially torturous affair, stretching well over two hours and mixing performances by the new (Lady Gaga...again), the established (Tim McGraw), and the tired (Steven Tyler).

And because your humiliation as a contestant doesn't end when a bunch of prepubescent girls vote you off in favor of an Alfred E. Neuman clone with a frog in his throat, the "final 13" were trotted out again over the course of the show to rub their failure in their noses again.

American Idol is the most successful show on television, and also the most sadistic. For that reason alone, I should love it. But instead of using their powers for good, the producers of Idol consistently champion mediocrity and attempt to prop up an increasingly irrelevant recording industry.

Which is how you end up with a winner like Scotty McCreery.

I mean, what else needs to be said when judge Steven Tyler is considered the "rocker in residence"? Why not just get rid of Seacrest and have Flip Wilson open each show with, "Here come de judges?"

Because he's dead, probably.

We start out with the Final 13 performing "Born This Way." Look, I've seen Lady Gaga in concert, I enjoy some of her music, appreciating it for the talent behind it in spite of her obvious inability to not sound derivative, and have no particular reason to dislike her. That said, please go. the fuck. away. Do we really need her presence on the show for a month to promote this goddamn Madonna tribute album? Or whatever it is?

Okay, even my heart isn't so black I can't appreciate a Judas Priest medley ("Livin' After Midnight," "Breakin' the Law"), even if it they unforgivably lower the volume on Rob Halford's vocals in favor of James Durbin's, or if it coincidentally arrives the same week a new tour was announced. In fact, I'm going to go ahead and point out what each artist who appeared last night is currently pimping, just in case we lose sight of the actual whoring.

Do you suppose the producers think making fun of the judges - Randy's incessant "In it to win it"s, Steve Tyler (he's ca-raaaazy), and J Lo (every male born since 1980 has gone through a Lopez crush phase) - somehow lessens the farcical nature of the way a winner is determined? Or are they just, gasp, wasting our time?

Jacob Lusk returns and is unsurprisingly outclassed by Kirk Franklin (Hello Fear was released March 22!) and Gladys Knight on "I Smile." Biggest embarrassment in the top 13.

I'm hereby calling for an open-ended moratorium on singing Queen songs. Yes even you, Casey Abrams (you're no Kyle Gass) and Jack Black (Kung Fu Panda 2 - in theaters Friday!). And those girls weren't even particularly fat-bottomed.

Next, the Idol ladies do a Beyoncé (4 - on sale June 24!) medley, and are joined at the end by the icon herself. I applaud the lady's work ethic, but she looks like she's about to stroke out. Maybe a year in the Bahamas. God knows she can afford it.

Haley Reinhart returns to duet with Tony Bennett on "Steppin' Out With My Baby," which is actually not bad. And how the hell is that guy 84?

It refuses to end. Lil' Jon (Celebrity Apprentice!) comes on, followed by the remaining members of TLC (20th anniversary!). I'm not completely up on Lil' Jon's discography, but I imagine he appeals to the hip hop audience that still wants a sequel to the "Jingle Bells"-recorded-by-barking-dogs record.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar