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American Idol – The Final Three Preview

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Because it is the network with no shame, Fox added an extra hour of AI3 programming to its schedule last night with a “special” entitled “The Final Three.” Unfortunately, it was an hour wasted.

The first half of the show consisted of interviews with judges Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, and Simon Cowell. Because it was Ryan Seacrest in the other chair, the questions were as predictable as the answers. Absolutely nothing was said that hasn’t been before. Randy thinks this year’s group of finalists is the best yet, Paula truly believes they are all stars each in their own special way, and Simon just wants to make sure his label sells a lot of albums.

In the second half-hour, Seacrest sat down with the three remaining finalists to ask more vapid questions that provided fodder for even more vapid answers. In fact, while the purported purpose of the show was to “find out more” about the singers, their responses were virtually interchangeable. If anything, they had to suppress their personalities in order to continue to appeal to the widest possible audience. Each contestant also got to perform one of their “signature songs.”

This Wednesday, one more finalist will be removed from the competition to make way for the grand showdown next week.

Jasmine Trias

The moral of this season for American Idol fans is this: never underestimate the power of the Aloha State. Jasmine went far further than anyone expected her to go in this contest. She’s sailed through multiple elimination shows as far more talented singers have been summarily dismissed, due solely to the power and tenacity of the Hawaiian voting bloc. While not a great singer, she is a talented performer, and her rapport with the target audience is her greatest strength.

Unfortunately for Jasmine, enough viewers are now annoyed enough at the ousting of Jennifer Hudson and LaToya London that they’re unlikely to allow a lesser singer to walk away with the top prize. While the bizarre voting patterns this season have made it very difficult to predict the results each week, I’ll go out on a limb and say that Jasmine Trias will be leaving the show this week.

Diana DeGarmo

The youngest of the remaining finalists, Diana’s powerful voice and stage presence have made her a contender in this competition from the very beginning. It’s easy to forget she’s only 16 years old when she’s up on stage belting out Think or Turn The Beat Around. Though some of her performances earlier in the season were less than spectacular, she’s really managed to pull it together these last few weeks.

While its easy to argue that some of the ousted finalists deserve to be in the final three more than Diana, there’s no question that she’s worked hard to earn her place her. While I do believe she’ll make it to the final sing-off, she’s up against a true superstar.

Fantasia Barrino

Early in the season, Paula Abdul said, “American Idol needs Fantasia.” As we near the end of the competition, its clear that AI3 needs Fantasia much more than Fantasia needs AI3. Of all the contestants, she’s the only one (possibly excepting LaToya) who has yet to turn in a bad performance. She’s got the voice, the poise, and the personality. And, after three long months, she’s proved she’s much more than just a Macy Gray clone.

When LaToya London left the show last week, Fantasia’s victory became even more certain. While she was in the bottom two, Fantasia will now ride the strength of both voters’ outrage and additional votes picked up from LaToya fans on to the final week. There’s no question that, in the end, she can out-sing either Diana or Jasmine. When she goes head-to-head with either one next week, it will be no contest.

Fantasia Barrino will become the third American Idol.

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About Nick Danger

  • Bob A. Booey

    Scott, my love.

    It appears some other nerd has stolen your thunder and gotten most of the AI discussion on his blog this week. You’re a better writer than he is so I’ll come sit at the “uncool kids” table with you for a minute even though I wrote most of what I had to say there.

    Jasmine leaving is not going out on a limb and Fantasia’s victory is anything but certain.

    Objectively (and this may be hard to believe because of my comments about her hideous personality in the past), I don’t think Diana’s singing has improved markedly. She’s not all that good and hasn’t really improved her technique. She’s clearly more comfortable singing the more energetic songs where she can go “c’mon y’all” and belt them out, but she wouldn’t have been in the top 3 in any other season. She’d be lucky to be top 10. I’m happy for her that she seems to be gaining self-confidence week-by-week but it’s not a pleasant sight to see. But the story of AI has always kind of been that America likes the non-traditional types to become stars, the loser to winner stories like fat Ruben and geeky clay and white trash Kelly. LaToya was apparently too pretty and talented for America’s tastes and didn’t have the manic desperation for attention that Diana does. That’s why Diana will win — because she’s crazy about AI like AI’s crazy fans are (not to mention just plain crazy). Although I must say she’d fit in perfectly in the equally manic, phony, saccharine, cheesy environment of the Tonight Show with Jay Leno after her big “victory.” I just don’t want to see her porcine mother cry tears of joy — maybe that strange woman will finally stop pushing her poor daughter to be a star if Diana wins. Doubt it, though. It’ll probably only make the stage mom presence worse until Diana’s “career” tanks. I actually sympathize with Diana, as unlikable as she is, the more I remember how young she is. I feel bad for what she’ll go through when she wins — oily music executives trying to make her into Hillary Duff and encouraging her to go on Atkins before her video shoot.

