Monday, April 14, 2008

Another Idol thought: Michael Johns? What the?

Okay, it's Monday, and this is old news for any Idol watchers, but something crazy happened last Thursday on that little contest Fox holds every year. Michael Johns, a handsome, very sweet Aussie with a great voice, a wife, and fantastic taste in music received the least votes and was sent home (before Kristi Lee Cook, no less!).

To be honest, I didn't think he'd win or anything. I was so sure he'd be with us for at least 3 or 4 more weeks, though. He had this fabulous awkwardness to his walk that made him terribly endearing, and he always chose such good songs (except for the Dolly Parton week, which was one of his most successful weeks - weirdness!). I mean, who doesn't love songs like "Don't You (Forget About Me)" from Simple Minds and "Across the Universe" by John Lennon. Even his last song, "Dream On" from Aerosmith, is one of those brilliant oldies that make me almost forgive Steve Tyler for the disturbing MTV memories of the emaciated, skeletore-like being making out with raunchy, but beautiful supermodels (creepy and unforgettable).

So where did Johns go wrong? Where did Kristi Lee go right?

Well, unless other viewers also have Aerosmith issues, Johns simply failed to make the most of Inspirational Song/Idol Gives Back week. In fact, so many failed to get last week right! I was not surprised at the bottom three at all, which included Johns, Brooke White, and Carly Smithson. Brooke chose the meaningful, but under-impressive "You've Got a Friend" while Carly made me question her IQ with the song "The Show Must Go On" by Queen. I mean, "The Show Must Go On" as an inspirational song? I can think of few songs which have a more dismal, angry message than that song. It may be a good song, but it's all about how much life stinks and sometimes you have to paint on a smile and get on with it anyway. It's not exactly about being inspired.

Another observation on Johns which may have taken him out was that, while his song choices were great, they were all originally recorded by some of the most unique and memorable voices in rock and roll. Unfortunately, he usually sounded bland compared to the originals. Who can compare, though, with the likes of Freddy Mercury, Jim Kerr, Jim Morrison, and, yes, even Steve Tyler? (Sorry, Michael, the rock screams just didn't work).

Well, we'll miss him terribly.

As for Kristi, who escaped the bottom three for the second week in a row, she may be a lot smarter than I give her credit for. I mean, it would've been un-American to vote her off for "God Bless the USA," (hence Simon's compliment of "clever choice of song") and "Anyway" was one of the only songs that actually fit the theme last week. (It's also beautiful and must be based on The Paradoxical Commandments by Dr. Kent M. Keith). Still, I'm really not comfortable with an Idol contestant whose musical influences include LeAnn Rimes "when she came out with 'Blue'" and Shania Twain. The technical term for such artists is "over-rated."

Finally, I have to add something about Idol gives back. We recorded it and watched some of the clips and songs. I have a theory that Hell's population will include many former government leaders, particularly many who had power in Africa. The footage and stories were heart-wrenching, so much worse than much of what I saw in the Philippines, which absolutely has it's share of corruption and needless suffering. It was very humbling. We're blessed to be where we are and with what we have.

I also want to add that I love Annie Lennox. What more can I say? She may not always sound pretty, but she's so passionate. I may never be able to bring that kind of passion to a performance in my life. I hope that I can at least have it in my personal life.