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There comes a time in every reasonable man's life when he must sit down
in his living room and watch an episode of American Idol. Truth is I'm
not a reasonable man. Or even a reasonable woman, now that I think
about it. I have, however, watched an episode of American Idol and will
go so far as to say that I have religiously watched three seasons of
it. First season was great. Second season was good. During third
season, I got wiser and realized that the show wasn't as good anymore,
but still I watched. It had lost its magic, its X-Factor, you could
say. During fourth season, I watched four or five episodes. By then, I
had rediscovered sitcom television. Now comes fifth season, and the
inevitable disappointment that lurks around the show reappears again.
Yet, people still watch the show because they are too brainwashed not
Then again, what else is there to watch on Tuesdays? Or Wednesdays. Or Thursdays. Or any other night of the week, for that matter. I mean, why watch anything else when I can watch the new season or reruns of past performances made readily available via my Handy-Dandy DVD player? (Yes, we bought the Best of Season One. So sue me.) I must say that American Idol has become predictable. A "dude, man, dawg" from Randy Jackson. An "I just want to eat you up and make all our viewers sick to their stomachs with my infinite well of gaga comments" from Paula Abdul. And "Enter sarcastic, British remark here" from Simon Cowell. Cue Ryan Seacrest's idiotic retort and make-the-girls-swoon smile. The contestants are the same: air-headed bimbos, wannabe rockers, real rockers, melt-the-camera-with-a-stare heartthrobs, belters, and the like. For goodness sake, give us something good to watch again! Every now and then we get fantastic singers like Kelly Clarkson, Tamira Grey, and Clay Aiken. The rest are a little more or less than mediocre. Come to think of it, I can't remember the last time I heard Ruben, Fantasia, or Diana on the radio. Don't even mention Justin Guarini. What a waste of his perfectly good talent. The only thing Idol can do for you is give you a year, if that, of fame, then send you on back home to the karaoke bars in Oneida, Tennessee. Tough break, kids.
It is just unfair to see what they do to these contestants. They get the same amount of men as they do women to avoid any legal problems about gender bias. Completely bogus! Sometimes, there are better men than some of the women on that show (and vice versa), so why should they be cut just so the Idol producers won't be accused of discrimination on the cover of tabloids. The real crime is letting a bunch of less-than-worthy singers get on just to balance things out. And then some of the singers get scolded for song choices. Oh, no, Heaven forbid someone does a Mariah or a Whitney! No, no! Those are untouchable. I just have my fingers crossed that one contestant will finally lash out at Randy, saying, "Well, Mr. Jackson, you give me a list of songs I'm not supposed to do, and I'll make sure I sing them all just for you." Even if they are really good, nothing is as good as the original, so just give up.
The producers of Idol need to take a step back from the show they've created and look at what it has become: a rigged popularity contest. The only thing Idol is good for is delaying House episodes for weeks at a time. What a waste of an Emmy and Golden Globe winning show. Producers, you need some variety in this show. Just keep your fingers crossed that you choose the correct Idol this time, as you seem to think that America is too intellectually inept to do so themselves. Greenlighting this overstayed-it's-welcomed show for another season and thinking that the same people are still going to love it would be optimistic to the point of foolishness. But then again, what do I know? I'm just a kid with a television and a telephone.
If it weren't for Simon Cowell, I have to wonder how many people would
this show. I admit this says something of my character, but he's the
I watch this show. His blunt matter of fact, tell-it-like-is approach to
telling the unvarnished truth to the no-talent wannabes who audition is
something I find very refreshing. Especially when their egos and attitudes
are directly proportional to the extent that they suck -- meaning the more
they suck, the more ego and attitude they tend to have. (Not with all, but
certainly a lot of them) Then there are others who don't have attitude and
are devastated by criticism and can be seen in tears later, and even if
were bad I feel a little sorry for them. But that's simply the reality, of
the music business and if these kids can't handle it, then they shouldn't
trying to forge a career as a musical artist.
That's reality, and Simon gives them this much needed reality check. It's reality TV in every sense of the word.
