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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Katharine McPhee Vs Taylor Hicks on American Idol Finale Tonight


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When the beauty queen who sings like a dream went up against the the next in line for Elvis' throne, in the American Idol grand finale last night, who did I vote for?

I've always been a sucker for pretty eyes. I also love 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow".

I also took into account total appeal and long term possibilities, and picked, after at least a little agonization, Katharine McPhee to get my votes, as she did the last three weeks. Maybe four weeks.

She did make some major mistakes last night. Her opening number was a poor choice to compete against Hicks and his powerful "Soul Patrol" style which admittedly proved he would be a great idol winner and I look forward to hearing his records for years to come.

The same is true for Kat McPhee. She has the disadvantage of being younger and less experienced than bar singer Hicks. But her talent, though still a little uneven is staggering when she pulls it all together as she did last night with "Over the Rainbow" which was for her what "Summertime" was for Fantasia Barrino last season.

Fantasia's first performance of "Summertime" last Season, was one of the most powerful and moving dramatic performances I have ever seen on television.

Had McPhee used one of her stronger country numbers as an opener, something more well known, she might well have done better.

However, the psychology of voting may be different than it first appears.

We have to skip people who have phone banks an computers to do their dialing for them. It is assumed that they either cancel each other out or can be detected by the phone company and eliminated. This may be and invalid assumption, but if it was a factor, it would have been present last week when the vote was a virtual dead heat 3-way tie with tenths of percentage points between the candidates.

A large group of interested viewers might vote once or twice to get their vote in, but how many would vote as often as possible without stopping, just by hitting re-dial on their phones? And how worried are they that their candidate might lose to make them feel that their votes are urgently needed?

This is the crux of the voting dilemma.

Based on my own experiments with a standard GE 900 mhz portable phone I found that if I pressed re-dial immediately after hearing Kat start to say "Thank you for voting for me..." that my phone would start an immediate re-dial process that made it possible to call in a maximum of 6.6 to 7 times a minute, 240 minutes, allowing a theoretical maximum 1680 votes from a one-line household and an inexpensive phone.

However, to actually perform the maximum number of votes would require more concentration than I had last night. You make mistakes when trying to vote in while watching the season finale of "House", or a rented copy of "Scary Movie". Yes, a few scenes in that film can cause the fingers to slip...

But I was astonished at how many calls I seemed to be getting in and how easy it was to get into a pattern where, without thinking much, I was getting in a good 6 calls a minute. But boy are my thumbs tired.

If Taylor's crazed fans think he had it in the bag and did not do what I did last night, and Kat's fans terrified that she blew it, called for four solid hours straight as I did, she may pull off a surprise victory.

Last night the Idol Promoters mentioned that Kat was singing her debut single, obviously a winning anthem theme as was Taylor's but no album was mentioned for him. Why was this? Does she already have a contract that I missed out on?
So Katharine, Good luck. In less than an hour now I learn your fate.

I have so much enjoyed your singing. And I have the feeling we will be seeing a lot more of you in the future one way or the other. If nowhere else, on magazine covers for the next 15 years.

But I hope that we will be hearing you and Taylor both for some years to come.

Just a little bit too old for Idol according to the rules

UPDATE: As the world knows now, Taylor Hicks and the Soul Patrol won American Idol. While I was not surprised, it was a little too easy to dial in for Katharine, I have to say I enjoyed very much listening to him and watching him perform too.

Some have predicted that Kat will disappear into the mists of obscurity, somehow, I don't think so. Watch this space.


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