The Lydster, Part 58: American Idol

For the record, Lydia’s first pop concert was Saturday, December 27, 2008 at 3 p.m., featuring American Idol season 6 finalists Blake Lewis, Chris Sligh, and Brandon Rogers, at the Palace Theatre in Albany, NY.

I should note that neither of us had ever seen one minute of season 6 of American Idol, thought I had seen parts of the first five seasons. I think the victory of Taylor Hicks, plus the general meanness factor of the show just turned both my wife (the initial cheerleader for watching Idol) and me off.

Thus, I had no real idea about any of these guys. First up was brief plugs by the sponsors of the show, people apparently not used to being on stage or using a microphone.

Next, Brandon Rogers. I expect the order of their appearance was in reverse order of their results on Idol and I was right. Rogers, who noted that his step-grandmother was from Schenectady, was the first of the Final 12 to be eliminated. He was personable and talented. (In fact, Sligh later said he was surprised how early he had left the competition.) The best performance he played on keyboards about the pain of his injury after Idol and being unable to participate in the post-Idol rush. He also did two breakup pieces. Mostly he sang to a backing track. Altogether he performed seven songs, five of them originals, plus Stevie Wonder’s Superstition. All but the last song, a cover about New Years Eve, were sung well; the final tune was a little, er, pitchy.

Lydia approved. She was dancing around wildly on the uptempo sounds, running up the aisle in front of me and down the one behind me with excitement. We sat far enough back that it should not have impinged on the enjoyment of others.

Chris Sligh, eliminated in the third week of the finals, did only four songs, three on guitar, and the middle of those a silly little ditty about rock stars needing money, after which he plugged his album for sale in the back. He was introduced verbatim from the flier with “it takes a lot to stand out from the cookie-cutter crowd”. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a sense of that from the short set, which ended with him on the keyboards singing a song to his wife of nearly six years, and emphasizing that at nearly 31, he still feels like a kid.

Lydia enjoyed him well enough, especially the silly song.

So BOTH of these guys fell before the infamous Sanjaya Malakar? Interesting. One didn’t need to actually watch Idol to know about Sanjaya.

Finally, there was Blake Lewis, the runner-up to Jordin Sparks. Evidently, he was used to working with cordless equipment because he was having all sorts of difficulties getting set up from song to song. Actually, the first piece wasn’t a song at all, but him playing around on his famous (or infamous) beatbox. It was interesting, for a while, but both Lydia and I got bored. During his second real song, U2’s With or Without You, he layered a bunch of vocals on the system; unfortunately, one or two of them were just a tad flat, so mixing them in a chord made for me an unpleasant experience. Meanwhile, Lydia made the final decision to go, because it was TOO LOUD.

So, in review, Lydia liked it less and less as it went along. Actually, I concurred with her.


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