On the same night that assorted EU folk were listening to the European Opera Centre five (see below), UK telly watchers saw Allison Iraheta bizarrely voted off American Idol, leaving the semi-final to the smokey if samey Danny Gokey, the middle-of-the-road Kris Allen and the incomparable Adam Lambert. All four have marked out standards way beyond what I'd have expected from a show like this - not that I've followed it before - but for me 17-year old Iraheta and showman Lambert can stand alongside the best singers in any sphere, opera included (and how much better they've been than many of American Idol's guests on eviction night).
Operatic, indeed, is how one might best describe Lambert's upper-register belt, the 'screaming' as some detractors call it. I liked his 'Feeling Good' less than any of his other new spins on old material, but it ended with pure artistry - a descent from what seemed like an infinitely held top note with a creative, seamless melisma. Am I nuts, I hear the purists asking? Well, I like to think I just appreciate any artist at the top of his or her game, and while Iraheta has years to develop that extraordinary, chesty rock-chick personality, Lambert is already consummate; I don't think the comparisons with Elvis, Jagger or Freddie Mercury are too far fetched.
There seems, however, to be an American storm in a teacup brewing over his sexuality, which some think could lose him the title. It wouldn't matter over here, but allegedly Allen's and Gokey's Christian credentials are winning them an irrelevant moral high ground in the eyes of the American public. So it may not be that the best man wins, but it will make little difference to Lambert's world domination in the long run.
PS (late May) - Allen became the American Idol, but the above still holds good. No fault of the cute nice guy if the middle-American comfort zone kicked in - though probably it had more to do with young girls voting again and again for the pretty one. Arkansas folk notched up an astonishing 38 million votes for 'their' boy.
Heading further downmarket to a talent show very much in inverted commas, I can’t resist wicked La Cieca’s ‘separated at midlife’ comparison between the much-discussed Susan Boyle and Langridge as Rosina Lickspittle. Do take a look (and bear in mind that Nigel Robson, in the original WNO Hansel, portrayed our Hexe as a Glasgow wifey).
Finally, our recent conversion to telly after a year free of the monster could only go so far. Enduring the bizarre opening kitschfest from Moscow, I stuck out Eurovision's first two semi-final entries from Montenegro and the Czech Republic before switching off appalled.