a different side of Israel

Tag: american idol

Chris Allen upsets Adam Lambert in Idol finale

Kris Allen in American Idol 8
Everybody thought San Diego pop singer Adam Lambert was a shoe-in last week when the American Idol song contest whittled down to only him and a boyish guy from a little town in central Arkansas. In fact, international music mogul and critic, Simon Cowell was so confident that “his” contestant would win that he literally told everyone before a world-wide audience that Adam Lambert would be the next American Idol.

That just didn’t happen, however, and when the final votes came in, that cute, “boy next door” image, Kris Allen was chosen before hundreds of Kodak Theater screaming admirers – including members of his own family. Kris won on his brilliant final song, “No Boundaries” which may have partially tipped to voting scales in his favor, even though all the judges, especially Simon, thought that Adam’s rendition of

“A Change is Gonna Come” was better than the original by Sam Cook He also was brilliant with the old Cat Stevens classic “Mad World”.
But try as he might, he just didn’t get enough votes of the 100 million cast to win. Perhaps, due to Allen’s improvement over the past few weeks, plus his clean-cut, boyish personality (compared to Lampert’s smoother, more professional appearance) was enough to excite the millions of young girls between ages 12 and 16 who swooned when he came on the stage. His brief homecoming to Conway a couple of weeks before gave an indication that this 23 year old had the American Heartland in his pocket. But perhaps his versatility (he is also an excellent guitarist and concert pianist) also put something in his favor.

The evening was also full of guest stars, both musicians, and otherwise, which included British rock icon Rod Stewart, pop group Black Eyed Peas, and actor and comedian Steve Martin, who played the banjo.

At the end, Allen was so overwhelmed that show host Bryan Seacrest had to help support the new idol star, who sang again his winning song “No boundaries”.
The show isn’t over by far for second place finisher, Adam Lampert, however, as often people who don’t win first place wind up getting better recording and performing contracts. Examples of this are Jennifer Hudson and Carrie Underwood.

And let’s also not forget the coming summer Idol tour of the top ten, including Allen and Lampert as well as third place finisher Danny Goky.

Cowell went out of his way to tell both contestants that “your both winners, the future is yours!” Does that mean his record company is already preparing contracts?

What will happen when Israel’s Idol version, Kochav Nolad comes on in a few weeks will be anybody’s guess. But we’re sure that wanna-be contenders have been watching the American version to get some pointers.

The Idol Mania: What it takes to win

American Idol 09As the 8th season of the American Idol song star contest goes down to the final two contestants, I’m sure many people have been wondering how these contestants, Adam Lambert and Kris Allen are going to finish out when the grand finale comes off a few days from now – or maybe we’ve all reached this conclusion already. Adam, who hails from “just down the road” San Diego, seems to have to 100% backing of at three, if not all the judges, especially music industry mentor Simon Cowl. Simon didn’t make any bones about why he thinks Adam will win, and both of the “girls” Paula Abdul and Kara DioGuardi are definitely in his camp.

Israel’s Kohav Nolad (A Star is Born) song contest will soon be starting it’s new season, and both young and not-so-young aspiring signers will come from all over the country to Herzelia Studios to have a go in a contest which so far has only seen one winner, Ninet Tayeb, really make a big splash in the Israeli music world, although a male winner Boaz Mauda, put in a respectable showing in the 2008 Eurovision songfest

Which brings us to the point we want to make in regards to what really is important to push a contestant over the line in the voting. Many people were shocked, including at three of the judges, when Milwaukee Wisconsin’s candidate Danny Goky was eliminated from the competition on Wednesday, after the results of one of largest audience voting on record, 88 million + came in. Even Idol host, Ryan Seacrest, seemed a bit surprised when Kris, who hails from the small Arkansas town of Conway (pop. 24,000) received more votes than Danny did – even though it had been proven time and time again that Goky was a much better singer.

