by Kim Grams
The problem with being a junkie is that you want to quit, but you can’t. American Idol in a lot of ways has gotten predictable, clichéd, and boring. It’s still the number one show, but a lot of people don’t watch anymore – especially in the younger demographic. I always think I’ll quit watching, and then end up watching anyway.
I had an article already written giving you the week-by-week playbook; it just needed the stuff from the finale and it would be already to go. But I’m ditching it at the last minute to bring you the following instead . . .
Why Season 7 Was the Best Season in a Very Long Time
Everyone was not the same:
By the time we were down to the top 8, there were still 3 rockers (Michael, Carly, David Cook), two folksy singers (Jason and Brooke), one who was perpetually in the bottom 2 but didn’t go home (whom I originally hated, but came to respect – Miss Kristy Lee Cook), a power vocalist (Syesha), and a teen wunderkind (David Archuleta).
Even though it started to become clear that it would be a David vs. David finale, there were still many moments that made the season exciting. Starting with “Idol Gives Back” week, here’s my Top 10.
Moment 1 (Inspirational songs):
Jason Castro bought a ukulele for a Hawaiian version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. That kind of thing is either a disaster or brilliant. It was the latter – and to me one of the best moments of the season.
Moment 2 (Idol Gives Back):
All the secular journalists complained, but the group song for the results show was “Shout to the Lord”. A lot of the singers chose songs that name-checked God this season, and Dolly Parton sang “Jesus and Gravity”, but I would LOVE to know how it came to be that the Idol finalists sang a song about Jesus.
Moment 3 (Andrew Lloyd Webber week):
Syesha’s “One Rock and Roll Too Many”, which is still in my mind weeks later, showed her star quality and launched her toward her top 3 finish.
Moment 4 (Andrew Lloyd Webber week):
David Cook’s “Music of the Night”. I’ve pretty much loved everything he did since “Hello” in the semi-finals, and he’s the one I wanted to win it, but this was so beautiful it made me cry (and if you follow my articles you know that I reserve crying for something really awful that happens and episodes of Extreme Home Makeover). I’ve seen and heard multiple versions of Phantom of the Opera on stage, screen and recording; I’ve never heard it better. He’s known as rocker David, but this time, he just sang it straight from the heart – it was magical.
Moment 5 (Neil Diamond week):
This is where the lines were clearly drawn in the battle of the Davids. David Archuleta sang “Sweet Caroline” and “America” and David Cook sang rocked up versions of “I’m Alive” and “All I Really Need Is You”. It’s going to come down to what KIND of Idol you want: traditional, ballad singer or innovative rocker? And the question I’ve been asking myself all season is CAN a rocker WIN American Idol.
Moment 6 (Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame week):
Not all surprising moments are good. When Simon asked Jason what he was thinking when he chose to sing “I Shot the Sheriff”, Jason said, “I was thinking Bob Marley”. He also sang “Tambourine Man”, during which he botched the words. Just before he was eliminated, Jason admitted that a fan had told him that he’d Shot the Tambourine man! Classic.
Moment 7 (Hall of Fame week):
Once again, would you like American Idol lite (David Archuleta’s “Stand By Me” and “Love Me Tender”) or with a kick (“Hungry Like the Wolf” and “Baba O’Riley” by David Cook).
Moment 8 (Producer’s Choice):
David Archuleta sang “Longer”. I had hideous ‘70’s wedding flashbacks. Nuff said.
Moment 9 (Judge’s Choice?):
For Syesha, Randy picks the kind of song that the judges always say NOT to pick – a current hit by a top artist. He then goes on to say, “That’s why you’re standing here at number 3!” – not IN the top 3. Uh, could we please VOTE first?
Moment 10 (Judges, Contestants, Producer’s Choice):
Of the three songs David Cook sang (which were all phenomenal) the one that stuck with me was his own choice, “I Dare You to Move”. I haven’t wanted anyone to win this badly since the Ruben/Clay smack down (I’m still mad that Clay didn’t win).
David vs. David:
Other than the stupid boxing theme, this was one of the better finals in recent memory. They both sang really well; neither one clearly took the night. (Simon called it for Archuleta, but after viewing the TV playback, declared it too close to call). It all comes down to personal preference for type of artist and musical style.
The Finale Rocked!
Usually the finale is 2 hours of stuff you could care less about. This year had great duets and groupings. The 2 Davids sang “Hero” – brilliant (they should put THAT on a CD). Syesha sang with Seal. The Top 6 girls sang with Donna Summer! Carly and Michael Johns did a fantastic duet (they should hook up and form their own super group). The top 6 guys did a Bryan Adams tribute – with Bryan Adams! Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, David Cook jammed with ZZ Top. Brooke did a pitch-perfect duet of “Teach Your Children Well” with Graham Nash. David A. sang with One Republic, another good pairing. Carrie Underwood’s “Last Name” was hot. The night ended with the Top 12 doing George Michael medley – and a solo by George Michael!
Maybe my age is showing here – I loved Donna Summer, Bryan Adams, ZZ Top and George Michael back in the day. Maybe I’m predisposed to liking this finale. But the celebs chosen really DID match up with the Idols well.
And then, the most amazing thing happened. The Rocker, David Cook, WON American Idol. By 12 MILLION VOTES!!! My faith in the American Idol voters is restored. Turns out us rock fans CAN out-vote a bunch of tweens on speed-dial. And even better – MY tweens – ages 10 and almost 12 are now David Cook, rock n’ roll fans. Time to get out some CD’s (and cassette tapes – if they even still work) and teach them some tunes this summer. Class is back in session!
Yes, American Idol, Season 7 was full of surprising moments. In the Divine Service we have recently been hearing about the greatest surprising moments: God-in-the-flesh dying for us, and the tomb vacated by our Risen Savior. Surprising moments continued for Mary Magdalene, the Emmaus disciples, and others seeing the Resurrected Lord. Now the amazing ascension and the miracle of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost are joyous surprises ringing in our ears.
The Easter Season’s winners are more than the toss up between which David you like. The winners are you, and me, and all of the people who are baptized into Christ. We have survived the judgment of sin, death, and the devil. We have been made righteous! Our sins are removed! That is the most surprising thing for the world – we are redeemed and will join in the resurrection!
As you enjoy the surprising moments of this life, take time to ponder and celebrate God’s surprising moments for you! Amen.
Kim Grams is a writer and pastor’s wife who lives in Scottsbluff, NE. A dancer and an avid reality TV viewer, she has also written Diary of An American Idol Junkie, Diary of An American Idol Junkie - Volume 2, and Diary of An American Idol Junkie - Volume 3
Created: May 23rd, 2008