Shows like this are the reason that so much of television sucks these days. It is nothing more than an over-hyped, overblown televised karaoke contest and people watch this crap in droves. I've totally lost all faith in humanity for allowing a show like this to go on and on and on.Years ago, a show like this (think 'Star Search' for example) was the exception rather than the norm. Now it's all you can find. Reality programming has completely ruined TV. Granted, there's still some pretty decent scripted shows on the tube (Monk, 30 Rock, My Name is Earl, The Office) but as long as people line up mindlessly to watch muck like 'American Idol', I'm afraid it's only gonna get worse. I weep for the future.
It's sad that so many talented, hard-working musicians out there have been busting their ass for years and can't get a break, while any soulless, talentless suburban poser can go on what is basically a nationally-televised karaoke contest, become the flavor of the month, and then be forgotten about six months later(unless you're Kelly Clarkson). I know it's already been said by another poster, but it's true: some of these people have played in small bands or had local solo gigs, some of them have potential, but the majority of them are a bunch of wannabes with no real talent. They don't have the dedication and desire it takes to build a lasting career in a notoriously fickle industry: they're in it for their 15 minutes of fame, and nothing more.
I've watched every episode of this show from its inception, and, sadly
but not surprisingly, I have seen it become more and more cheesy as the
years go by.
For starters, Seacrest has to go. If you look up the word smarmy in the dictionary, you will see his picture. And the judges are all a joke at this point - they've become caricatures of themselves, it seems, and nothing they have to say means anything, nor do the viewers' votes actually count, since I believe the producers of the show will not have someone win whom they do not approve of (meaning someone they can't control). The contestants are still good, though, which is why I still watch: I'm a sucker for a talent show and I do love seeing someone do really well, as Jordin is doing this year. And let's face it, the show is an incredible spectacle - the modern equivalent of, say, the gladiators in the Colosseum.
Last night, they kicked off the "Idol Gives Back" thing, where, for every vote cast, ten cents would be donated by the shows' sponsors - Ford, Coca Cola, and A T & T - toward the world's hunger crisis. Seacrest stood there, in all his sanctimonious smarminess, preaching to us about how we were not just voting this week, we're "saving lives." I'm all for ending hunger in all countries of the world, beginning with our country, don't get me wrong, but this to me feels like a very underhanded and sleazy way to obtain more publicity for the show.
The corporations in question have enough money to fully end all world hunger if they wanted; they do not need our votes to contribute to that cause. And it would be a tax write-off for them, to boot. By telling people they are "saving lives" by voting, the producers of the show (and Seacrest, as their shamelessly pathetic talking head - he's like Max Headroom without the soul) are implying that the opposite is true, as well: if you don't vote, you are NOT saving lives.
About the show itself: the worst thing is how they never let the contestants sing a whole song, they have to condense their song into a minute and a half, and then they get criticized for not having enough feeling or enough conviction or enough personality, blah blah blah. A song has to be complete in order for it to legitimately 'live' - the emotion or feeling of it has to build and you cannot genuinely do that when you're forced to cut out most of it. They have time on the show for all sorts of crap, but they can't make time for the performers to actually SING. I commend anyone who can come on week after week and manage to give a credible performance under these conditions, something the judges don't seem to acknowledge or appreciate.
Where will it all end? I predict a few more seasons, and then hopefully the network will take the show off before it deteriorates into an even tackier circus than it's already become.
Added 3/6/13 ~ This season hopefully will be the last. Brutal.
Added 2/21/14 ~ Still going' on. It's a joke at this point; everybody feels it. Keith Urban, J-Lo and Harry Connick Jr. are very strange judges, not much credibility there, and of course Seacrest is still on board, still smarmy as ever. This time the question is : WHEN will it all end? I couldn't even watch the preliminary episodes this year, the whole selection process and the Hollywood thing, the group challenge, blah blah blah. Cannot stand how they play with the contestants' heads, when they call them in to That Room, making them walk from the elevator all the way to their desk in Outer Mongolia, only to torture them with the 'well, you know we can't pick everyone and we're really sorry, we don't know how to tell you this...(long dramatic pause)...but you're going through!" Pathetic.
