Tonight we watched the entire show of American Idol. I’d never watched previous seasons, but when I was flipping channels and saw the show, I decided to devote some time to watching it. I have always wondered why this show makes some people so besotted that they’ll hold all their calls until the show is over and they will even pay money to “vote” for their favorite contestants.
After watching, I’m confused. I still am not sure what it is that draws people. My husband got bored and started working on his computer, and I had to strain to stay focused when man after man got up, sang, and was criticized. You didn’t even get to learn who the audience was voting for, or who Simon Cowell and the other judges think should go home. Mostly, all you could take away from this is a mixed message that out of all the talent in America (at least those willing to endure the audition process) this is the best of the best, and they’re still just “so-so.”
I am not sure what draws a crowd here. It is just “bread and circuses,” the proverbial Christians being fed to the lions in a modern version? Do we just want a fired waiter, or a mechanic down on his luck, or a new father who wants his newborn baby to be proud of him, to “win” big so we can say that you really don’t need just looks or money or brains to be something special?
What I do know is that both the 12 men and the 12 women selected for the finals look eerily like clones of themselves, and other “pop stars.” The untucked shirts, the curls for girls, the scary-white smiles.
Something did stike me as odd: the supposedly-nasty Simon Cowell (and he was just nasty enough that if i were up there, my lip would at least tremble) kept saying that he didn’t see anything special in the men in this group, even though they sung their hearts out. Actually, I agree (and I think his “honesty” is a bit much, but I liked it better than the faux flattery and artificial, goony audience reactions). But Simon…didn’t you and your cohort-judges pick these people? So I’m not sure…not sure at all why out of literally thousands of people who tried out, the judges could only come up with a group of so-so contestants.
Most of the guys were nothing special, but at the very least, the show could redeem itself if it were a fair fight. I’m hoping that the songsters with the chemically whitened smiles, the good hair, and the buff bodies shape up their vocal chords and come up with something special that really entertains. Or, barring that, I hope that the ones with the better voices who aren’t so cute or buff or slick (at least not yet) make it through and show that talent, really still does count and you can only get so far on your looks in this world. Show me something that hooks me instead of an endless round of bland songs by bland people with bland talent. Then I might have a reason to stick it out for more shows.
To be sure, I couldn’t get up and sing as well as any of these people, although I do have perfect pitch and would make a decent judge. Simon Cowell said he didn’t want to patronize the viewers at home, but isn’t that just what this show does? I’m still not sure…not sure why I’d bother to watch the young, thin, predictably cute (with the exceptional of a few overweight, wacky singers) continue to strut their stuff, the SAME stuff…singing the same sort of sappy, unosphisticated songs I could hear in a bad piano bar, more than once? Worse, if Mr. Cowell doesn’t want to patronize us, why not put together a show where the audience actually matters and where we can do more than just value celebrity, season after season, putting our hopes on strangers.
I am not sure about a lot of things, but I am certain that I will not be watching American Idol very often….ok….maybe the final, final, final round.