American Idol - Gay Idol Journal, "Live At The Finale"
By Reality TV World staff, 06/02/2004
Thought Larry Johnson's Gay Idol Journal commentary was over just because American Idol's season was over? Think again -- Reality TV World arranged for Larry to attend American Idol's live season finale, where he wrote his own unique commentary on the finale.
As you may have read in Part One of this series, ‘THE RED CARPET’ (OR ‘WHERE OLD IDOLS GO TO PIMP THEMSELVES OUT’) your intrepid Idol-obsessed arbiter of all-things-Diva attended the American Idol 3 Finale last week, and has much to say about the events onstage and backstage. In Part Two, I will discuss the actual on-stage production, the part that was taped live, as the pre-recorded crap was not seen by me that night, nor does it have any actual value for either me or anyone else for that matter (though I would like to mention that Kim Caldwell’s corn-yellow-hair and drill-sergeant interviewing style were both truly frightening.)
What follows is this event as seen through my somewhat dusty-rose-colored glasses. It is not intended to be a truthful representation of what actually happened, I’d say it’s more ‘historical fiction.’ If you prefer your history ‘documentary’ style, perhaps you should discontinue reading now before you have your hopes mangled into unrecognizable pieces, not unlike the contestants on ‘The Swan.’
Disclaimers asides, and without further ado, Part Two in the series:
‘THE FINALE,’ (OR ‘SOMEONE GOT PAID GOOD MONEY TO SHOP FOR YELLOW AND WHITE POLYESTER.’)
The moment AI1 also-ran Tamyra Gray began wailing an off-key version of The Star Spangled Banner, wearing a shapeless green chiffon tablecloth, I knew we were in for a long evening of tuneless singing, Wal Mart production values, and more fashion errors than you would find in David Arquette’s closet.
Yet the first production number, ‘Impossible Dream,’ performed by the past AI winners Kelly Clarkson and Ruben Studdard, along with this year’s finalists Diana DeGarmo and Fantasia Burrino, was surprisingly safe. Diana wore a tasteful black suit, Fantasia wore a black halter vest and slacks, and Ruben (looking as big as a house) wore a nice black tux shirt and pants. Only Kelly, who wore a black suit over a black rhinestone-encrusted bra and matching belly-button ring, earns a Fashion Citation for this number.
Ms. Clarkson continued in a string of fashion blunders, singing ‘Beautiful Disaster’ in an outfit that can be described using only one of the song titles’ words (and to be clear, I don’t mean ‘Beautiful.’) This Greek-inspired lime green chiffon creation, with bizarre fuzzy floral appliqué, looked like a costume for a third-rate high school production of Midsummer Night’s Dream. In addition, Kelly, who is by no means a heavy girl, looked especially plump. Thankfully, girl can SANG, and so the audience was able to overlook this Citation-worth moment.
But it was impossible to overlook the spectacle that followed, as the AI3 finalists took the stage in a medley which saluted this-seasons’ guest judges. Frighteningly enough, they were all clad in casual ensembles comprised of white and lemon yellow cotton, polyester, or some combination of the two. All I kept thinking was… that someone got paid good money to shop for these yellow and white monstrosities. Even a Fashion novice knows that pastel yellow is a difficult color for a majority of the population, and truthfully only Jasmine was able to pull it off, looking sexy in a tight shirred top. Others, like Jennifer who looked huge in a white polyester suit, and JPL who looked as-gay-as-they-come in a tight rainbow T-shirt and tight white jeans, were not so fortunate. In fact, the numerous errors would be too many to detail here. Suffice it to say I covered my eyes for much of this sequence. (I actually watched more of the beating scene in Passion of the Christ than I was able to stomach here.)
There was a highlight to this number, however, when I briefly was able to put the horror of their attire behind me, as La Toya, Fantasia and Jennifer came together to sing a glorious version of “I Made It Through the Rain,” further cementing my notion that these were the true final three (despite the way fickle America voted.
Ruben took the stage again next, wearing a black pinstripe shirt-jacket, black slacks, and a black T-shirt emblazoned with the huge face of Luther Vandross. All things considered, not a horrible ensemble, given the limited choices for a man his size. That being said, singing another tedious song from his tedious album, swaying haphazardly, and sweating profusely as always, Ruben hardly lit up the stage. (This was the best from last year?)
Next we were treated to ‘last chance’ performances by Diana and Fantasia, prior to the announcement of the winner. Diana first performed the Official American Idol 3 single, ‘Believe,’ a cliché-filled number written by ‘songwriter?’ Tamyra Grey. (At this moment, the observant viewer already knew that Diana would be the runner-up tonight. After all, they would no doubt be saving the Official Single for the last number of the evening, sung by the winner. I immediately turned to the person next to me at this moment and said: “I guess this means Fantasia won.” Lo and behold, I was right.) Diana unfortunately looked like the side of a barn in her all-white ensemble. To be fair, most people simply can’t wear white. (Her wavy hair, though, with its new dark chunky low-lights, was a hit.)
Fantasia fared somewhat better in her all-white ensemble, as she took the stage to sing the B-side single, “Dreams,” an unmemorable ballad which she ended with the words ‘yeah, yeah, yeah,’ as she has done with nearly every song she performed this season. In her white halter vest and wide-leg white tuxedo pants, she actually looked pretty darn good. In fact, the only area of her body which was widened by the white material was her ass, on which one could no doubt show a movie quite successfully. Letterboxed. (Thankfully, the current trend toward extreme ‘bootyliciousness’ favors Fantasia here.)
Thankfully, the white ensembles didn’t last long, as Fantasia and Diana changed into Black ensembles for the remainder of the program. Again, Fantasia fared better, in a classy black tuxedo. Diana, on the other hand, receives a Fashion Citation for the tight black one-shouldered gown, trimmed with rhinestone fringe, that she was stuffed into like a sausage. Hopefully, now that this is all over, Diana can better control the stress-binging that has caused her to gain a few pounds. She’s a beautiful girl who is still very young and no doubt undergoing many chemical and hormonal issues. In no time she may well be a bombshell. (Also, hopefully, she can find a new stylist… because the Fox/American Idol stylists appear to hate her.)
Of course, the rest of the program is AI history. Fantasia was crowned the American Idol. Diana seemed somewhat relieved. Fantasia gave a flawed but gritty and emotional performance of ‘Believe.’ And the credits rolled as all of the finalists crowded Fantasia hoping to get the last few minutes of camera time before their all of their primetime TV careers were over.
I, on the other hand, hurried to the pressroom where I was poised to ask the questions American was burning to have answered. Things like: “Did you have any input over what you wore on the show, and why didn’t you ever say: ‘Oh my god, I am sooo not wearing that?!’”
The questions, and their subsequent answers, will all be part of the third in my three part series of articles on the American Idol Three Finale, 'THE AFTERMATH,' (OR 'WHO DID TAMYRA BLOW TO GET THIS GIG?') Look for it later this week!
There are certainly some who will scoff at my use of shallow, surface attributes to judge our Idol Finalists. I say, to those who scoff, they can all kiss my tanned, hairless, Stairmaster-toned a$$.
Larry Johnson is a comedy writer, currently working for Disney TV. Look for his weekly commentary from a gay point of view. Please check out his website, http://www.gaycomedyjournals.com/