I can't believe that people willfully watch this show. It's such a waste of time watching people embarrass themselves on national television. Shows like this one are the reason why America is full of morons and the reason why the Chinese and Japanese are going to own this country in the coming decades. The only reason shows like this are even on t.v. is the fact that corporate television executives are so greedy that instead of making t.v. shows that at the very least give a wholesome message or bring awareness to the public about a certain issues they look for any way to squeeze every penny they can and stick it in their own pockets instead of spending it on something worthwhile or educational. Don't watch shows like this. Read a book instead. Spend time with your kids. Get an education. Do something worthwhile with your life.
The basic premise behind American Idol, a talent show in which a large
number of contestants battle it out to get a recording contract, is one
that has inspired a number of films and television shows. The problem
is that the idea is one rooted firmly in the 1960s, when the Recording
Industry Assocation of America was relevant, people's tastes were so
underdeveloped that one genre would capture most of the world's
attention, and the so-called top ten actually reflected what people
were buying. But the revelations of the past twenty or so years have
turned that entire notion on its head. No longer do we believe that the
top ten is actually a reflection of our tastes (in fact many articles
have been published to the effect that the pop charts are rigged), and
the RIAA no longer has sole control over how we hear artists. In fact,
independent, underground recording labels have seen their business
explode tenfold since the MP3 revolution, and for the first time in
history, the advertising of recording artists has truly become a level
All of this translates into increasing irrelevance for talent quests like American Idol. Much of the commentary I hear about the show revolves around the three judges, who are in essence the real stars. Do not look at them, however, they are not the reason the show is entirely irrelevant. In fact, they are about the only connection the show really has to the present-day market for music. Paula Abdul reflects the overly optimistic approach that many of the RIAA's marketeers suffer from, Randy Jackson highlights the irrelevance, and Simon Cowell repeats exactly what the more intelligent section of the buying public is thinking. Indeed, for all the complaints about Cowell's cruelty, he is about the only thing worth watching the show for because of his unflinching ability to slap hopefuls in the face with reality. To quote his comments to William Hung, you cannot sing, you cannot dance, so what do you want us to say? Ironically, aside from one contestant, Hung has achieved far more recognition and fame due to his uncynical, earnest attitude than anyone else who has appeared on the show.
Which brings me to the contestants themselves. To partly quote Alexei Sayle, I might be stupid like, but I happen to know that butchering the material of other people is never going to give a fair indication of how much ability an artist has. Although Kelly Clarkson's post-Idol material is irrelevant to me, it also demonstrates she has enjoyed the most success of the lot because she can create something of her own. Covers of top-forty filler songs that were not even relevant to the audience back then will prove very little. Even the selection of songs is so tepid as to be monotonous. Once you have heard one talentless pretty face cover Whitney Houston, you have heard them all. At least on the versus albums released by the black metal underground, they challenged each other to cover each other's songs, as well as songs by an artist that they would otherwise not normally play, such as GGFH or Frank Zappa. Even something as straightforward as Glenn Danzig would baffle the imagination-challenged idiots of Idol.
The scary thing is that after nine out of ten finalists fail to get so much as a mention after their term on the show is over, the powers behind it still want to blame piracy for ailing record sales. They fail to understand something that the independents and underground long ago incorporated into their market strategy. You see, as much as I disparage the Beatles or their ilk for being the original boy bands, they made it big when they did because at that time, nobody had heard anything like them. They had the right combination of novelty and semi-solid songwriting that also propelled bands like Black Sabbath or Bathory to notoriety. Kelly Clarkson, Justin Gaurini, and everyone that has followed after them, just have nothing to offer that is exceptional or unique. Twenty-five years ago, when radio fare was not nearly so narrow or limited, acts like Devo created a stir because they pushed envelopes. Funk-punk, electronica, and punk-pop had observers that were of the same age then as Cowell is now asking what was next.
