American Idol

"Idol" re-defines the California sound

This may be the broadest definition ever offered for music's "California sound." Tonight's "American Idol" even included a song performed by Josh Groban.

Hey, it doesn't work that way. Cole Porter grew up on an Indiana farm, but that doesn't mean he wrote country music. Classical pianist Ruth Laredo grew up in Detroit, but that doesn's mean she had the Motown Sound. And Groban grew up in Los Angeles, but that doesn't make his powerhouse, classical-tinged music any relation to the Beach Boys and The Eagles.

On "Voice," "Idol" ... and, of course, Justin Bieber

Three quick music comments:

1) It was great to see Jermaine Paul named tonight as this year's "The Voice" champion. The former Alicia Keys back-up singer has immense talent.

2) Let's hope Joshua Ledet can win this year's "American Idol." Like Paul, he has a stunning voice, rippling with bits of gospel and soul.

Skylar's gone; life is fair

Several things:

1) OK, I didn't actually see tonight's "American Idol" results show. I was watching a swimming lesson.

2) It was, however, a fine lesson. Near the end, everyone sang "Happy Birthday" to Lon.

3) Lon was very pleased with this. He had only had four previous birthdays and during one of them (the first), he slept through half of the party.

4) Lon was NOT named after horror-film star Lon Chaney. Any implication that he was only reflects immaturity on my part.

"Smash" soars; so do (some) "Idol" singers

Let's talk a lot about tonight's "American Ido," after a quick detour:

1) Already the year's best new show, "Smash" is ending its season wonderfully. I just had a chance to see the final new episodes (10 p.m. May 7 and 14); they are brilliant. There's a tad too much melodrama, but the characters are beautifullu drawn and the closing numbers -- a gospel tune May 7, an original May 14 -- are stunning.

"Idol" ousts Elise: Being the old-timer isn't always helpful

Elise Testone seemed wedged into an
“American Idol” sub-category.

“(Erika Van Pelt) always called us
'the old girls,'” she said today (Friday). “And she's two years younger than I

A non-surprise ("Idol"), a huge surprise ("Fringe")

Several things:

1) Please read the previous blog. "Fringe" will be back next season; this is a terrific  surprise.

2) I guess we can't call tonight's "American Idol" a surprise, because it's what we predicted: Elise Testone and Hollie Cavanagh finished in the bottom; they'd been there often. Then Elise was sent home.

"Idol" people keep it simple (sometimes)

Tonight's "American Idol" magnified a key factor: Singers are the most impressive when doing straight-ahead, melodic songs.

Just about everything from Queen fits that description. During the first half of th show, all six finalists thrived.

Then, oddly, half of them went in the opposite direction, with complex songs that do nothing for the singer. Elise Testone did Jimi Hendrix, Joshua Ledet did Luther Van Dross, Phillip Phillips did a seemingly impenetrible Dave Matthews tune.

A strong and faithful fairwell

Yes, I'm surprised to see Colton Dixon leaving "American Idol" so soon. Here's the quick-turnaround piece I just sent to papers, from his interview this morning. Also, please read the three previous blogs -- one on my comedy gig Sunday and two commenting on "Idol" this week:


It may take a while for Colton Dixon to
realize he's not on “American Idol” any more.

Colton goes home too soon

I came fairly close to nailing "American Idol" tonight. My prediction had Elise Testone, Hollie Cavanagh and Colton Dixon in the bottom three; they were.

I also predicted, alas, that Elise would go home. Instead, it was Colton. Two contestants (Cavanagh and Phillip Phillips) were reduced to tears; I was reduced to my usual stunned look. Here are a few comments about the show and about Dick Clark:

1) First, Clark. For the second straight night, Ryan Seacrest had an excellent mini-tribute.

A white and soulful evening

A few comments on tonight's "American Idol":

1) Ryan Seacrest's tribute to the late Dick Clark was quiet, brief and affecting. I'll mention more Clark tributes, as they come up; the first one announced (see previous blog) is on the former Game Show Network.

2) This was a gutsy movie, having a rhythm-and-blues hour, keyed to "Soul Train," with one of the whitest "Idol" groups ever. Joshua Ledet is the only black contestant in the final seven.