Thursday, May 11, 2006

Daughtry Downer

Chris Update 2--4:45pm Thursday--Internet traffic now says two members of the band Fuel will appear on the TV show Extra to officially ask Chris to front their band. Apparently he's talked to them before about the possibility...and is interested...but published comments today indicate he's not committed to anything at this point. Apparently, he's said there are a number of offers that have been floated...and he wants to take his time to consider them. He also says because he writes music...he likely would prefer a solo career. No matter what he decides, it's apparent that, more so than most previous Idol contestants, Chris has already built up a great fan base and will have a number of lucrative options to choose from.

Also--Apparently the American Idol producers have been flooded with angry fans who claim they couldn't get through on the toll-free numbers assigned to Chris last night to vote for him. Many are screaming for a re-vote..and are angry at Chris's demise. It does seem funny that there isn't a better system set up for voting. When one person can speed-dial for two hours to vote for their favorite as many times as they doesn't make for a fair process. A better idea would be to allow one call per person...and allow them to vote for their top three favorites. Of course, Cingular is one of the sponsors of the show and probably hauls in tons of loot by keeping the phone lines, don't expect that to happen.

Chris Update--1:45pm Thursday-- Rumor making the internet rounds this afternoon. Chris will be officially offered the lead singer job with the band Fuel. A radio station in Fresno is reporting that it will be announced by a member of the group on Access Hollywood tonight.
-First, let me apologize to those of you who aren't really into American Idol. I'll admit I'm much more into it than any guy in his mid-50's should be. The fact that I'm watching these shows in lieu of Cardinal games, or doing something productive, is scaring me. But, hey, from what I read, I'm in the company of about 35 to 40 million other Americans every week. So, I guess the straight-jacket can wait.

So, I get up this morning and I have this "mud in my belly" feeling that you get when something terrible (like we all had on 9/11) has happened. As soon as I clear the sleep from my eyes, and cobwebs from my head, I realize I can't get over the fact that Chris Daughtry got eliminated on last night's show. Daughtry, for those who don't know, was favored by most to win the competition because of his powerful, clear and versatile voice, and stage presence...particularly with rock songs.

Here's why I'm taking this so personally. Chris (top photo) bears a striking resemblance, or vice versa, to my oldest son Ian (bottom photo). All of our family, including his mother, agrees there's a likeness. Ian, like Chris, shaves his head as part of his personna. They are similar in build. Ian also is musically gifted, plays the guitar, loves rock music, and is almost exactly the same age as Chris. Ian moved away from our home last fall to start a life in Colorado...and I miss my first-born buddy very much. Chris's performances have been as close to seeing Ian as I've been able to get for the last 8 months. Obviously, because of the Ian "connection", I invested more emotion in Chris's success on the show than the average viewer. So, when Ryan Seacrest made last night's shocking announcement, it was almost like a death in the family. Almost.

Analysis--I gave the "Daughtry surprise" a little bit of thought after the show...and here's my bottom line again this year. AI is not a singing or performing contest...(I wrote something exactly like this last season)'s a popularity contest. It's also becoming obvious (i.e.- Bo Bice last year) that if you are a rock performer, you had better show more "softness" in your personality because people who perform more generic material will appeal to a larger voting base. If you are seen by the millions of fans of this show as tough, strong, and confident, (exactly what good rock performers do) you will not get the "likeability factor" votes that you will need to win.

This was all painfully obvious with last night's result. Elliott is the little underdog that everybody likes. Taylor is the somewhat goofy and self-deprecating, "I'll-do-anything-to-appeal" type that everybody likes. And, Katharine is the beautiful, smiling, girl-next-door type that everybody also likes. They're all good performers. They're just not on the level of Chris...the way I see it. Obviously, being someone on stage that is likable is the key factor in this whole competition. Chris was, but not at the level he needed to win. I'm guessing he really lacked support from the over-40 population, the non-rock oriented population, and those who thought he had it sewn up.

Chris was inspired to try out for the American Idol competition by two things. He wanted to make it big to support his wife and step-child. And, he saw Bo Bice have success as a rock performer on last year's show. He could have learned more from Bo's experience and tried a little harder to show a softer and huggable side. I thought one key early for Chris was the bio that showed his wife and step-child adoring him and his effort to provide a life better than what they had. That put him in the category of "real person". As the competition went on, I think many viewers lost sight of that and just saw the "hard edge" rocker on stage.

In looking around on the net after the show last night, I learned that Chris has already...according to a Randy Jackson statement from over two months ago...been offered a chance to be the new lead singer for the group Fuel (photo at right). This group has had two platinum-selling CD's, and since it's birth in Harrisburg PA in the late 90's has been extremely successful. Their website does acknowledge that they are looking for a new lead singer, and that they have been impressed with Chris, particularly his performance of one of their songs, Hemorrhage, on an earlier AI show.

So, it appears that Chris, and his family, will be just fine, if not fabulously successful, whichever direction he decides to go with his music. And, even though Ian doesn't care one bit about American Idol, (He reminded me of that on the phone last night), he is enjoying life tremendously in Colorado. So, I'll be all right too....eventually.

But, this year's American Idol will once again not be the most talented of the group.

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