Monday, January 12, 2009

About American Idol

Thou Shalt Not Commit Idolatry!

Idolatry. People, that one is in the top 10 of big no-nos. And at this point, I am saying AMEN!! Why, you may ask, am I bringing it up? Some of you have probably already guessed the answer to that, but I am going to say it anyway….


Was that clear or am I being too vague? What is this mania with this show? You grab a bunch of people, dangle their dreams in front of them and then have them decimated by a snotty Englishman (gee, I wonder where they came up with that?? Can you say “stereotype”?) a sub-standard former pop singer (sorry, but if you ever listen to Paula Abdul, and don’t pay any attention to the music that carried her songs, you find that this loopy little shorty can’t sing, and never could as far as I can tell) and a big jolly guy who has unceremoniously ruined the use of the word “dawg” for absolutely EVERYONE.

I like the idea of having a contest and offering a contract to the winner, but what I don’t get is why they call it American Idol since not many of the winners do all that well. I mean, really. How many seasons have they had of this? And how many of the actual winners have reached Idol status? And when I say “idol status” I mean like Elvis Presley, or Elton John, or Prince and Michael Jackson in the 80’s, or Madonna through the 80’s and 90’s, or Mozart, Beethoven, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Aerosmith, …etc. The names you will truly never forget and twenty years after they have died, the surviving generations are doing remakes of their music, giving tours of their homes, and showing marathons and biographies of them on the anniversaries of their deaths, and making movies about their lives, THOSE are the musical Idols. I don’t really get that sense from ANY of the performers I have seen on American Idol. The real musical idols have more than staying power, they have a kind of immortality.

Now, I can see where it might be interesting to see a new celebrity in the making, but to have people like Simon sit there and say the absolute cruelest things he can come up with to someone who is absolutely star material (can you say Jennifer Hudson?) and tell them they don’t have what it takes, then they leave (usually in tears), I have to wonder how many people who are talented he would have blown past. Being able to sing in every genre shows talent, but it doesn’t make you an idol. I never want to hear Alanis Morrisette sing “I Will Survive”, but I am quite happy to listen to Jagged Little Pill from start to finish when I am feeling surly toward the male population. Different genres require different styles and sounds, and you don’t have to master every one of them to be an Idol. In fact, history has proven that it really only takes a mastery of one.

I suppose my annoyance with the Idol is simply the arrogant cruelty of it. Failing at something is hard enough without some schmuck sitting there berating you for the errors you have made in front of millions of people. Do I think the show is funny….it can be, but “painful to watch” is the term I would most often choose. And, I’m sorry, but the people who go on these types of shows in hopes of getting their names out there are really begging for a heart stomping. And they get it. It’s their choice to be there. I can’t decide if they are brave or stupid, so I am guessing it’s probably some of both.

For whatever reason, the show is insanely popular, and the last few contestants often become household names for a while. Bully for them. But it feels like this show is on my TV every night, and when it’s not airing, every other show is talking about it. I am sick of it. It’s been done to death.

Of them all, the only one I would say has actually reached any real heights of musical fame and hasn’t shamed themselves is Kelly Clarkson. Others would argue that it is the chick who sings country music, but I can’t get behind that argument since I can’t remember her name, and I don’t really care enough to go look it up. And as for Clay….people…he’s just embarrassing. The bulk of his following seems to be twelve year old girls…and they are the same demographic that catapulted Menudo, The New Kids On The Block, Brittany Spears & The Backstreet Boys into fame. Aiken’s concerts are spectacles that would make Liberace proud.

And what happened to Ruben? He was supposed to be the next Luther Vandross. And you can’t tell me that Taylor Hicks has reached idol status. Well, actually, you can tell me that, but it wouldn’t exactly be a statement that smacks of credibility. Every once in a while I will hear someone mention Fantasia, but I don’t actually hear her. She’s made it to Broadway, but I am not getting that true Idol vibe from any of them.

To me, the whole “idolness” of American Idol is deeply lacking. In my opinion, Paula needs to get in some serious couch time, Simon needs to have a spa day to control his hostility, and Randy…well, what can I say….this dude couldn’t be more boring if he made it a personal goal, so he needs to take some of the money he has made from this show and use it to pay a writer to provide him with something interesting to say.

Overall,  I feel American Idol is a mockery to much of the music industry, and many people who are on the audition episodes seem to be clinically deranged, plus, it’s mean.  The only singer on Idol that ever really managed to evoke real emotion from me, that was able to move me, was kicked off and told she didn’t have what it took to be a star…but that’s ok…she has an Academy Award now…and I am going to say here, what a huge portion of that population wished Jennifer Hudson had said when she got her Golden Globe and her Oscar…something like….

I’m sorry Simon? What did you say? Something about me not having “it”...well, meet my friend Oscar… as Dustin Hoffman said when he won, "he has no genitalia and he is holding a sword"….you and Oscar have a lot in common.”

By the way, has anyone else noticed that Simon really can’t take criticism when it is directed at him? Talk about dishing it out but not being able to take it!

If this show must continue, then please, for the love of all that is holy, confine it to one night, even if it takes up the entire schedule for Fox for a night, just keep it in one place on one night so I don’t have hear about it on the radio every blasted day. I am already an insomniac, I really don’t need to be driven any further towards insanity by this absurd “phenomenon”.

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