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The Post-Game Show » Blog Archive » Idol: The Final

Idol: The Final

It’s the final. The day of reckoning. Well, the day before the day of reckoning, because we don’t get the result until tomorrow. But still, this is the showdown, and… and it almost doesn’t seem to matter.

I mean, it doesn’t matter, of course, because it’s only a reality TV show. But it does matter because Adam Lambert has totemic value as an acceptable face of gay in the American heartland. But it doesn’t matter because… well, Danny Gokey is gone.

For a long time, the safe money was on a Danny/Adam final. I wrote last week about the allegorical power of this confrontation - safe Christian values versus debauched Californian liberalism. And then a miracle happened. God himself flooded the Idol phone lines with votes for Adam and Kris, pushing Gokey into third place and out of the competition, as if to say, “You do not sing for me, widowmaker”. Poor God, he must be tired of people saying the devil has all the best tunes.

If Gokey had made the final, this would have been a tense end to the season. But with the smug one’s ouster, it’s tough to care, and for the best of all possible reasons; I like both of the finalists.

kradam

Adam is the favourite, and he’s the most creative performer the show has ever seen, and the best singer this side of Melinda Doolittle, so if he does win it’ll be entirely right and proper. Kris need not worry; he’ll get a career out of this as well.

But if Kris wins… well, it wouldn’t really change anything. Adam would still be a superstar. The Adam haters would be gleeful, but I think most Adam fans would take it in good grace. Most of them like Kris, and it’s still a victory for the flamboyantly gay contestant to have got to the final at all. The voting between Kris and Adam last week was reportedly close, and most of Danny’s votes will go to Kris, so victory for Kris could easily be on the cards.

There were rumours of a Kris/Adam feud in the papers at one point, but it’s obvious from the way the two interact - hugging, joking, sitting together - that they’re very close. The fanfic has already been written. Sharp-eyed fans spotted last week that Kris had nail polish on one thumb, while Adam had nail polish on all but one thumb. This was apparently a deliberate gesture of solidarity between the two. We’re also told that when the results were announced, Kris’s mum ran up to Adam’s mum and they hugged. Whoever wins, I think the loser will be legitimately happy for him. The final result is largely irrelevant.

kradam-1

Perhaps the clearest illustration of this odd win-win situation is the conundrum that anti-Idol site Vote for the Worst found itself in. VFTW tries to propel bad contestants to victory because… I don’t know, really. Boredom, I suppose. Regardless, the site has had a terrible season. In the prelims they backed Tatiana, Alex and Norman, none of whom went through. For the show itself, they backed Megan, Scott, Lil, Matt and Danny in quick succession. They had no noticeable impact. (If they’d picked Matt Giraud as the worst, like I did, they’d have looked like geniuses!)

The point being, they capped their terrible year with an impossible choice. VFTW is consensus-led, and therefore tends to be musically conservative, so their natural choice for ‘worst’ would be Adam (an early poll showed that VFTW wanted Adam as their pick), but you can’t try to sway the vote in favour of the popularly acclaimed front-runner; it’s meaningless

As it’s too late to back Adam, VFTW picked Kris as its ‘worst’, claiming that Adam had pussied out of being his full queeny self, and that Kris would be a disastrous winner for the producers. Neither of those claims stands up to a second’s scrutiny. Vote for the Worst couldn’t pick a plausible worst in the final two, because there is no worst. There’s no bad result here.

adam

On to tonight’s performances. Adam starts things off with a Mad World reprise, backlit and wearing a long school-massacring coat. He doesn’t sound as confident as he did last time he did this number, and he’s not offering anything new, but it is a typically well acted and emotional performance. A safe choice.

Kris revisits Ain’t No Sunshine - lovely and unchallenging, I wish he’d gone with Falling Slowly, which was much more original, but much less well known. Another safe choice.

Adam’s next song is A Change Is Gonna Come, the producer’s choice - and it’s a good contrast to what’s gone before. This is a musically challenging, dazzling song that allows Adam to show some shade. He starts out controlled, but intense, then unleashes a trademark wail that could knock a man down. It’s a home run for Adam’s constituency of tweens and grandmas.

kris

Kris follows that with What’s Going On. And I’m suddenly very aware of Kris’s weird pubescent moustache. Is that an Anoop tribute? Kris is adorable as ever, but he’s definitely milquetoast compared to the competition, and this little acoustic coffee bar set demonstrates that very clearly. Of course, his best chance of winning this really is to run as the anti-Lambert; an island of normal in a flood of glitter.

Finally, the winner’s song, No Boundaries, by Kara DioGuardi (among others). Yes, her; the shite judge. This is what she otherwise does for a living, you know. The song is predictably rotten stuff, and not even rotten in a dependably stirring way. It’s not a very Adam Lambert song, but he does infuse it with a texture that I suspect it’s otherwise lacking. Ultimately, though, it’s kind of sad that this is the last song he gets to sing in the contest. Kris fares a little better with the MOR-ness, but he struggles with the range, and, let’s be honest, the banality of the song is beneath him as well.

That’s the end. Tomorrow we’ll have a winner. Bookies favour Adam, but I think Kris has an excellent chance - he’ll get a lot of votes from supporters, but I’m sure he’ll also benefit from people voting against the gay guy, sadly. Still, this time tomorrow we’ll either have a queer Idol champion, or a queer Idol superstar. It’s a win-win.

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