Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Pickler picked off

Wednesday's "American Idol" results show was Kellie Pickler's first time in the bottom of ... well, anything this season. It was also her last: As the Albemarle native stood in the middle of the stage next to fellow low vote-getter Paris Bennett, the Seacrestian justice was swift, the news harsh - and definitely deserved. After weeks of surviving on pluck and a personality that carried her far beyond where her talent alone would have landed her, after a string of underwhelming performances, Kellie's headed home. At least figuratively speaking. (Who knows where she's really going next, after all. Probably "Regis & Kelly" or somewhere like that.)

So, Season Five, say farewell to bright blonde hair, to blue eye shadow, to bubbly enthusiasm, to a very pink wardrobe, to a thick-as-molasses Southern accent that carried like a foghorn. Wave goodbye to Miss Stanly County, she from the self-proclaimed "middle of nowhere," with experience in both Sonic waitressing and having a father incarcerated, the Simon-labeled "saucy little minx" of down-home quips and verbal stumbles - salmon or calamari, anyone? - and ... notice I didn't mention anything about her singing?

But of course. Because when "Idol" fans remember Kellie - and they will, much to the chagrin of all the "Idol" loathers out there who wish we'd use our brain space for something a little weightier - they won't recall her tortured renditions of more than a few songs (such as Tuesday's "Unchained Melody," which earned her the boot), the way she failed to connect with a bunch of music and her subtlety deficiency. (Or perhaps they won't
want to recall those things.) And they probably won't remember her decent performances, either - ok, well, except maybe that insane version of "Bohemian Rhapsody," but just because it was so bizarre, so "Only on American Idol."

With Kellie, all of that was in many ways beside the point. In fact, her success probably made her one of the most polarizing and unintentionally thought-provoking "Idol" contestants ever, even when accounting for the fact most "Idol" contestants haven't provoked very many thoughts at all. Yes, thought-provoking: the girl who supposedly didn't know what the world "ballsy" meant. After all, if "American Idol" is supposed to in some way reflect society, then I suspect Kellie's presence made at least some of us think about what people like, and prefer, and how much of an advantage - to a point - it still is to be, or at least to act, cute and blonde and silly in a culture that in many ways celebrates cute, silly blondes. Anyway, though, not to get too philosophical here. Next thing you know, I'll hit the slippery slope and end up blubbering like Paula after an Elliott Yamin performance. Oh goodness, perish the thought!

Most of the time booted "Idol" contestants finish the show by singing - singing the song that got them booted, illogically enough - but the powers that be, or Ryan Seacrest, or whoever makes such decisions, played to Kellie's strength and decided to talk to her instead.

"Well, Kell, 'Idol' will never be the same," Seacrest said, with what appeared to be not a whole lot of surprise, but nonetheless some disappointment at losing his most trusty comedic foil. As for Pickler, she said she'll be back in Albemarle soon enough. We shall see. When she does arrive, though, you can bet those pink ribbons will be flying, and Clyde "Cutest Grandpa in the South" Pickler will be waiting. All together now: Awwwww.

You know things are bad when the guy who can't stop saying "dawg!" is labeled "the sane one": "Now, put your hands together for our emotionally unstable panel!" Ryan Seacrest said, introducing the judges. "You're the only sane one, Randy."

Meanwhile, in a totally different galaxy: The last time a voice as powerful as Andrea Bocelli's graced the "Idol" stage was, well, never.

Making "Bad" a bit better: After Seacrest told Kellie she was out, the quick recap of her "Idol" journey and hard-luck upbringing was accompanied by a rendition of "Bad Day" that mercifully wasn't the already-overplayed Daniel Powter original.

As Seacrest would say, "Coming up...after the break": I'm off work next week, which means this fair blog will be taking a break, too. Hey, even "Idol" bloggers - er, I mean, serious journalists - need a little rest and relaxation sometimes! Will I be watching "American Idol" anyway? Chances are good. And will I be back for Elvis week - that is, two weeks from now? You bet. After all, with a top five of Real Singers and no terribly easy targets remaining, things are bound to be interesting.


Anonymous said...

The best thing about this week's American Idol was that I didn't watch it. I didn't watch last week, or the week before that, or the week before.......
Anyway, if what I see on teasers for Inside Edition is any indication, the show should be renamed "The Paula Abdul Emotional Roller Coaster Ride and Review".
I have an idea for next season, something that could really add spice to the show. Let's crucify Simon, see if he rises from the dead after three days, and pop that little ego bubble that keeps his cranium from collapsing.

Anonymous said...

We are hoping all Kellie fans noticed how "Elliott" applauded for Kellie before her performance on Tuesday night. He also had tears for her when she was voted off. We were sorry to see Kellie go, but please continue to vote and vote for Elliott as he is a truly compassionate soul. He struggles with diabetes and deafness, yet he appears on stage and sings his heart out. He can really really sing...heart and soul...that's Elliott! All Kellie fans, please hop on the E-train and support the one contestant that really cared about Kellie!

Anonymous said...

You can put as many negatives on that girl as you want. To me she is a TRUE survivor, put yourself in her shoes, you probably coundn't even fit into them. She is what America is supposed to be like, not this big lights BS. Everyone needs to stop ripping on each other and learn to live with one another. What, just because she chased a dream she is now a "country hick?" I don't think so. I would tell her to keep smiling and going in the direction her heart tells her to go. She will Never be a loser in my book.