Thursday, May 22, 2008

AI ... and I don't mean artificial intelligence

American Idol: I was plain blown away that David Cook won. Not unhappy, but totally taken by surprise.

So first of all, it's seems pretty obvious that this is an artifact of the aging of the AI audience. Although the finale had records numbers of viewers, it declined slightly in the 18-49 "demographic"; the quotes are for this ... what the hell is the 18-49 demographic? What does an 18 year-old twit have to do with a 49 year-old beer guzzler? I think 18-49 means "not old". It stinks and it makes no sense.

That said, Cook is a more mature act, savvy and expressive. I would buy his album tomorrow. The more amazing instrument is Archuleta's, at least in terms of raw gift. I hope he sings for a long time, and I hope his amazing vocal talent grows and entertains for decades well past hi obvious trajectory in teenie pop. But Cook is ready right now to rock the world. His gig with ZZ Top last night was stellar. He was glowing. Louis Bayard on Salon put it perfectly:

The only goose bumps "American Idol" afforded me this past season came when Cook mangled a piece of pop confectionery into something bitter and scalding and virtually unrecognizable. Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean," Lionel Richie's "Hello," Mariah Carey's "You'll Always Be My Baby" ... who would have guessed these songs could ever sound dangerous? And yet that's exactly the transformation Cook pulled off, thanks to his deconstructive sensibilities and his innate musical intelligence (and the example of rock iconoclasts like Chris Cornell).

I have to note that Jason Castro's Hallelujah was polished and sublime. That kid has a mark to make if he can get off his stoner ass and care, and figure out that he has something to say. Meanwhile, Carly and Michael proved that they belong on Broadway. Syesha was strangely held back. I got a kick out of seeing the stripper, David Hernandez, again, but he clearly also needs to see his future in musical theater.

All that said, a great season. The right guy won. A couple of career's were launched. And we heard a whole heap of moving song.

On another note, and playing the jerk who is the modern cultural hero
... they knocked Judge Judy off the air because there is a fire near Santa Cruz. Come on people, let's get our priorities straight ... annoyed bureaucrats at home in their pajamas want their nightly fix of a grand bitch chewing out some idiots. Real news ... Israelis negotiating with Syrians notwithstanding that they are thereby Nazis according to dubya logic ... or Ted Kennedy, one of the finest men in public life in American history, about to exit because of a glioma ... surely a beautiful word like glioma should refer to a musical genre or a mathematical concept, not to a killer tumor ... real news I can abide. But yet another fire in a state which will be entirely consumed in fire over the next few decades as the wages of driving SUVs are demanded by Papa Nature ... yet another fire ... sorry as I can be for the poor sods who live there. There's a guy on the news talking about community on the mountain. He was burned out once before when he was a child. But he still lives there. It's gonna burn.

Of course, in the coffee-and-upholstery vein, I live on top of ... or leastwise slightly to the right of ... one of the deadliest tectonic faults in the world. So I had better be prepared to be sanguine about the great shaking that awaits me and mine.

Still, here I have a few minutes to myself and I wanted Judge Judy to put paid to some moron who figures he doesn't have to pay up. Oooops, better flip to something else.

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