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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The inaugural "American Idol" Punishment Pool

Last week, Channel Surfing wrote of its hate filled relationship with "American Idol" while philosophically pondering whether it was our duty to write about TV's top rated show now that Milwaukee native Danny Gokey is an early front runner.

Believe it or not, it's perfectly within our right to not cover "Idol," and for the most part, we've stuck with that guiding principle since none of our bloggers are even remotely interested in Paula Abdul's weekly gush-a-thon.

But we also love a good challenge. Even better, we love to torture each other.

So, in an effort to broaden our horizons and come down from our lofty TV perch -- truthfully, it took some heavy convincing to get all of us on board with this project -- we're initiating Channel Surfing's first ever "American Idol" Punishment Pool.

It's the anti-"Idol" contest for a group of anti-"Idol" writers. Plus, it allows us to cover the show on our terms -- not that smug Simon Cowell's or that douchey Ryan Seacrest's.

The rules are simple: Our four "Top Chef" enthusiasts -- Thomas, MJ, Adam and Sara -- are entering a bizarro-style Power Rankings contest of epically awful proportions. Earlier today, each blogger picked one of 11 "Idol" finalists from a hat. Of the four singers selected, whoever has the highest ranked contestant on's weekly Power Poll following Wednesday's results show will be forced to watch the following Tuesday's "Idol" telecast and write about it for Channel Sufring.

If a chosen finalist gets booted from the show, the corresponding blogger is rewarded with a one week reprieve before choosing a new finalist at random. This will continue for the remainder of the show, with each blogger bound to one basic rule: to watch is to be punished.

Also, befitting "Idol," mediocrity is the safest bet in a contest that will likely play out as a slow, slow death for all. Make no mistake, our bloggers will be rooting for his or her singer to be merely adequate in an attempt to stay out of the weekly line of fire. Our true hope is that someone (ahem, Adam, ahem) gets stuck writing about the show every single week.

So, here we go: your "American Idol" Punishment Pool singers (with EW ranking and comments provided). Whew. Thankfully we've all been spared "Grand Ole Opry" week ...

Thomas -- Scott MacIntyre (No. 10); It's a problem that his good-natured semifinal high-five with Ryan has proven far more memorable than his low-wattage renditions of ''Mandolin Rain'' and the obscure "Keep the Faith" during Michael Jackson week. Sad to say, but I'm getting sleepy just writing this paragraph.

Malavika -- Lil Rounds (No. 7); No doubt she's got stage presence and a powerful set of pipes, but hasn't exhibited much in the way of originality, and even hit a few wonky notes on her cover of "The Way You Make Me Feel." Needs a breakout performance in the next two weeks, or she might have to rely on a "Judges' Save" to crack the top 5.

Adam -- Matt Giraud (No. 6); Nailed "Who's Lovin' You" during Wild Card week (even if it was a little riff-rific), but his followup of "Human Nature" was more of a mixed bag. Sure, he got to show off his nice, bluesy tone (sorry to slip into Kara-speak there), but the falsetto runs at the end caused flashbacks to his semifinal "Viva La Vida." Scare-ois!

Sara -- Michael Sarver: (No. 8); Looked like the weakest link heading into Michael Jackson week, but his "You Are Not Alone" was on pitch and heartfelt, if not particularly electrifying. Says he's not a country singer, but his Texas drawl is a better fit for Grand Ole Opry week than most of his competitors, and that may be enough to get him to the Idol Tour.

-- Channel Surfing

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