When American Idol changed the age restrictions, letting in those over 25, it may have been for better reasons than to just give Paula someone legit to date. It opened the field to more mature singers who have gone undiscovered. Guys like Taylor Hicks, who is only 29 despite the grays, Chris Daughtry and Patrick Hall.
To me, this helps get away from the teen beat image most attribute to Idol. Last night the judges credited Bo Bice and Carrie Underwood for getting more “regular people,” which is probably polite talk for “country bumpkins” into the show, like Bucky Covington. (BTW, when he said he was going to sing Skynyrd, I was like no shit.)
But whether we have the age or the hicks from last season to thank for more authenticity, seeing guys like Elliott Yamin belt it out and be told they may have the best male voice ever, is a great story. Imagine if that guy becomes famous. With his looks, it would have never happened without the show.
Which brings me to the main issue with the guys. There sure are a strange looking bunch. Sure there are obvious heartthrobs like Ace and crooner David. But there is also the long neck of Patrick Hall, the meth teeth of Elliott and well, all of Bobby Bennett. It might be mean but there were some true fuglies on the show.
Also apparently some suffered from that disease that makes you look prematurely old. I could not believe my Tivo when I backed it up to see that Gideon “the smile” McKinney was only 17! Great singer, but he looks like Isaac from The Love Boat. Then came Bobby Bennett; I shook my head saying there’s no way he’s under 30, but then he turns out to be 19!
Age is a strange factor on the show this season actually. There are a number of kids under 18, more than I remember in previous years, and some that are closing in on 30. The teens that look like teens, David, Will, and Kevin were not that good last night. Kevin, who looks like he’s in pain when he sings, did the best of all three and people will keep him around for a while. David did the best working the chicks, or as Paula called them the “poodle pound,” but that croon voice is going to get old real fast.
The song choices were not as predictable as I thought they would be. Only one Brian McKnight and one Stevie. Thankfully no Ryan Cabrera or Josh Groban. I liked the selections from Bon Jovi, George Michael, Queen and Skynrd.
So who was the best singer? Sway, no doubt. It was one of the few times I’ve disagreed with Simon, I thought that Earth, Wind & Fire song was intense. I like Sway because he does the best with what he’s got. He’s weird looking but unlike those dudes already mentioned he knows how to play it.
The worst? Bobby Bennett is going home tomorrow night. His “Copacabana” was like watching a lounge singer from a John Waters film. I think that the second worst performance was Will with the Jackson Five song. But he’s not going anywhere yet. Such is the power of teen girls with speed dial.