By Alan Pergament
Like most of the nation, Western New York interest in "American Idol" has taken a big drop this season.
But the area has a special reason to watch the finals next Tuesday -- one of the two singers competing for the crown has WNY roots.
Jena Irene Asciutto, who just goes by Jena Irene, survived the cut in Thursday night's results show and is viewed as the favorite against Caleb Johnson when the two compete in next Tuesday's finals. Alex Preston, who looks a little like Caleb, was eliminated Thursday to set up the showdown between Jena Irene and Caleb.
Jena Irene is a 17-year-old teen-ager from suburban Detroit. Her great-grandfather lived in Buffalo and she has many cousins and other relatives still living here.
"Idol" isn't what it used to be. When I misread a story that ran this week in the Buffalo News and thought that last year's "Idol" winner was singing at a Memorial Day concert, I couldn't remember who won. Can you? (The answer appears at the end of this blog.)
The one-hour competition finale carried on Fox affiliate WUTV at 8 p.m. Tuesday will be followed by a results show finale at 8 p.m. Wednesday of more than two hours that will feature performances by Lady Antebellum, Aloe Blacc, KISS, John Legend, Demi Lovato, Jason Mraz, Jennifer Nettles, Paramore, Phillip Phillips and Darius Rucker.
You can choose to either watch those performances or just tune in the final 10 minutes or so when the winner is announced.
The drop in "Idol" ratings continued for this week's shows. The two-hour competition episode Wednesday averaged a 5.5 rating on WUTV and finished third in its time slot here. Thursday's hour results show had a 5.1 rating. In its heyday, "Idol" ratings were three or four times higher.
South Buffalo's Patrick Kane is getting more rave reviews after scoring the overtime goal against Minnesota that put the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Perhaps the biggest rave came from ESPN's Michael Wilbon on "Pardon the Interruption" Wednesday. Wilbon, who is from Chicago, said Kane is better than Pittsburgh's slumping superstar Sidney Crosby. "Patrick Kane is part Wayne Gretzky, part Robert Horry," said Wilbon. "Patrick Kane is actually what Sidney Crosby used to be."
Asked by "PTI" co-host Tony Kornheiser if Wilbon was saying that Kane is better than Crosby, Wilbon said: "Better than Crosby."
By the way, if you missed the Horry reference, he is the former NBA star known for making big shots during the playoffs. His nickname was Big Shot Bob.
One of the best things about being ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. is that viewers have short memories. Maybe his low grade of the Buffalo Bills draft -- he gave the team a C minus -- is warranted, but Bills fans should remember that Kiper thought the Bills reached in the 2013 draft to take Kiki Alonso in the second round. Of course, grading drafts in May is like predicting an "American Idol" winner during the first week of the Hollywood round. I laughed Sunday night when Channel 2's Jonah Javad gave the Bills a B plus.
Talk about bad timing: Part 1 of the big "Modern Family" wedding Wednesday between Cam and Mitchell ended with it being postponed at the last minute because of wild fires in California. Now that wild fires in San Diego are leading the nightly newscasts, you wonder if the show's producers are going to have to change anything when Part 2 of the wedding airs in next Wednesday's season finale.
Trivia answer: The 2013 winner of "American Idol" was Candice Glover.
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