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And then there were three





SOUNDS FAMILIAR
By BABY A. GIL





The songs sounded so simple when being performed by the Bee Gees. So I thought that the American Idol (AI) edition featuring Barry Gibb as mentor would be a breeze. I was wrong.


 
 

The Philippine Star

The songs sounded so simple when being performed by the Bee Gees. So I thought that the American Idol (AI) edition featuring Barry Gibb as mentor would be a breeze. I was wrong. Save for Jordin Sparks, who did To Love Somebody and A Woman in Love, the remaining finalists turned in less than stellar performances. They were not bad, just plain blah.

This is very much in keeping with what I noticed as the competition at AI progressed this year. The finalists were good and mostly consistent with their work but did not make for interesting viewing. The show has in fact become predictable. Although the search is about the best singers, it is a fact that viewers want excitement like seeing country girls change into Cinderellas like Carrie Underwood did or underdogs emerge from the shadows like what happened to Taylor Hicks.

Predictably, we knew Lakisha Jones was going to exit last week, the way we knew that Chris Richardson and Phil Stacey would go two weeks ago. If everything stays true to form, Blake Lewis will be the next to go and Jordin Sparks and Melinda Doolittle will slug it out in the finals. No suspense there at all.

My money is on Jordin who at 17 has youth going for her. She is the pick of the litter this year. Melinda and Blake are already assured of good starts in their careers, but Jordin has all those years ahead of her to become a really big star. Still if Melinda wins, well and good because Idol is a singing contest and Melinda is a good singer. If Blake wins, that is OK too because he sings well and is a true original.

But can you imagine the excitement we would be having now if Sanjaya Malakar were still in the race? He was no good singer but he did make for interesting viewing in lots of ways.

Sanjaya is doing great

Sanjaya update. He was bumped out the week before Idol Cares special, so he was not in it. That does not mean though we will not be seeing anymore of the hair-raising teenager who nearly rewrote American Idol history. What if he had won? Would that have spelled the end of the reality show?

Anyway, Sanjaya is now a celebrity and all the fans he won while competing at Idol would be glad to know he is very busy and very much-talked about like a true teen idol.

He is very active in the talk show circuit. He was in The Late Show with David Letterman, Good Morning America, The Ellen Degeneres Show and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He has appeared in Nickelodeon and might soon have guest spots on Hannah Montana and other shows. Then there is also the Idol tour which will visit over 50 cities in Canada and the US. You can bet Sanjaya will be one of the most popular among the finalists.

Sanjaya is now also learning how to live with the tabloids. Aside from being written about everywhere, he has had to deny the allegation that he is gay. It has also been revealed that his mother once served time for farming marijuana at home. This boy must come from a very interesting family.

Given all the attention, there is no reason why Sanjaya cannot become a star. Would you believe that should his American dream fizzle out, stardom will still be waiting for him on the other side of the world? He is said to have already received big money offers from producers in India. Bollywood also wants Sanjaya!

Incidentally, Paris Bennett, one of the finalists in the fifth season of Idol, will soon release her first album. She was the 17-year-old who looked like a cute doll but was too tutored and too mechanical in her performances. Well, it now seems that she is also launching her own career.

The CD from Paris brings to seven the number of Idol finalists from last year who have recorded their own albums. This is great. Market interest in the contestants was once focused solely on the winner and the runner-up. Think Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken. Or only on the winner. That’s why nobody remembers Diana DeGarmo who lost to Fantasia two years ago.

But times have changed and we now have finalists also doing well in their careers like Chris Daughtry, Katharine McPhee, Kellie Pickler, Elliott Yamin and Bucky Covington. Coincidentally they are all from the batch of 2006, which was won by Hicks. Who’s next? Ace Young perhaps.


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