    Jasmine’s sympathy trains ends this week, although it’s VERY possible Fantasia leaves. Let’s not discount that possiblity. If it happens, the contest becomes a farce. Diana vs. Jasmine? JonBenet vs. Aloha Girl? Oy vey. I almost hope for that result because it would lead to a change in voting, I’d imagine, to an elimination vote. AI would take the gloves off and stop with the nicey-nice, cutesy lovefest of the bizarre. I just hope Simon’s honest about his ambivalence if and when Diana wins in the interviews.

    Randawg is wrong — this wasn’t the best top 12 ever. It was a freakshow.

    I guess I had more to add than I thought. I hope this gets your discussion started too. That is all.

  • Scott Pepper

    Randawg is wrong — this wasn’t the best top 12 ever. It was a freakshow.

    I disagree. Whereas the previous seasons each produced 2-3 singers with potential careers, I count at least five from this season who could easily get recording contracts if they so choose: Fantasia, LaToya, Diana, Jennifer, George, and Amy. Even John Stevens or JPL could get a deal if they play their cards right.

    The contestants this time around certainly had more personality than in the prior two contests, but I wouldn’t necessarily call that a “freakshow.”

  • Bob A. Booey

    I think your age makes you unable to comment accurately on music since you’re apparently out of touch, but allow me to clarify for you.

    Potential for LEGITIMATE major-label recording deals worth actual money that aren’t a joke:

    Fantasia: yes. It’s why she won’t win next week vs. Diana. America already knows Clive Davis will sign her no matter what to Jive/Arista.
    LaToya: yes. might have trouble being promoted, e.g., Tamira Gray. I’m sure she’ll be back on Idol singing next season.
    Diana: only if she wins will she sell any records. she could be another kimberly locke in terms of recording without winning AI — we’ll see how kimberly’s album sells, but I doubt it will do all that well.
    George: um NO. What market does he fit into? Who’s dying to buy a shuffling soul/gospel act? Is he going to fit into R & B and hip hop charts alongside Usher and Kanye West? No.
    Amy: HELL NO. She got kicked off ages ago. She’s chubby. She’s got bad hair. She doesn’t have an edge despite said bad hair and has no ability to write or play rock music on an instrument. She’ll do local performances in crappy bars wherever the hell she’s from and make Jay Leno cracks on stage.
    John Stevens: You’re on crack. NO NO and NO. No major label wants some geek who does 50s throwback stuff.
    JPL: Take all those NOs for John Stevens and double them. He’ll do youth community events for $500 wherever the hell he’s from if he’s lucky after the ridiculous American Idol Tour ends.

    Personality? No. They’re boring, weird, nerdy kids without anything controversial or daring about them. They’re nice in a bizarro way. Maybe too nice. But make no mistake about it: FREAKSHOW.

  • Stately Wayne Manor

    I wouldn’t watch this show for love or
    money. It sure is entertaining to watch
    “adults” such as yourself froth at the
    mouths like Hyenas around a fresh corpse
    though when it comes to arguing your points. Carry on peeps.

  • Mac Diva

    The extra hour is like those ‘special’ editions of magazines and newspapers that are just old stuff repackaged. In the news biz, we called’em ‘ad rags.’ No new content, but you can sell the same material twice or more. American Idol is looking cheesier and cheesier.

  • obed

    hola amigos de american idol, solo quiero decirles que soy un super fan del reallity show no me pierdo ningun programa y que mi favorito es fantasia barrino!!!!!!