Yes, folks, I got to see the spectacle live and I'd like to share the joy with you, now. I've hemmed and hawed a great deal on how to best describe this once-in-a-lifetime show-for-the-ages. Should I go artist by artist? Highlight by highlight? Or should I just walk you through the entire show giving you a sense that you were actually there?
I sat 5 rows from the stage (the best seats to any concert I've ever attended). To my left, 3 college kids having a good time. Behind me, 3 50-something women out for a night of wild Idol fun. The rest of the stadium? Wild, frenzied kids, mostly ages 6 through 15, screaming at the top of their lungs for two hours. I've been to quite a few concerts in my day and I've never heard anything like this. I now know why The Beatles stopped touring. The Fab Four said the screaming made it pointless to play anything because no one was really listening. The Idols live screams must've been close.
Was this concert "great?" I'm going to say yes ...for what it is, it is great. Cheezy. High energy. And slightly entertaining. And for 8 of the Idol finalists, this will be the coolest damn thing they'll ever do in their lives. Yes, though they don't want to admit it now, in about 4 or 5 years, at least 7 of them will be working in an office and thinking back fondly on the greatest summer of their lives.
Who won't? Blake, Jordin, and maybe Chris Richardson.
The show opened with the Idols' take on the Black Eyed Peas classic "Let's Get it Started." The stadium erupted, some pre-teens passed out (I"m sure), and I'm pretty confident a few 12 year old middle school girls spontaneously combusted - it's an unmistakable smell.
But the show moves quick, no sooner had they "got it started" did they all disappear and then Lakisha and Melinda appeared back on stage with a Motown tribute. Neither had much energy and I can tell they're both still pissed they didn't win. They were joined on stage by Chris Richardson for "I Heard it Through the Grapevine." More on Chris in a bit.
Then came Gina and Side Show Bob - aka Chris Sligh. Side Show Bob hasn't exactly been working out, let's say that. Gina and SSB gave the audience their first "we love Columbus" bit, and it never stopped for the rest of the night. It occurred to me that for these 7 and 8 year olds, this might be their first live concert. So when Sligh mentioned Ohio staples such as Skyline Chili and the Ohio State Buckeyes, these kids probably thought that Columbus, that restaurant, and Ohio State really were the greatest things about the tour. Needless to say, like any concert really, for the rest of the night the mere mention of anything "Ohio" brought the house down. They sang a Fall Out Boy tune together.
Next up, a pants-wearin' Haley. I boo'd like crazy. How dare she wear pants!??!?!?! How ...dare ...she!!! I won't dignify her with a review ...she sang something Country.
Then the stage went dark. Smoke filled the stage. And "Thriller" began pumping through the speakers. Ladies and gentlemen ...I give you ...Sanjaya. Rising up in the middle of the stage was crazy-haired Sanjaya. The screams were deafening. These kids don't see him as a talentless, androgynous, soft voiced guy singing, fittingly, a Michael Jackson song, who only made the top-10 because Howard Stern and VoteForTheWorst kept him alive. No, they see him as a funny, nice boy that Simon was mean to. And he knows it, and he's workin' it. He actually didn't sing "Thriller" but instead sang Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel." It was bad, but nobody seemed to care. Most of all the 50 year olds behind me. They snapped many, many digital photos.
Then a few forgettable performances followed it ...Side Show Bob played guitar (to prove he's not just some singing-only guy ...right). Lakisha, Gina, Haley (in pants) doing "Lady Marmalade." The rest of the concert kinda went like this...
- Jordin and Chris Richardson did an acoustic duo (both playing acoustic guitars).
- Jordin sang a solo.
- Blake beat boxed and sang The Zombies "Time of the Season" (a song from Season 6).
- Blake then explained his loop pedal and beat boxed, acoustic guitar'd, and sang his way through Marron 5's "She Will Be Loved" and rolled into U2's "With or Without U"
- (Everyone learned guitar on the road, apparently)
- Blake then did a two minute beat-box solo and electronicatalked the word "Ohio" into it. The crowd went ape-shit.
- Baldy sang "America the Beautiful" backed up by the gals ...and we finally saw some leg. I cheered!
- The boys then all gathered as the Idol band to (a) once again try and prove they actually have talent and (b) to get crazy screams. Baldy played keyboard, Side Show Bob and Blake played guitar, Sanjaya played tamborine (ok, he's not trying to prove to anyone he has talent), and Chris Richardson played drums. They sang Gnarl's Barkley's "Crazy". It wasn't bad. Then it got bad. They decided to flow that into The Beatles "Hey Jude." But something went horribly wrong. These pre-teens and teens didn't even know the song. I'm not kidding. And when it got to the most obligatory audience participation part of any song ever, no one in the audience really knew what to do ...I sang "na, na, na, na-na-na-na" ...but I was one of only a few.
- Gina sang something by Pink. She was boring and I could tell she would rather not be on tour.
- Chris and Blake performed a duet of Bill Wither's "Ain't No Sunshine" ...yes, Chris, again.
- The Chris and Blake duo then did a beat-box-off and then a Jamiroquai duet. Yes. Still Chris.
- Lakisha brought the house down (I guess) with Whitney's "I Will Always Love You."
- Chris got a solo and did a two-song Maroon 5 medley (the Idols really like Maroon 5).
- Baldy reprised his version of "Blaze of Glory"
- A trio of girls and Chris performed "Life is a Highway" ...no legs. More boo'ing from me.
- Jordin showed up, finally, wearing a Buckeyes jersey. She did not get the cheers I would expect of the winner. Blake and Chris (and even Sanjaya) got ear piercing screams all night ...Jordin didn't. She's a great singer, but lack charisma.
- Doolittle solo'd "Natural Woman."
- FINALLY saw legs ...and they were awesome!!! I guess she sang with three other girls and I guess they might have sung something by Christina Aquilera ...I was watching leg.
But ...oh no ...not so fast. Queue the banshies. I'm not kidding ...I had to cover my ears. And they all came back. Woo hoo! Jordin sang her hit single "This is My Now" (I'm going to write the finale song next year, darn it ...that song sucks!). And then something crazy happened ...everyone came out and sang 30-seconds of the songs they'd already sung in the show. The worst encore I've ever seen. The only good part was that Haley was showing leg.
And that wrapped up the evening. For 16,000 pre-teens and teens, it was a night they'll never forget, though many of the 10 year old boys I saw clapping, singing, dancing, and cheering will someday deny they were ever there. Say what you want about it, but we American's love and need this kind of cheeze in our lives.
PREDICTION: Chris Richardson will have the biggest music career, followed by Blake. Jordin, sadly, won't. Chris was everywhere and was actually quite good.
PREDICTION #2: I'll definitely go to another Idols show in the future
PREDICTION #3: I look awesome in my Blake Lewis shirt ...yes ...I bought it. It's awesome.