Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Richardson Idol: Week Six Season Finale

Hollywood Sign

Richardson Idol had its big season finale Tuesday evening. The red carpet was out. The searchlights were shining. All the stars were there (Gary and John and Bob and Lanet and the Kim twins). And so were the paparazzi (well, Cheri). The public poured into the hall by the hundreds (meaning at least two; three, tops.) The big event was held at Hollywood's Kodak Theater the Richardson Civic Center's Grand Hall. It was co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Richardson and the RISD Council of PTAs. Check your local listings for rebroadcast times. Our broadcast partner, CITV, can be found on Time Warner Channel 16 and on ATT U-Verse Channel 99.

Wednesday night's post-show party at the Canyon Creek Country Club will be a meet-and-greet hosted by the Dallas County North and Richardson Republican Women. It will not factor into our judges' scoring. (Note to Republican Women: holding your event at Richardson's posh country club makes way too easy a target for satirists, so I'll resist saying anything ... drat, too late.)

Twelve of thirteen contestants vying for the grand prize, a seat on the Richardson City Council, performed on our stage for our judges Tuesday night (absent: North).

As the format requires, it is up to the audience (and by audience, I mean me) to eliminate one contestant each week until we have a council.

But before we hear who will be eliminated this week, let's first hand out superlatives ... after the jump.

The "Saving the Best for Last" award goes to all of our contestants. By a long shot, this was the best performance of each and every contestant this season. Judging just by Tuesday's performances, Richardson will have a great ensemble no matter who ends up winning our contest.

The "Kumbaya" award also goes to all of our contestants. On question after question, whether it was about progress on government transparency, support for a city charter review, the need for financial incentives to attract new businesses, the need for water conservation, the value of the Eisemann Center and Sherrill Park Golf Course as city amenities, or the mistake it would be to raise taxes to avoid "gutting" the library (?), the contestants all played different chords of the same harmony.

The "Eminent Domain Is Your Friend" award goes, surprisingly, to Karl Voigtsberger. When asked about the need for water conservation, Voigtsberger pointed out that East Texas is where the water is and that's where we'll need to build new reservoirs, overcoming the opposition of many in East Texas.

The "Maybe Just a Small War, Then?" award goes to Dennis Stewart. In answering the same question about ensuring adequate water supplies, Stewart expressed frustration with the state's drawn-out process for getting the approvals needed to build reservoirs. He said cities need to go to war with Austin. In a later answer, he came back to his point, saying he wanted it clear that he didn't mean it literally. The sound of disappointed bloggers crossing out planned headlines for the morning was audible across the audience.

The "Yet Another Reason I Hate Trees" award goes to Diana Clawson. In her answer to the water conservation question, she pointed out that mature trees consume 50-100 gallons of water per day.

The "Don't Count On DART" award goes to William Gordon and Karl Voigtsberger. In answer to a question about the traffic implications of development at US75/PGBT, they both said that DART is already "maxed out." Neither explained why DART can't add trains to its schedule or lengthen existing trains to double, triple or quadruple current capacity. Gordon's self-proclaimed creative, problem-solving ability suddenly abandoned him on this challenge.

The "What Have You Done For Us Lately, Charles Eisemann?" award goes to William Gordon. In answering a question about the economics of the Eisemann Center, Gordon said the Eisemann Center is the "crown jewel" of Richardson, but maybe we ought to sell the naming rights. Gordon didn't say whether he favored giving back the $2,000,000 donation made by the Eisemann Foundation that led to the current name in the first place.

The "I May Be Crazy, But I'm Not Stupid" award goes to Dennis Stewart. In explaining why he's running for city council, Stewart said he enjoys public service, so much so that he pledges not to accept the compensation of $50 per council meeting. Later, in answer to a different question about preventing underfunding of the city's pension liabilities, Stewart made a point of saying that his own pension as a retiree of the Richardson Police Department is not the cause of any pension underfunding. He did *not* volunteer to give up his pension.

The "Outstanding Service" award goes to Boy Scout Troop 751 for handing out programs and collecting questions, all in a very responsible manner. Great job.

Finally, the time has come to pick the contestant who will be sent home this week. This last selection was the hardest of all. The judges leaned one way, then the other. Remember, someone has to go. Not making it to the end is not a dishonor. Drum roll, please. ... This is it. The votes have been tallied. Richardson has spoken.

Mark Solomon, your voice was anything but timid. You took pride in your songs. Your lyrics sometimes took a little too much poetic license, but your feelings were genuine. The judges feel that your songs this season didn't have much of you in them. They didn't inform us where you wanted to lead us or inspire us to follow you. You've been in our little Richardson Idol ensemble for two years and we've enjoyed the music, but we need you to pick up the tempo. We have some concern whether that's in you or not, but our concern about our alternative for this last spot is even greater. For that, Mark Solomon, ... you are safe.

John DeMattia, your balance was remarkable. You looked equally comfortable singing hymns of praise to Richardson as well as protest songs. You paid your dues, out of the spotlight, playing the lesser stages in Richardson. You even worked the kitchen, serving some of the best pizza in town. The judges really, really wanted our relationship with you to be one that we could enthusiastically say, "That's Amore." But the judges have some serious concerns about your offstage ... alliances, shall we say? We can't overcome our fear that you and your fans would rely too much on a songbook made up of anti-tax, anti-government anthems. Sometimes we want to hear upbeat songs, songs about playing baseball in the parks and swimming in the public pools. We want those songs performed in grand public venues like the Eisemann Center and at public festivals like Wildflower!. Richardson is an even more attractive city today than it was decades ago when its low taxes attracted you to move here. The reason is because Richardson has never turned its back on investing in its future. The judges fear that will change with you in the spotlight. Because of that, John DeMattia, you are out. But thanks for playing. And keep playing those protest songs. They deserve to be heard, just not given top billing.

That brings us to the end of our season. We started with thirteen contestants. We reluctantly said goodbye to six. That leaves us with the seven needed for our new Richardson Idol ensemble. I present to our audience our winners, your 2011-2013 Richardson City Council*, your Richardson Idols:

  • Place 1: Bob Townsend
  • Place 2: Mark Solomon
  • Place 3: Scott Dunn
  • Place 4: Laura Maczka
  • Place 5: Dennis Stewart
  • Place 6: Steve Mitchell
  • Place 7: Amir Omar

* The real judges, the voters, might have a different opinion on May 14, 2011. Get out and vote for your own personal Richardson Idols.

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