a little east of reality

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

oz idol - final 12

This is to replace the (better) post that Blogger ate. Basically it's just the 12 Australian Idol finalists, two hosts and three judges, with a few comments added. Photo will go in later when Blogger starts behaving itself. For the finalists, I've put them in the order in which they were voted off the show, so as only Joseph, Reigan, Klancie, Mutto and Lavina have gone, you can consider the rest of the order a prediction. ^_^ In each case I've linked their best performance so far (or just my favourite).

Joseph Gatehau was talented and earnest, but his inexperience showed. I'm hoping he comes back in a year or two for another try at it.

Reigan Derry (two vids there, couldn't choose) was excellent. I liked the fact that she sang songs she valued, even if they were not well known. Sadly this worked against her in the voting, as the fickle public wants songs they know and can sing along with. I wish she'd had more time on the show. I think she would have just gotten better and better.

Klancie Keough sings country rock. To be honest I found her annoying. She always seemed more caught up in looking sexy on stage and trying to project a certain image than in singing the song. It's not to say she's not talented ~ her voice is sound and her songs choices right for her ~ I just found the rest of her performance contrived and boring.

Guy "Mutto" Mutton seemed like a nice bloke. I don't have much to say about him except that he didn't strike me much as a solo performer. I'd like to see him heading up a rock band one day. I think he's a people person who would feed off the energy of the group and perform better as a result.

Lavina Williams easily has the strongest voice of the 12, but her connection with the audience only started to happen as her confidence grew onstage. I’m disappointed that she didn’t get more time on the show. I agreed completely with Kyle when he told her, after her performance of the Evanescence song Bring Me To Life, that this was the night she stopped being back-up singer material and became a lead singer.

Ricky Muscat used to bug me because there was little light and shade in his performance ~ just loud and forceful all the way through, every time. He's improved over the weeks and I quite like him now. He is, however, my pick for next to go.

Lisa Mitchell is a hard singer to explain. her offbeat style reminds me a little of Merrill Bainbridge, except that her music is more folky than Merrill's pop sound. She's definitely a singer songwriter who struggled to be comfortable on the stage without her guitar. To be honest I find her a little whiny in this regard. On theme nights she consistently excuses any flaws in her performance with the now tired explanation that this "isn't what she does" and that she "is used to having her guitar". In that sense I don't really think she's gotten into the spirit of the show or made a real effort to step outside her comfort zone. I quite like Lisa's style when she does her own music, but I don't think she'll win this contest.

Bobby Flynn is a funky songwriter with an offbeat, almost croaky, voice. Idol viewers are sharply divided when it comes to Bobby ~ they either love or hate him, and for exactly the same reasons. Every week he takes a hit song and completely changes the arrangement. Personally I think his arrangements are interesting and beautiful. He not only makes a song different, but the new version is great in its own right. I'd probably buy a CD if he puts one out, but perhaps not bother to see him live. I prefer something heavier for live shows. I don't think Bobby will win Idol, but I do think the show will give him the exposure and fan base he needs to be offered a chance to make his own music.

Jessica Mauboy is the cutest thing. Her voice is wonderful ~ she's done a Brandy song and a Christina Aguilera song and handled both brilliantly. There are only two things I don't like about her. One is that she doesn't move well on the stage (though she does connect with the audience). The second is that while she is a huge talent, the talent all lies in her voice. She doesn't write her own songs and she never seems to make any significant changes to the arrangements of the songs she chooses. Now she doesn't need to do that to win Idol, but it does make me skeptical about her future as an artist. Is she just going to be one of those over-produced girls who sing what they are given? And if so, do we really need another one of those?

Damien Leith is an Irish lad with a voice that is just beautiful, including a gorgeous falsetto that highlights his songs nicely. He performs well and I would love to see him go far in the show. Sadly the judges have been pretty hard on him at times. I find him consistently good.

Chris Murphy is an experienced performer who holds the crowd and owns the stage. I like his voice and his song choices and I'm really hoping he does well. I also think he's cute, but that's neither here nor there.

Dean Geyer is not my favourite idol, but he is my pick to win it. At first I didn't like him at all. He sounded a bit mediocre and most of his popularity came from the legions of fan girls who scream every time his name is uttered (gosh I hate those girls). Dean has something important going for him though ~ his modesty. He commented early that he knew that his vocals were not up to the standard of some of the other idols. Not only has he worked to improve his vocal performance, but he has also taken every other aspect of his performance to a new level each week. He has a brilliant connection with both the camera and the live audience, he uses the whole stage and has such joy in being there that it transfers into the electricity he creates. I used to scowl that they guy even made the top 12 and now he has completely won me over.

The judges:

Mark Holden was very popular, for a short time, a long time ago (I was a huge fan of his when I was about ten years old). He is the dorkiest of the judges and his comments drive me mad because he will totally slam a performance, but often without being able to articulate exactly why, which is useless from the contestant's point of view. He also plays favourites. His corny "touchdown!!" routine (to mark a particularly great performance) has actually become a Idol mainstay, with the audience chanting for a touchdown when a performer really nails a song. Who'da thunk it? Certainly not me. One thing I just learned from the second link in this paragraph is that he is actually quite a successful songwriter. Interesting.

Marcia Hines has had a long career as a singer. As a judge she tends to be always supportive and nice, but I think that is an attempt to balance the comments from the other two (much more blunt and critical) judges. I actually find her a little annoying in that sometimes I think she could offer useful criticism in a positive way, but instead she avoids criticism altogether.

Kyle Sandilands is a sharp-tongued radio DJ. His comments are good in the sense that they are often valid criticisms (or specific praise) and that they tend to cover the whole performance and image of a contestant rather than just their singing. They are bad in the sense that he can be completely tactless and even offensive, especially when you take into account the age range of Idol's key demographic. He caused a furore over youth body image when he told Jessica (a 16-year-old) to "lose the jelly belly" and offended a lot of people (particularly parents of handicapped children) by telling Bobby that some people think he's "a full mong" ('mong' originated from 'mongoloid', referring to people with Downs' Syndrome). A lot of viewers hate Kyle, but when he's being at least a little tactful I usually find him the best judge of the three.

The hosts:

Andrew G is gorgeous and easy-going, and his wit is sharp and ready. He also does a radio show apparently (not in my state, so I've never heard it). I saw him appear for the first time recently on an improv comedy show called "Thank God You're Here" and he was great.

James is a little more odd (in the cute, quirky sense) and nervy than Andy G. He makes the funniest unexpected comments with a totally straight face. The two of them are a well-matched pair and one of my favourite things about Idol in general. They tend to be sharply on the side of the contestants and side with them against the judges, much to the audience's delight.