Start spreading the news: Frank Sinatra night on American Idol sort of sucked. It’s not Frank Sinatra’s fault. And it’s not guest mentor/composer Harry Connick Jr.’s fault. Really, it’s the producers’ fault. I know people love their standards, and I know they love their Sinatra (my mom excluded), but on a show that’s about finding a current, radio-friendly music star, this seemed like a step in the wrong direction. Some might argue that a night of old fashioned crooning is actually the sort of high-level challenge that the contestants should face this late in the season, and some might also reference that Tony Bennett week from a few seasons back where all the singers did magnificently; however, I’m not buying it. This was a poor choice, and it makes me wonder if the producers have any interest in reaching a young demographic anymore.
Another poor choice by the producers: selecting this crop of contestants. Yeah, I know the responsibility falls squarely on the judges for the top 24, but consider this: first, the producers weed out choices before sending them through to the judges during the first round of auditions. Second, let’s not act as if Ken Warwick & Co. don’t have ANY say in the top 24 selections whatsoever. The point is, this cast has totally failed to capture America’s imagination, and the decline in ratings proves it. A reality show lives and dies by the casting, and this bunch overall lacks impressive talent, charisma, or both. Now, at this point of the game, all the singers left have good voices, and many of them have talent too (Crystal Bowersox, for starters). The charisma factor, however, is still missing. This was evident on Rolling Stones night, Elvis night, and now with Sinatra. There’s just a general lack of swagger with this bunch. Sure, there’s preening (Big Mike) and feistiness (Crystal) and sex appeal (Casey), but no swagger. As a result, Sinatra night was something of a bore, saved only by occasional funny outbursts from Harry Connick, Jr.. Let’s just put this bad boy to sleep and move on to next season. Continue reading