The answer, friends, is very simple, at least in regards to male contestants: sex appeal. And in this respect, both Adam and Kris appear to have the edge over Danny, as well as being at least 4 years younger. In this cut-throat, competitive gig and hype trip known as the music business, in most cases a singer has to have not only a fantastic voice but the looks to go along with it as well. This is especially true for male singers, whose adoring “groupie” fans consist of millions of young girls and young women between the ages of 12 and 25 who have fantasies of being kissed (or something else) by a contestant such as Adam, who’s mischievous, sexy smile is almost reminiscent of Michael Jackson, or Kris who is just plain good looking. Danny, while “cute” to many just comes over too much as the “good boy next door” who some girl might like to have as brother or best friend – but not as a lover or boyfriend.

Susan BoyleFor female singers, that is not always the case, as was sensationalized recently when a frumpy 48 year old spinster named Susan Boyle wowed everyone in a recent Idol-like Britain has Talent competition, on which Simon Cowl also sits as judge (he was floored by her singing!)

As Idol judge and music icon Randy Jackson would say: “check it out, dude, that’s what’s coming down”; and that’s what will push Adam Lambert “over the line” when the final votes are fast and tallied.

By the way, I suppose all of you noticed the name embossed on singer Katy Perry’s costume when she cam on towards the end of Wednesday Idol show. That name says it all.

Coping with the Americobession

AmericobsessionIt seems that American pop-culture and the English language have together saturated what could have been a thriving Israeli culture of sophisticated art, film, literature, and music. Just flip through the channels: Top Model, Top Israeli Model, American Idol, Israeli Idol, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Survivor, Israeli Millionaire, Martha Stewart, Oprah, Dr. Phil. You’ll find television commercials for Israeli products that are entirely in English; you’ll even find plasticized American traditions such as the classic lemonade stand scenario reenacted for commercial purposes in the same nostalgic fashion that’s been done before—white picket fence and all.

Then turn that tuning dial: Britney, Ricky Martin, Rihanna, Jessica Simpson.

And then transliterate from Hebrew the words on any one of those street billboards: HOT, Orange, Super Pharm, New Pharm, Mega, Super Sell, BIG, SMILE.

And lest we forget the vulgar expressions that come out of endless attempts to capture American pop-culture through misinformed translations on clothing: the tagline “Pussy King” on the face of a so-called Burger King T-shirt (usually worn by an Israeli guy showing off the two months he spent driving an ice-cream truck in New Jersey); or a perfectly classy looking woman sporting the slogan “Kiss It” across the back pockets of her 1,000NIS ($250) pair of jeans.

Any efforts—if they ever existed—to halt American globalization in Israel have capsized, making way for newer and more counterfeit ways to promote all of the products, sights, and sounds that are already themselves carbon copies of what was once considered quality in American culture. A double-fallacy, and an especially unfortunate scenario for those of us Americans who have seen it all before.

As to why this has happened, it seems like an old topic already—American political support of Israel leads to financial support, which logically leads to a dribbling in of McFlurries, Coca Cola, Pink and Ashley Simpson. But in my three years here I have noticed a frightening upsurge in what I’ll call the “Americobsession” that draws me to conclude that so much of the flashy crap I was hoping to escape from when I left America, is now on the prowl to suck me right back in. I once figuratively spat at the windows of WalMart and gave my dollars to Nader. And now I seek news updates from the FOX network and question Obama’s willingness to use military force. Is it true? Have I become more American since I’ve moved to Israel? Or have I simply become more Israeli by surrendering to American influence?

The four posts that follow will include a few different investigations into the rampant and largely incurable Israeli obsession with all things American. We’ll lightly skim the pages of Freud and talk to some Israelis and Americans on the street in order to find out what exactly it is about all of that junk from the States that makes young Israelis trade in their Arik Einstein for Hootie and the Blowfish, their ‘Operation Grandma’ for ‘Team America’, and their individual tastes for a load of very expensive dribble. Americans have already fallen for it. Must Israelis now shovel the shekels for a cargo full of bad leftovers?

Written by guest writer Alana Sobelman

© 2023

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