I have just returned home from seeing Idols Live! at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland, Ohio. It was three hours long and I survived it. I went with Elizabeth and Sarah and Melissa. It was a dream come true, or so I thought. Sarah and Elizabeth are my Idol buddies and I wouldn't have wanted to see this concert with anyone else. We spent many hours deconstructing the show when it was on the air and examining theories.
I would like to say that the whole thing was a blast, and it was, but not in the way you may think. The glory notes hit us square in the face over and over again, like some blood thirsty Viking with a grudge and a wedgie. Sure there was talent and there were some great moments, but overall, the show had the sad feeling of yesterday's news. Honestly, it's been months since the finale and to rehash the entire last thirteen weeks in three hours left the stink of desparation in the air. Also, the top ten Idols seemed tossed to the lions by the producers. I swear, the amount of money that show made, they could have thrown more dough at this production. The set looked like a high school production of American Idol; it seemed to be made of posterboard and tempra paints.
The light show was fantastic and there were some great moments. Here are the highlights:
- Anytime Blake Lewis was on the stage. He was confident and entertaining. His first number was "Time of the Season," and by the time he sang, "What's your name, Who's your daddy?" I was saying, "Flannery Alden and Your My Daddy." He was generous with the other Idols and the band and back up singers. He even tried to teach the audience how to beat box, which was nice of him, if ill advised.
- Lakisha blew the roof off the joint, dawg. I swear, I had goose bumps. I've never heard anything like it. She sang Whitney's I Will Always Love You with none of the cloying sincerity of its original. Also, she sang it better than Dolly, and if you know me at all, you know that NO ONE could ever top Dolly in my mind. Until today, that is.
- Chris Richardson has really grown. His voice was superb and when he and Jordan sang a duet it was magical. Also, he and Blake are obviously good friends now and had a beat-boxing showdown that was so charming I wanted to take them both home and have them for dinner.
- Sanjaya was love. He was truly entertaining and his duet with Melinda was wonderful.
- Gina Glockson was fantastic. Better than she was on the show. That girl has chops.
And now the bad and the ugly:
- Phil Fucking Stacy. I swear, the things you see when you haven't got your gun. This asshat appointed himself Ryan Seacrest and tried to hoist the show on his shoulders with the power of the love that radiates from his very center. Oh, barf. At one point he sang, in his sailor suit, no less, the most indulgent version of America the Beautiful I've ever heard. It was even worse than fucking Proud to be an American.
- Haley Scarnato has embraced her inner skank and showed off the movies she'd obviously picked up from the stripper pole workout she's been doing. Honestly, I didn't have an opinion of her one way or the other before the live show. Now, I loathe her. It was gross.
- Melinda Doolittle did not live up to expectations, not that I had many for her. I think she's a good singer, but tonight: meh.
- Chris Sligh. Shiver. When he came on stage, the lines in the bathroom were longer than they were during intermission. He is still the same asshole he was during the show.
- Jordan Sparks was absent from the first half of the show and then was featured at the end doing an endless run of the songs she did during the season. Booooooring.
- Every number the girls did together was terrible. They did Lady Marmalade and they all wore hooker gear. It was stupid and pointless. Then they did another song, where they tromped around in more hooker gear. It was sad and lacked imagination. Though, during all these numbers, it was obvious that Lakisha was over it. Good for her, I say.
- The Idol Band. The guys formed their own band and it was pathetic. Phil Stacy overdid it and the only one who looked like he belonged there was my boy Blake.
- The absence of Ryan Seacrest left the burden of MC'ing and ad-libbing to these poor dolts who have lived in a vaccuum. Without his charm and leadership, this ship sunk.
- At no time was "Idols Gives Back" mentioned. There was no update on the progress.
- At the end of the show, as Jordan was belting that awful Idol "single," a large portion of the stage opened up and the remaining nine slinked out from underground. Phil Stacy was the first one out and I started looking for a wooden stake to drive through his heart, thinking he had just risen from the dead. Really, who planned this farce? Why would any producer think that watching the Idols emerge from the earth was a good idea? It was funny for all the wrong reasons.
The worst thing about this production was that it was done on the cheap. It's like the producers cut these kids loose with no support. The costumes were community-theater quality, the choreography was stupid and lame, and, again, no words from Ryan or the judges. It was shameful.
One of the best parts of the experience, though, was the people sitting around us. They were all 50 plus and hilarious. One guy said to us as we took our seats, "I hope you don't mind, but I plan on singing along." Later, when we were all delerious from the endless parade of hopeful pluck, the guys behind us kept screaming "Sanjaya!" in their best girly voices.
And the very best part was when Elizabeth was absolutely gob-smacked by the horror of Phil Stacy on the stage. I couldn't stop laughing; this was cruise-ship entertainment at its very worst. Of course I was losing it during the patriotic part of the show, which was delightfully inappropriate.
All in all, I'm glad I went. I never have to go to another one, though. But I would pay money to see Chris Richardson, Blake Lewis and Sanjaya if they ever went on tour. Brilliant.