Film and TV

Idol Beat: Democracy Doesn't Work

Well, I feel like an idiot.

Flush with victory over my (sole) successful pick of the season in (finally) getting Jacob's booting correct, I was confident that James Durbin had the right combination of talent and appeal to the ladies to get into the finals, if not win the thing outright.


In retrospect, Seacrest telling us 72 million votes were cast on Wednesday should have raised flags. The hordes don't come out in those kind of numbers unless they feel their favorite is threatened. And with the way the judges gushed over both of James' performances, you knew Scotty's legions of devotees were texting their little fingers off. The result: James, who'd never been in the bottom three to this point, was sent packing.

Of course, you cant have a results show without a ten minute recap of the previous night's show, so that was fun. Then Scotty and James teamed up on Brad Paisley's "Start a Band," a song that ostensibly plays to Scotty's strengths, yet only served to highlight his one-trickiness.

A better effort was given by Lauren and Haley on "Gunpowder and Lead." Maybe it's because it's a song comfortably in both of their wheelhouses. Maybe it's because I want Miranda Lambert to have my children.

If I was having any more children.

The announcement of Lauren's safe status was book-ended by a Windows 7 promos showing the system's awesome capability for letting people talk over the computer (for crying out loud, it's not like the contestants are in the military, I think they're allowed visitors) and another Lady Gaga performance ("You and I").

Then Enrique Iglesias. Hey, when did he have that mole removed?

Jesus, it's a good thing Iglesias isn't a contestant. Not only would he get 300 million votes a week, the tween cabal that runs this show would probably engineer a way to get him elected God Emperor for Life.

Ford commercial. Kif.

And then Jordin Sparks. I think I liked her better when she was heavier. Just kidding. I never liked her.

The high point of the evening was Steven Tyler's new video. That's because as it started I realized there was still some fast forward left on the DVR. If my father (who's a year older than the Aerosmith front man) dressed like that, I'd change my last name to "Hitler."

After that it was time for the final result. I knew as soon as they announced that Haley was also one of the finalists that James was toast. I'm not unrealistic about the guy's talent - he's decent, but nothing earth shattering. I liked him because he was one of the only contestants who actually "performed" when he sang and because he seemed like a genuinely likeable dude.

And as a metalhead since I bought Kiss' Destroyer in 1976, it was nice to hear some Priest.

So maybe I allowed myself to be fooled into thinking James' combination of showmanship and earnestness could somehow win voters over. I should have known better. This is a country where Forrest Gump won Best Picture, George W. Bush was elected twice, and...well, American Idol is the No. 1 TV show. Scotty McCreery is the Idol America deserves. And I for one can't wait for his first tour opening for either Rascal Flatts or Big & Rich.

A fitting showcase for the "best singer in America."

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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