So when I say that the present crop of pop musicians that shows like Idol attempt to promote as if they are the hottest thing since tofu are little more than a damp squib, I want you to understand my full meaning. As I stated differently in my comments about Metallicrap's recent aping of Spinal Tap, the world has moved on from this kind of thing. Maybe it is time that Simon Fuller and his cronies realised this, because I am kind of certain that Simon Cowell and to a lesser extent Paula Abdul have realised it. Indeed, as I sit here listening to Danzig, a man who has more creativity in his fingernails than every single contestant who has been on every iteration of Idol worldwide would have in their collective bodies, I find something is quite rotten in the state of the music industry. While I wish Clarkson the best in her efforts to exploit the fame that Idol brought her, I really just wish these people would raise their bar concurrently with the way the ears of the wider world have raised theirs. At the very least, we could get Red Symons of Skyhooks fame to judge a few shows. With him and Cowell on the same panel, contestants might spontaneously combust from the ego-checks.
American Idol is a two out of ten show. Nobody on the show save Cowell seems to know a thing.
It is wholly inexplicable and mystifying that a nation could be so obsessed with a show like this, a worthless, fifteen-minutes-of-fame, trashy-so-it's-bad piece of garbage that captivates more collective attention than the average Presidential race. Constantly, I am forced to hide in my room when this show comes on because it overrides all other shows where I live. With paper-thin walls, I can hear every minute of it: the generic pop voices, the horrible auditions at the beginning of every season that throw pathos out the window, and the growing absurdity of the judge's sweetness, complacency, and ruthlessness. It is by far a more rewarding experience to watch unintelligent programs mock this show than it is to watch it itself-- "Shrek 2," anyone? And "American Idol Rewind," a vapid expansion of the show's early years, is even more heinous and pointless. Yet people continue to watch the competition, from talentless winners (Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Taylor Hicks, etc.) to unique, worthwhile losers (Daughtry!) But guess what. Even Chris Daughtry hates it when people mention his appearance on this show. Because it is, in its own, Idol way, a puerile, infantile, mindless and banal exercise in finding the next unlikely hero to throw through the ruthless pop culture gum-ball machine. A word of advice to the people who actually tune in every January: go and watch the classic 1981 movie musical "Shock Treatment." Once you see its town overwhelmed to Orwellian proportions by TV shows like this, you will see the error of your remote-controlled ways.
Too bad you can't give stuff zeros. That would've been my vote because American Idol is a cancer to society and the world. The only people worse than the arrogant judges and attention-whoring contestants are the followers. Nobody can justify the popularity of the show, and yet there are people who believe this thing matters more than the Oklahoma-Oregon football game. Another disgusting aspect of the show is that people think it's funny. Believe me, it's as funny as seeing Oklahoma slaughter Texas A&M 77-0 in a football game or USC pound the Sooners themselves, 55-19. There is no difference between humiliating somebody on a football field and crushing somebody who can't sing but is trying. Anyone with those beliefs should die or be my slaves. If American Idol is around in 2015, you'll know something is wrong. Those who disagree ought to suffer endlessly. There are actual forms of entertainment that people can watch over this crap. Stuff like Oz, Saved by the Bell, Jackass, Family Guy.
No doubt there are some really talented singers such as David Cook,
Chris Daughtry and Kelly Clarkson, but others were ludicrously bad.
Then there were others with annoying personalities, Tatiana I am
looking at you. However, while I was addicted to it at first mainly
because of the hilarious auditions, I stopped watching it after it
became increasingly formulaic, tired and predictable.
Simon's put downs no longer became funny, instead they became increasingly insulting, and Paula became increasingly inaudible over the screaming audience. The choreography was often under-rehearsed, the singers sometimes pick the wrong songs for their voice(a huge danger when it comes to singing), the lighting was dim, the clothes that some contestants wear either in auditions(ie. Bikini Girl and the guy in the Pink Rabbit suit) or on the live shows(ie. Carly) are either too revealing or unflattering and I am not a fan of Ryan Seacrest's presenting. Also the show is very exploitative, I know the X Factor is quite exploitative, but this brings the meaning of exploitation to a whole new level. It is not entirely the show's fault though, the media are mostly to blame too. Then there are those who don't make it through Hollywood or the live shows, they cry and say that American Idol is their life. Give me a break, I am not trying to sound insensitive, but there are many many good things you can do with your life other than go on American Idol, if you really want to sing, join a pop band, a musical theatre or opera group, you may find they are better in terms of time value.
Overall, formulaic, tired and predictable, not to mention exploitative. 2/10 for the auditions. Bethany Cox
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