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Thread: AI: Welcome Home TV Special

  1. #1
    FORT Fogey
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    AI: Welcome Home TV Special

    What??? In all the Christmas rush I totally missed the American Idol: Welcome Home TV show last week that featured all nine winners. (Probably because it didn't air in Pittsburgh where I've been spending the holidays.) Did you see it?

    Fortunately you can find it on AmericanIdol.com, and also in two parts (beginning here) on YouTube.

  2. #2
    FORT Fogey
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    Re: AI: Welcome Home TV Special

    This was on prior to the audition show last night on our local Fox network. It was interesting to see the winners, what they are doing now, and their perceptions of their time on AI

  3. #3
    FORT Fogey
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    Re: AI: Welcome Home TV Special

    This was really neat to see all of them together like that. What struck me was how varied the singers were until the last three winners. I wonder what changed in the formula? They all seem to very pleased with their experiences. It was a nice look back

  4. #4
    FORT Fogey
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    Re: AI: Welcome Home TV Special

    I see some common threads in those first six winners. Four of the six were leather-lunged female power vocalists. All from small towns in the south (except Jordin who was from a small town in Arizona). Rueben and Taylor were both from Birmingham Alabama.

    So what happened starting with Season 7? Two things, I think. First, that was the year they allowed contestants to play instruments. That opened the door for a new kind of contestant - the singer / songwriter / musician. Brooke White, David Cook, and Jason Castro wouldn't have had a chance in the early seasons, but they were able to offer a unique and personal take on their material. Even David Archuleta, a much more traditional Idol candidate, showed his musical chops at the piano occasionally. It was suddenly no longer enough to have a big voice. The judges wanted you to take a song and "make it yours". In case anyone missed the change, it was even more apparent in Season 8. Adam Lambert and Kris Allen followed the Cook precedent and delighted judges and viewers with their personal re-interpretations of familiar songs. That left the more traditional Idol singers like Alexis Grace, Lil Rounds and Annop floundering in the conflicting advice they received from the judges.

    The second thing is the influx of young girls that were drawn into the Idol voting pool, first with Sanjaya in Season 6, and then David Archuleta and Jason Castro in Season 7. Synesha Mercado, the third place finisher that year, has told the story in interviews how the girls might get five or six letters a week, while Castro, Cook, and Archuleta would get bags of fan mail daily. Armed with unlimited messaging plans, a new kind of Idol fan was in a position affect the outcome - particularly in the early and mid-season when votes are split between many contestants.

    Of course, both Seasons 7 & 8 put up a lot of talented and interesting guys, while there just wasn't that much competition coming from the girls. From early in those seasons, you knew a guy was going to win - it was just a question of which guy. Season 9, on the other hand, was it's own weird animal. Two really good girls were dropped at the end of the semi-finals, which left a weak set of finalists. For months it looked like Crystal was the only one competing. Then we all know what happened at the end.

    When you look at it, Idol is pretty much in balance by gender. Nine seasons have produced 5 guys and 4 girls as winners.

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