Entertainment News
New York Post
  May 28, 2006 
'IDOL' THREA
By DAN AQUILANT

Now that millions of "American Idol" worshippers have anointed Taylor Hicks as the show's big winner, we can finally tell you who the real loser is.

Us.

We're the ones who'll have to listen to Taylor Hicks crooning "Do I Make You Proud?" and Katharine McPhee warbling "My Destiny," the terrible pre-fab pop ballads concocted as their debut radio singles.

These singers, who each had sterling moments in the spotlight covering some of the best pop tunes ever written, make their professional debuts with a pair of sluggish snoozers forced upon them as their final and arguably most important number of the competition.

They clawed their way out of the pack and suffered the indignity of being Simonized weekly to be rewarded with having to hitch their reputations to some of the worst milquetoast pap ever penned.

Since Season 5 bowed back in January, the executives at 19 Management have been searching for these final original songs. According to reports, there were more then 200 tunes in contention and a 19 executive named Iain Pirie picked those two duds.

America shouldn't have voted Chris or Elliot off the show, they should have been allowed the opportunity to have axed tin-eared Pirie.

During a recent online interview, Pirie ex-plained the final song selection process:

"It's got to be a new composition - a song that suits the moment. It has to reflect the emotional journey that the viewers and the contestants have gone through. As a TV moment, it has to feel like an emotional conclusion. It has to be something that we hope is going to work at radio when the show is over. And equally, it has to be a song that fits the contestant."

That didn't happen.

McPhee's "My Destiny" is out of her range vocally, out of her reach emotionally and fits the curvy 21-year-old California girl like a burka. Her singing inadequacies will get straightened out electronically in the studio, but there's no helping that song.

As for Hicks, the man whose inner Joe Cocker helped him win the competition, his "Do I Make You Proud?" is a ball and chain that drags itself into death throes as his gritty tenor attempts to overcome the mush.

All three of the talent contest judges agreed that the singers were more accomplished than the songs. What does that say when you consider both Hicks and McPhee are amateurs in the business?

Other debut "Idol" singles have fared better. "A Moment Like This" by Kelly Clarkson went on to peak at No. 8 on Billboard's singles chart, and "Flying Without Wings" by Ruben "Where Are You Now" Studdard sold a respectable 736,000 copies.

Blame Pirie for the selection and hunt down songwriters Harry Sommerdahl, Hanne Sorvag and Tim Baxter for "My Destiny" and Tracy Ackerman and a guy who goes by Absolute for "Do I Make You Proud?" Then take away their keyboards, laptops, pens and any other equipment that might help them compose.

What's most disturbing about this year's final two songs is that they turned out to be instrumental in determining who won. And they were assigned by an executive in the 19 Management production offices.

The voting process of "American Idol" has always been suspect. Now the "Idol" selection is further tainted by virtue of bad material that's been dispensed by a suit, rather than chosen by the artist.

dan.aquilante@nypost.com
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