American Idol’s final did what it was supposed to do – prove that La’Porsha Renae should win Season 15
So how was that final final of American Idol?
The originals weren’t great songs, they repeated a song and Simon Fuller’s choices leaned more toward bland and boring instead of an emotional rollercoaster that can win you the damn show.
Or, in short, it was the same as it’s been forever.
The final has never been American Idol’s strong point. Too many times we all know who’s going to win and all we’re hoping for is the favorite doesn’t fall on their face. No one has ever won American Idol in the final two and no one ever lost it either.
In all reality, La’Porsha Renae won the final season of American Idol last week. Final three is when you win the show and there’s no rational person who thought La’Porsha didn’t win last week. Any threat of her not winning was eliminated early when Ryan Seacrest announced she was safe and onto the final, leaving Trent Harmon and Dalton Rapattoni waiting to hear their fate.
It had to have been a relief for La’Porsha. There was genuine worry, at least on my part, that MacKenzie’s votes were going to get split between Trent and Dalton, giving them both enough to push past LPR. When that didn’t happen, it confirmed the more likely scenario – La’Porsha is miles ahead of the pack and nobody can stop her.
The show’s start was flat. Having the three Idols sing their first single as the first song of the night wasn’t the great marketing idea. Not for nothing, but by the end of the hour I couldn’t remember what the name of Trent, Dalton or La’Porsha’s song was and that’s not good. The second Fradiani closed on “Beautiful Life” last year I needed that single like I needed to be his best friend. Badly. Tonight? I couldn’t wait for them to be over.
Trent’s vocal was fine, but there’s nobody under the age of 50 listening to that song at a party. Dalton’s song seemed ready to pop, but it had more whine in it than a fine cabernet. La’Porsha’s single seemed ready to build into a masterpiece, then fell flat. Was there a winner in the first round? Yes, it was the woman with the gigantic afro who’s won every week this season.
Dalton was eliminated and to be honest, he looked relieved. I don’t think he was meant for a competition like this. He performs well under pressure, but dude looks shook. There’s something going on with that kid right between his ears and I hope he figures it out. I might crack jokes, but if he’s got serious mental health issues losing in the finale of American Idol might not have been the best thing. Hopefully he gets himself checked out, gets healthy and enjoys life as the answer to a trivia question – who was the last guy on American Idol to wear eye makeup?
The second round was what it was. Simon Fuller had the right idea and this was as close to a Motown Week as we had, which is a shame because all Motown Week has done was deliver memorable performances and bring attention to some truly great music, until the contestants got all boring and did the same Stevie Wonder songs year after year. But for a while there, Motown Week was NUTS. “If You Don’t Know Me Right Now” was almost unfair, because it was definitely a last-ditch effort to give Trent a chance at making this somewhat close and if the impossible does happen, it’s on this performance. You win Idol with the old women vote and if there’s one thing older women love, it’s that song. Trent nailed it, couches were soiled and everyone was a winner.
Now La’Porsha didn’t get as good a song, but it didn’t matter. Dionne Warwick was one of those singers who wasn’t quite as good as her reputation and if we’re being completely honest here, there’s no way you’re going to tell me Dionne fucking Warwick in her prime could carry La’Porsha’s luggage. A bigger song would have been better for La’Porsha because she could have put her stamp on the season. I really wanted her to try out some Led Zeppelin because they have a lot of southern soul in some of their music. Instead, we got a song that kept Trent alive – but not really.
The last performances didn’t mean much. All Trent and La’Porsha had to do was not completely fuck it up. Don’t swear, don’t forget lyrics, don’t flip Harry off for being a dick, etc, et al. Those terrific performances lose so much because there isn’t that shock of “holy god this is amazing.” Surprise is part of what makes a great Idol performance. If we knew Kelly Clarkson was going to go three octaves up on “Natural Woman” big note, would we have been in awe? Would “Always Be My Baby” have had the same bite if it was performed three weeks later? No and no, and that’s why these performances weren’t helping either side. It was just a subtle reminder that they’re both good, they both deserved to be here and it’s really amazing America didn’t screw this up.
But perhaps the best part of the final performance was the final critique. Harry Connick doing what Harry does best – offering absolutely nothing of value to the show. If the producers aren’t telling him what to say, he’s a mannequin who can talk. Urban did a nice job being Urban, having a good time, excited to see everyone sing. I think J-Lo said something but most of the time she was on screen I wasn’t listening, just staring. She went out looking as hot as possible.
So who’s going to win? Well, it’s going to be La’Porsha. I’m trying to rationalize how Trent can win and this is the closest I’ve gotten: most of Dalton’s followers are looking for a hunk and they’re going to mass vote for Trent. Problem with that theory is you have to forget that most tweens ditch the show the second their obsession gets canned. Sure, you might get the voter, but the Dalton fan that found a way to vote 500 times maybe votes 10 for Trent but isn’t going to take the time (or all the cell phones in the house) to vote the additional 490.
La’Porsha is going to win because the numbers are there. The key demo to win is the cougs. You get the 30-plus women on your side, you win every single year. Look at who’s won: Nick Fradiani over Clark Beckham, pretty much every old lady’s fantasy; Caleb Johnson, singing classic rock hits cougs love, over Jena Irene; Candice Glover’s perfect voice, which women lean to because they appreciate good singing, over Kree Harrison; Hunky bro rocker Phillip Phillips over Jessica Sanchez; superhunk Lee DeWyze over Crystal Bowersox (older religious women don’t like the kid out of wedlock thing); nice church boy Kris Allen over Adam Lambert; and I can go on and on but every winner has one thing in common – they win the female vote.
You can make the case for Trent getting the female vote because he’s got the look, but there’s something about La’Porsha’s perfect blend of talent, story and performances that are too hard for them to ignore. It’s the perfect storm to get the vote.
If you want to ignore the numbers, fine. Here’s an easier reason.
La’Porsha will win because she’s been the best all year.
See you tomorrow night.