I’ve always enjoyed The Show more for its cheesiness than for the way it allegedly creates music stars. In fact, it’s generally been a failure at that purported goal: In the season’s eight previous seasons, I’d say that two winners became big-time musicians, with many third- or fourth- or sixth-place finishers having better music careers than the champs of most seasons.
But here we are, at the end of the ninth season, with two very different finalists. One is perfect Show fodder, having a decent voice, little obvious experience, a horrible lasting case of stage fright and a good back story that says “Winner.” The other is so different from any other top-level Show contestant — ever — that I often wonder if the producers kidnapped her baby and forced her to perform. It’s the only reasonable explanation for her presence.
And after seeing about two performances out of her, I quickly decided that this was the only Show contestant — again, ever — who I’d actually want to see in concert. But in recent weeks, after two months of being astonishingly good every week, she has been somewhat dull.
Not tonight, though. After working her way through two old warhorse songs (including the gag-inducing “Black Velvet,” which she was forced to sing by the same people who must have kidnapped her child), this Earth Momma came out and sang a freakin’ Patty Griffin tune that was one of the most achingly beautiful covers I’ve ever heard. I sat there, mouth open, and wondered how this fantastically different a song could have been performed on this cheesy a show at this important a moment. And when she was done, I said, “Wow.”
She still might lose. It doesn’t matter. Once she gets off the summer Mouseketeers tour and heads out on her own, I’m buying tickets. And The Show perhaps will change and shed, at long last, its cheesiest trappings.