Two seasons ago, my then-co-worker Chris Oakes talked me into watching “American Idol” near the end of the season, which was the classic Ruben-vs.-Clay battle. I actually enjoyed it, much to my surprise, but when I started watching the 2004 season I didn’t become a regular viewer. I actually got turned off at about the point last year when the judges started lecturing the viewers for voting off the wrong people — why ask for our opinion and then tell us we were wrong? To make matters worse, some of the blame for our “wrong” voting was heaped on the back of one of the youngest competitors — a young boy still in high school. In disgust, I stopped watching.
By this year, some of my resentment had worn off and I watched an episode or two. But it never really piqued my interest.
Lately, of course, my viewing options are a lot more limited. I ended up watching tonight to see the final three contestants (which was about where I had joined the Clay-vs.-Ruben battle two years earlier).
The two ladies were fine, but Bo Bice hit a home run. Each contestant got to sing three songs — one selected by record mogul Clive Davis, one self-selected and one selected by one of the three regular judges. Bice’s self-chosen song was sung a cappella — the first time anyone’s tried that in the serious portion of the competition before. I forget the title of the song, but it was great. And Bice also did a terrific job with Elton John’s “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me.” His “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” was inoffensive — a fatal flaw when performing a Rolling Stones song — but even so, he really did a terrific job tonight.