Oh, Gina, Gina, Gina Glocksen, it wasn’t your time to go. It was Haley’s. Or possibly that guy’s, the one who makes me want to hang garlic around my neck. I won’t even mention he whose mission this week was to “show America [he] can sing.” We all know he’s not going anywhere.
But your departure made some things perfectly clear about this season of American Idol. For one thing, Tony Bennett and the judges are right: Sanjaya is a performer more than anything else. He might have discovered his niche entirely by accident (or, as I like to maintain, desperation) but an entertainer he definitely is. I just wonder what that says about Blake Lewis, who is also an entertainer more than a singer.
And before all the Beatbox Blake Bunnies descend in screaming fury on my poor head, I’d like to say yes, he and Sanjaya don’t deserve to be grouped together (it’s a moot point anyway – how can you possibly group anyone with a person who now has his own personal universe?) but the fact still remains that his best performances rely on his charisma more than actual singing talent.
But this is a good season to have a personality because most of the others either simply don’t have one or manage to hide it pretty well. Philferatu’s a patriotic zombie, Haley is a weepy pair of legs, Chris R… exists, I guess, LaKisha of the big voice is afraid of animals, Melinda is adorably/nauseatingly humble, while Jordin is young and makes faces. That leaves (or left, rather) us with Beatbox Blake whose USP is that he actually acts his age, Sanjaya of the Other Realm, and Gina.
Gina’s problem was that she had an image to live up to. Bear with me, it’s not as crazy as it sounds. You see, ever since Bo Bice and, more to the point, Chris Daughtry decided to give Idol the rocker stamp of approval, they’ve used it to deflect all kinds of criticism. How can Idol be a cheesy talent show geared towards grandparents and 12-year-olds when ‘genuine artists’ walk its boards? We saw the judges drag their names out of the closet the moment some upstart (deluded) contestant started reaming them about being the show that sold music down the river (read: 'is uninterested in whatever horrendous crap they’re peddling').