American Idol 2011 Season Recap

So much for high hopes for this season.

By , Contributor

The show has three weeks or so to go, but frankly I've sort of had enough. Last year's show was excruciating, but I still managed to see all of performance episodes. For about the past three or four weeks I found myself unable to care about anyone besides James Durbin and now that he's gone I'm not sure I can stomach much more than to be a YouTube scanner for the rest of the season.

Who will win: Scotty McCreery has had this thing locked up for weeks. In past years, his decision to not step out of his box would have been debated violently, but this year's judges do nothing but cheerlead for the brand and Scotty wouldn't have done anything different even with four Simon Cowells on the panel.

Who really won: Jennifer Lopez and it's not even close. She got paid big dollars to resuscitate a dead career. Idol may no longer be able to launch hit artists, but the decision to do the show will probably mean at least a hundred million dollars to her over the next few years.  She still can't sing, but with legs like that does it really matter?

Runner up: Steven Tyler. Worst judge ever, but grandmothers across the country fell in love with him. Apparently, the only person he can stand criticizing is his partner Joe Perry. Essentially every single one of his critiques this year was "Bless you!"

Biggest disappointment: For a second during movie week, Scotty was about to sing Harry Nilsson's "Everybody's Talkin'" and from the previews it sounded fantastic. Of course, he switched to yet another bland country song at the last second.

Most excruciating moment: Lauren Alaina really can't get into singing Elvis Presley's "Trouble" because the chorus is "I'm evil." In fact 95% of the song is "I'm evil." Somehow no one could come up with the brilliant idea of choosing perhaps one of Lieber and Stoller's other songs. They've written hundreds and only three others have been chosen, but instead Lauren does her embarrassed to the gills best, which wasn't all that good at all.

Most evil presence: Jimmy Iovene.  Week after week he proved to be the very personification of the stereotype of the evil, out of touch music executive. Each week he managed to be not insightful, not sympathetic, full of clich├ęs, and an all around dick. "If Haley knocks this out of the park it could be a really good week for her, but if she falters she'll have a lot to answer for!" Really? Wow, what insight!

Most idiotic moment: Jimmy Iovene suggesting that Paul McDonald throw some beat box into the middle of Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll" until a thankfully sane pointed out that putting some beat box into a song about "Old Time Rock and Roll" was perhaps the most asinine idea in the history of mankind.

Worst contestant: Paul McDonald made me long for the days of Sanjaya. His idea of dancing was to lean back on one foot and point the other foot up at the audience.

The worst group number in the history of the show:  The first six eliminated contestants (five straight women and Paul) sing Pink's "So What." Paul's solo in the middle shows that his voice is shot, which doesn't really matter much since he can't remember the lyrics. Meanwhile, Naima Adedapo is running around the stage like she's on fire and still can't get on camera, while Pia Toscana epic fails in a last ditch effort to stand out.

Don't cry for Pia: They wanted us to think it was the next snubbing of Jennifer Hudson, when in reality Pia had the charisma of an empty wooden chair.

Don't cry for Casey Abrams: In the sung words of 2007's Leslie Hunt, "Why did I scat? America hates jazz!"

Cry for James Durbin: He was by far the best talent of the year and the one with the strongest voice. He seems like a genuinely nice kid and was taken down by being over pimped and tonally sounding way too much like Adam Lambert (neither of which was really his fault and doesn't take into account his Asperger's).  I honestly don't think that he was too cocky, but that's probably hard to argue when every time he performs there are firecrackers going off and flames shooting out into mid-air like it's a Poison concert from 1987.

Best moment of the year: James Durbin telling Jimmy Iovene to go suck an egg because he was singing Sammy Hagar's "Heavy Metal" whether the mobster-like music executive liked it or not.

Best performance of the year: James Durbin "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow"  - wonderful, rocking, and true to the girl group spirit of the song.

Season Grade: C-

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Brad Laidman has been a freelance writer since 2000. His work has appeared in Film Threat, Perfect Sound Forever, and Rock and Rap Confidential. His defense of The Kinks' Dave Davies so moved the legendary guitarist that Davies labeled Brad his hero and he has the email to prove it.

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