Soap Opera Weekly: Night Shift 5/22/08

So, David Cook pulled out a victory on AMERICAN IDOL by a healthy 12 million-vote margin. Good for you, “Cookie.” When I heard the results show was going to last two hours, I had only one question: How in the world are they going to fill one hour and 58 minutes? I had to ask…

The Davids are unveiled in white tonight, with nary a boxing glove in sight. Ryan crows that 97.5 million votes were cast, with the winning David garnering a 56 percent majority. (The loser got 44 percent, with nobody undecided.)

The top 10 team up to perform The Temptations‘ “Get Ready,” which I interpret as some kind of threat, but that’s just me.

Speaking of threats, IDOL must have done something to get the Davids to pimp The Love Guru, the new “comedy” from Mike Myers, in which he insults over a billion people by playing Indian culture for laughs. Seriously, it’s 2008 — aren’t we past making fun of foreign customs and accents? Aren’t we all cringing in fear that “Guru Pitka” will be slinging Slushies with that silly accent and inane grin? Archie looks terrified, but Cook does his level best to play along when ordered to visit Pitka at Paramount Studios so Myers can crack some lame jokes — including, but not limited to, “predicting” that the winner will be named “David.” I predict the movie will bomb.

After a break, Syesha comes out singing — and she looks relaxed and sings great. I guess now that the pressure is off she can just have fun singing with Seal. ThenJason Castro uncorks another rendition of Leonard Cohen‘s “Hallelujah.” (Might I suggest you be a rebel: Instead of downloading Jeff Buckley‘s admittedly great cover like everyone else, get Cohen’s original, available on his album Various Positions, which also contains the great song “Dance Me to the End of Love.”) After the Davids do a product placement for Ford, the motor company returns the solid by giving them both Escape Hybrids. Next, the women collaborate on a Donna Summermedley, and then the disco diva herself joins in. And was that host Ryan himself taking a (literal) spin on the dance floor/stage?

Bootees Carly and Michael collaborate on “The Letter,” or so Ryan claims; I couldn’t really tell. Was Carly always so shrill? She sounds like she’s trying to deafen Mariah Carey. Next, self-identified IDOL fan Jimmy Kimmel comes out to riff on the show and contestants. He’s slightly irreverent, so naturally that was my favorite part of the whole night. Then the top guys perform a Bryan Adams medley, including a version of “Summer of ’69” that was so bad Adams himself had to come out to defend his songbook. Jordin Sparks is the daughter of former N.Y. Giants defensive backPhillipi Sparks, but you probably know her as the reigning American Idol. She says she’s living the Idol dream, which she demonstrates means shilling for an Idol theme park at… nah, let them buy an ad if they want to be mentioned here.

Cook gets to perform “Sharp-Dressed Man with ZZ Top, and the song really suits him. (Get it? LOL.) Seriously, Cook should cover that on his forthcoming album. Then Cook’s old music teacher is “interviewed” via satellite from Kansas City, and she makes a crack about how the flowers he gave her during his “journey home” video have died. (You’re welcome, lady.) Brooke White gets to perform with Graham Nash, which must confuse the heck out the Archuleta fans who didn’t know her grandpa could sing. But the generation gap is closed when tween sensations Jonas Brothers perform and set the gals a’screamin’.

Following a montage of the worst auditions — the party line at IDOL is that folks like these are sincere in their hopes of winning, but I insist they are deliberate pranksters just trying to do whatever they can to get on TV. And it works, big-time, as someone called Renaldo, gets to…um, “sing” onstage, accompanied by the USC Trojans band and dancing cheerleaders. Way to encourage them, IDOL…

Thankfully, the pros take over as One Republic joins Archie for a rendition of “Apologize” that works really well. Reigning Idol Sparks comes back to confidently perform a winning number. Another winner: Ben StillerJack Black and Robert(Iron ManDowney Jr. performing as faux-Pips melded into a classic clip of Gladys Knight. Even better: Ryan doesn’t mention that the jokesters are promoting their upcoming comedy, Tropic Thunder.

And then 2004 winner Carrie Underwood starts strutting around the stage. I think she might have been singing or something, but I can’t really be sure, because I was having difficulty focusing on what was coming put of her mouth. The final group sing-along covered the George Michael oeuvre, capped by an appearance from the man himself. (I don’t know about you, but I cannot hear that name anymore without thinking about ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT. Sorry, ELI STONE.) Hey, whattaya know — Michael coincidentally just happens to have a tour coming up. What are the odds?

And then the Earth shifted on its axis: Simon apologized to Cook for being so harsh on his performances the previous night. In fact, the contrite Brit admitted his behavior bordered on disrespect. (Well, Simon did “award” all rounds of the competition to Archie….)

Now it’s time for the moment of truth. In a classy move, Ryan doesn’t pointlessly drag out the drama of the moment. He gets right to the announcement. By a margin of 12 million votes, “David…Cook!” is the winner. Cookie becomes emotional as his mother and brother join him onstage. Then he performs the contest-winning song, which wasn’t half-bad.

Which brings us to the end of our “journey” with IDOL. And I, for one, am glad it’s over. I know most people out there are acolytes of the cult of IDOL, so consider me the Devil’s advocate. But I was not merely taking a position just to appear negative; I really am negative. In the immortal words of Bugs Bunny, “Don’t think it hasn’t been nice — because it hasn’t!”

I’m hoping there’s something else to entertain me on the next Night Shift

Originally posted on Soap Opera Weekly.com

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