“You’ll always be a part of me.”

“Always Be My Baby” by David Cook | As a prelude to the imminent end of American Idol, airing tomorrow morning in Manila – and the essay I wrote about it, which should be live in five and a half hours – I’ve had a think about the more tangible things it gave us Filipinos. Well, apart from the four contestants it had of Filipino descent, and the increasingly crazy reaction for each, especially when Jessica Sanchez made the finale. (“I think Jessica will not win, because traditionally, male contestants always win,” this kid told a reporter on the news.) Well, we have David Cook’s “Always Be My Baby”, a case of an Idol cover being more ubiquitous than the original version (Mariah Carey, in this case). I still hear this on random radio stations. We have David Archuleta becoming a soap opera star here. We have the distinction of being the only foreign country to stage the official Idol tour twice (although we’re not the first; that’s Singapore in season 3 – oddly, the season with Jasmine Trias). What else? I’m stuck. Well, it gave us Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood and Adam Lambert and Phillip Phillips. It gave us Chris Daughtry and Constantine Maroulis and Michael Johns, bless his soul. It gave us Taylor Hicks, Allison Iraheta and Haley Reinhart. Well, I rooted for those three. And David Cook. American Idol gave me six albums, three of which are signed. And a signed poster. And friends. I’ll elaborate later. [NB]

“I love you long after you’re gone.”

“Gone Gone Gone” by Phillip Phillips | In between my recent American commercial triple-A station listening binge, and the fact that some of the British stations I listen to have started playing this song, it hurts me to say that I now cannot avoid Phillip Phillips. Okay, I am exaggerating, because chances are, I still can – it will just take a little more for me to do so. I’m not quite sure why I feel so much against the guy, though. I didn’t follow American Idol‘s 11th season despite considerable interest towards Jessica Sanchez – then again, I literally did not see a peep of the season that followed it – but Phillip is still the epitome of a season that couldn’t find a winner that’s not a white guy with a guitar. (Sure, Candice Glover – a black woman, a diva – won this year, but that’s after producers got fucking desperate.) And at the expense of other better contestants! Not that I’m saying the other WGWGs are terrible – I wouldn’t watch David Cook live if so. I blame this sentiment on my biases. I was listening to Haley Reinhart’s Listen Up! last week – a whole year since it was released – and it reaffirmed my belief that it could have done really well… if she was British. And if she followed the Amy Winehouse route note for note, like Phillip has with the Mumford & Sons route. I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but still, he’s only successful because he’s a supermarket version of what is already an unexciting folk band.

“I’m a little lamb who’s lost in the wood…”

“Someone To Watch Over Me” by Allison Iraheta | I remember watching Allison perform (and meeting her!) three years ago and, amidst the fangirling, knowing that she really loves what she’s doing. So, understandably, being dropped after Just Like You ran its course was a blow for her. And I’m all for her getting all the happiness she can get, more so now that her band Halo Circus is getting some traction, and we wait for studio versions to post – which explains why I’m posting another one of her (admittedly applicable) American Idol performances – but still, news of her getting married, to bandmate Matthew Hagar, is a bit of a surprise. Last January! At 21! Which, I know, isn’t anything shocking in the United States; I live, after all, in a pretty conservative part of the world. While I pick up my jaw again, yes, I’m happy for her. And I will continue hope of hearing those studio versions.

“Don’t you wanna stay here a little while?”

“Don’t You Wanna Stay” by Colton Dixon and Skylar Laine | This year’s American Idol finalists are in the Philippines again, and despite the fact that my favorites Elise Testone and Erika Van Pelt are here (and together in a meet and greet tonight at the Alabang Town Center, where this happened a year ago) I’m not feeling it. I don’t know. A lack of investment, I guess? Anyway, I’m marking this whole thing with a Colton Dixon and Skylar Laine duet, one of two the rumored love birds did this year. My friend’s friend apparently found herself in the same elevator as these two, and didn’t even notice it… until they got out. If it was me, well… I don’t know what I’d do. I was fine with Colton, but I liked Skylar (because she’s a more tolerable Lauren Alaina, and a bigger firecracker at that). Also, what if it was Jessica in the elevator with my friend’s friend?