Just a few observations regarding the American Idol finale.
First, what a lot of people who dismiss Idol perhaps don't realize is that the show is actually quite entertaining. It is, perhaps, the best produced musically oriented show on network television. The finale boasted some top talent, both old and new with the likes of Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight (sans Pips,) Tony Bennett, Bette Midler, Aerosmith's Joe Perry on his guitar and others, some performing with the contestants, excepting Bennett who performed solo. Keep in mind that this was a live telecast (the seven-second delay notwithstanding.) It has long been my opinion that few people in the business know how to do live telecasts of entertainment fare. They usually seem slow, unsure, and clumsy in their execution. Just think of any awards show you may have seen in the past 20 years or so. Not so with American Idol, except perhaps when they gave out some "special" awards which provided some laughs, but was for the most part awkward at best.
While watching one of the production numbers, it occurred to me that everyone seemed on the edge of delirium, all sporting effusive, broad grins, perhaps owing to the fact that virtually everyone on camera either had and/or will be making a great deal of money. I suppose that is cause for a smile or two.
But I will hand it to the producers. Idol was, in its infancy, virtually the antithesis of Wednesday evening's program. The first year or two it was painfully obvious that the show was being produced on a shoestring budget. The show's great success since has opened the network's checkbooks and production values have soared.
A few notes about some of the special performances by the guest artists noted above:
Smokey Robinson and Gladys Knight were grand. They don't seem to have lost a beat, even if Ms. Knight has added a pound or two. Their voices were familiar and strong.
Tony Bennett was in unusually good voice. Ya gotta hand it to the guy. He's eighty years old! Nevertheless, in recent years, I have found some of his performances to be lacking in the vocal department as one might expect. Last nite, however, he nailed his performance, and he certainly does not look anything like 80 years old.