Out of tune

Bo and Carrie don't quite have American Idol nerves yet, do they? Something must explain how out of tune they were singing in the final showdown. Yikes. The judges only called them on it once or twice (Randy refers to it as "pitchy" and while Simon blames their nerves).

I do think the right two made the final (even though neither's music really grabs me). I gave Bo the edge up until the final. Maybe Carrie was a bit less off in the final, so if late performance counts for more, she'll be the next Idol with a country rock album hitting stores sometime in the fall this year. In the studios, any pitchiness can be corrected by pushing a few knobs and sliders.

The show itself needs little tweaking to remain a ratings monster. They'll continue to let a few disasters through to Randy, Paula, and Simon to record a long bloopers reel. Add a dose each of Seacrest cheesiness, Randy's "yo dawgs" and double Spiderman webslinging hand signals, Paula's constant battle with lunacy, and Simon's honest and accurate feedback (always booed as mean-spirited by everyone else in the auditorium). Toss in a huge group of aspiring singers, most of whom sound like local karaoke champions, and ensure that one finalist has some skeleton in the closet. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The other big reality finale of the evening was The Contender. Why is the winner still called the contender? Shouldn't they be called the champion? Seeing the show live reveals just how much editing does for not just this show but reality TV in general. The audio production on this finale was just awful. Sound dropouts, murky dialogue, uneven sound levels...this was The Contender without makeup. I missed the subtitles during the closeups of each corner between rounds. The final interview with the winner, Sergio, was nearly drowned out by a loop of the Contender theme song by Hans Zimmer. It sounded like a record skipping. Al Trautwig was joined at the commentary table by Sly Stallone and Sugar Ray Leonard, both inexperienced color men, and it showed. They spent most of the fight pre-selling a rematch ("This is the fight of the year!" "We have to see a rematch!"). Those two were more entertaining when they were out in the audience, oohing and aahing and shadowboxing. Bring in the real boxing color men.

The fight was shown in its entirety, but thankfully it was an action-packed punchfest so the lack of editing wasn't missed as much. I did yearn for the occasional slow-mo replay on key punches. If there is a season two, and I hope there is, these are things they can improve upon. They should also improve upon the challenges.