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'Idol' Banter: Amanda after my own heart

March 20, 2008 |  2:29 am


It’s a bit of a shame, but no big shock that Amanda Overmyer got the stiletto tonight. She’s a strong flavor, even for rock, and to be a Top 10 “Idol” you need to be more versatile –- or less passionately yourself, depending on how you view it. Sadly, she’ll now likely discover just how hard it is to make it as a woman in the hard rock mainstream. Or maybe she’ll have the good sense to take some time and regroup, find a band she loves, and get out there on a tour with Donita Sparks or the Donnas.

“It’s fine, it’s fine,” she said to the one who should have lost –- vapid Kristy Lee Cook, whose utter nothingness we’ll now have to endure on the “Idol” tour –- as Ryan read her fate. The future will be fine for Amanda. She clearly belongs to a music community back home, and if she never makes it out of the Indiana bars, she’ll still have a good decade of playing out. I’ll look for her next year at Austin’s South by Southwest music festival, where the real rockers go. And if she decides to hang up her leather pants, she always has nursing. I’ve known a few indie musicians who’ve turned to that profession after poor became boring.

With the show’s one genuinely individualistic vocalist gone, “Idol” can fulfill its yearly mandate of stressing pop’s smorgasbord appeal. The demographic spread is almost gratingly neat. Check out the candy box:

• Two mature-sounding R&B-rooted crooners, Chikezie and Syesha
• Two teen idols, David Archuleta and Jason Castro
• Two versatile international rockers, Irish lass Carly Smithson and Aussie Michael Johns (methinks America’s showing its jingoism by putting Carly in the bottom three this week –- or maybe it’s that husband of hers. Face tattoos do put some people off.)
• Two questionable cutie pies, Kristy Lee Cook and Ramiele Malubay (I still have hope for Ramiele though, especially after her off-the-cuff comment about digging R. Kelly –- get sexy, girl!)
• Two fake individualists, Brooke White and David Cook

Given this effortlessly categorizable bunch, where’s the drama? One can only hope the demons that have begun to peek out from under the collars of certain contestants get a chance to emerge and kill or be killed.

Carly’s dark Irish pessimism, which burst through again last week when she compared herself to a bird with a broken wing, could make for some great emotive singing. Michael Johns, a deer in the headlights at this point, could find his inner Mad Max and really rock. Golden but increasingly haunted, David Archuleta could go through the stages of child star decline before our tearful eyes. Chikezie could rightfully demand that somebody acknowledge he’s the most adventurous contestant in the crowd.

One can hope for such twists. What we can count on is more soft rock from White and more plastic grunge from Cook. I’m sure they’re very nice people, and dedicated musicians, but watching them perform is a lot like shopping at Target: they’re cute knockoffs with no apparent substance or enduring appeal. With my luck, at least one will probably get to the final. Maybe I’ll take a trip to Indiana around that time.

-- Ann Powers

Photo: Fox