By Roz Rogoff
American Idol's Local FavoriteUploaded: May 29, 2011
American Idol ended with young country boy Scotty McCreery declared the winner. Idol was skewed young this year, and the winner and runner up, Lauren Alaina, are both teenagers. Scotty has a nice deep baritone voice but it he needs another four or five years to grow into it. Lauren is the better singer and has more stage presence even though she's a year younger.
The youngest contestant, Thia Megia, auditioned for the show at age 15. Thia has a beautiful, pure voice, but she didn't have the stage presence or showmanship of the older performers, or even Lauren Alaina who is only a year older.
Voters on Idol generally vote on the basis of whom they like and not who is the best singer. Anyone remember Sanjaya Malaker from Season Six? He was 17 then too and lasted until #6 based on the support of speed-dialing teeny boppers.
My favorite in this year's show is Casey Abrams, who was cut at #11, but the judges granted him a save. That meant two contestants would be cut the following week, but because of the save, the final 11 are in the Idol tour instead of the final ten. Naima Adedapo finished 10th and Thia Magia finished 11th. So that's how Thia made it into the Idol tour.
That may not mean much to most readers in San Ramon, but Thia is from Hayward. Yes, our California Hayward. The tour will be in Oakland on July 12th and San Jose on July 13th. I expect half of Hayward to be at one of these two performances to hear their home town girl sing.
American Idol had some weak contestants in the past and even some weak winners. McCreery might go on to a good career in country music, but he's probably not going to be the big star that comes from Idol this year.
I predict Hayley Reinhart will be the big star. She improved with each show, and really listened to the advice she got from the producers, choreographers, and vocal coaches. She's also savvy about the music business, since her father is a musician and based on his appearance on the show in Week Three, he's a pro. So she knows the kind of cut throat business she's getting into.
The new judges, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, didn't provide the level of criticism that some contestants needed. Steven is the new Paula, praising everyone with totally incomprehensible comments. Lopez started out well but wound up praising everyone too, especially Scotty and Lauren, whether they deserved it or not usually not. The biggest disappointment was Randy Jackson, who kept repeating the same phrases over and over, "In it to win it" and "Best performance of the night." What happened to you, Randy?
What the judges did right this season was to select more musically diverse contestants for the top 13. Casey brought jazz and blues to Idol, Pia brought glamour and style, Naima and Paul brought individuality and stage presence, James brought true rock and heavy metal. I'm not a fan of rock or heavy metal, but I liked James a lot. I believe he will be one of the bigger stars from this season of idol.
Thia and Scotty have great potential, but need a few more years to reach it. All of this year's Idols have the potential to be successful in their musical niches, which is more than could be said of Idols in the past.