21 January 2007

[zeitgeist_sunday] News Flash: American Idol Judges are Mean!

715 We have, thus far, remained safe, secure and immune from the electronic drug that is American Idol; the manufactured stars it produces we don't find amusing, interesting, or particularly inspiring. In particular, we find that Taylor Hicks has a fan following strongly suggestive that Hell is full and the dead walk the earth.

But this season, we dipped our toes in. The Season Six premiere was on the big screen at the Tik Tok and the closed-captioning was on so that The Wife™ could see it, and we were really gobstopped by the people who dared to try. Now, it doesn't take an A&R genius to know that these people are, the most of them, chosen for their entertainment value; the also-rans, if sufficiently bad, are much, much more entertaining than a glowing audition show full of successes.

We love snarky bad reviews much more than happy reviews of good things. We also think David Walker is underrated, but we digress (where have you gone, D.K. Holm? Good times).

The trademark snark of Bertelsmann's A&R man Simon Cowell has become legendary. Of course, the spectacle of AI gets people tuning in, but when it gets right down to it, you'll come for the acts, but you'll stay for the insults. From our points of view it seems that it's one of the major reasons that AI is so damned popular. So one can imagine our amusement when a writer for the AP, in Saturday's Oregonian, that the Idol judges are...perish the thought...mean.

I mean, it's a true enough criticism, but isn't it a little like criticizing a tree for being green? It's kind of an obvious and pointless thing to say. And if it's true that the formerly-tender mercies of Paula and Randy have developed a jagged edge, I suppose that going down this road now six times will kind of do it to you (still, we'd trade thier problems for theirs in a second).

It's not to say that there weren't inspiring moments, such as the blond girl (we forget her name) who had the bad judgment to try a Blondie song for her audition. We've spent our time in the karaoke pit of honor and shame and if there's one truth there, it's this; Blondie songs are only good for oversinging at karaoke. Simon asked her to name a favorite singer; she said Shakira, and did a Shakira bit, and that got her the Golden Ticket (nice stealing from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, guys).

But most of the rest were truly dreadful. That fellow who Simon compared to a bush baby didn't deserve to go on, or his big friend; the voice coach who Randy savaged didn't move us either, and that red-haired fellow at the last of the Seattle auditions should really seek professional help.

The professional entertaining business, we hear, is rough. From what we've heard, those folks got it easy and got it early. They may chase their dreams of peformance, and if they do, they may look at the harsh words of the Idol judges as kindness personified. And, yes, we think they are setting themselves up for it. This show's been on for six years. How much more warning do they need?

(NB: Photo of Simon nicked from a random blog who nicked it from someone else. Words in background added by me. Credit will be gratefully acknowledged by me if I ever find out who actually created the base photo)

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4 comments:

cathy said...

I see even with the wrath that hath been wrought upon you by the Idol machine, you are coming back for more. That says something about the appeal, does it not.

I take exception to your comment:
"the manufactured stars it produces we don't find amusing, interesting, or particularly inspiring. In particular, we find that Taylor Hicks has a fan following strongly suggestive that Hell is full and the dead walk the earth." The fan base for Mr. Hicks are unusual and far from being hellish ,are musically astute, mature for the most part and far from being the walking dead, alive , active, energetic, dedicated, and excited to have an actual person who is worth emulation to shower their plaudits upon.

Hope you find something to bring a little joy into your life as you watch Idol 6. I have already found mine in Idol 5.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

I feel as though I've had one stern talking to.

Cathy, you saith:

I see even with the wrath that hath been wrought upon you by the Idol machine, you are coming back for more. That says something about the appeal, does it not.

Well, no, it does not.

I will give you credit for perhaps the most interesting use of words ever on this 'blog of scant note...and I've tried awful hard.

No wrath, as far as I can see, has been wrought upon me by any machine...Idol, or otherwise. Trust me, I may not amount to much, but if I was wrathed upon, I'd be wrathin' right back.

Further, you say:

I take exception to your comment:....

Exception noted. I take execption to your exception.

Actually, I will cop to maybe going a little over the top there with that "Hell is full" stuff. Sarcasm is one of my many signature vices. But I'm sincere about my feelings about the creative issue of the wrathful Idol machine.

When I think of the musicianship of such artists as Roy Orbison, Frank Sinatra, you name 'em...the golden age of American musical performance...I just don't get moved by the Idol. They're a spectacle in and of themselves, sure, and if one goes for that sort of thing, well, more power to them, but the whole Idol pop machine, for me, is a big put off.

Maybe it would be a little different if the winner wasn't strictly a popularity contest. Any competitor might turn in the performance of a lifetime, but if they are the popular kid...forget it. They're out. That seems wrong.

And, hey, if you like Taylor Hicks, like I said, more power to you. All that "Soul Patrol" schtick just seemed phony to me.

Further, you say:

Hope you find something to bring a little joy into your life as you watch Idol 6. I have already found mine in Idol 5.

"As I watch Idol 6"? Where did I say I was making a habit of it? At best, we'eve condescended to watch a bare couple of the audition eps.

Objection, counselor: assumes facts not in evidence. Of course, as the season grinds on we'll have to endure fake-news American Idol reports on our local FOX affiiate, so I guess we can't avoid it...but actually make a habit of watching it? Oh no. Nonono.

Thanks for commenting though.

Anonymous said...

"the voice coach who Randy savaged"

Snap into a Slim Jim, Oooohhhhhh yyyeeeaaaahhhh!!! History beckons the Macho Man!

(In other words, I noticed that little juxtaposition of words...)

:)

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Nice catch, Stan.

Actually, that was an accident–wasn't really going for that one, but maybe it was my inner pro-wrestling fan whispering in my ear.

Coincidentally, we got a little box of mini-Slim Jims (not spicy-hardly worth bothering with) and they were tough to open.

I'm thinking we maybe got a tough cut of snapalope.