Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dear Prime Time Television-

Dear American Idol,
The other night you caught up with me and reminded me exactly why I avoided you for so many years. You are still the most BORING THING ON TELEVISION. Taking mediocre singers with an imposed semblance of style to karaoke songs too boring for my grandmother to listen to? Not since the introduction of Britney Spears has the music industry manufactured such shame and exploited America's children for a cheap form of under-talented, fluffed up amusement.
I'm sorry, but you are a poor excuse for entertainment. There is nothing groundbreaking about your programming and virtually no creativity involved in puppetering insecure teenagers to re-hash pop songs. I've seen more originality and inspired performances in a dive karaoke bar. In fact, the one honest voice is the show's producer, Simon Cowell, and every tidbit of constructive criticism he offers up is boo'd by the audience, whom I can only assume is comprised of a roomful of ignorant, brain-numbingly ignorant teens from some white-bread, cookie-cutter suburb. How is it always such a shock that a judge, of all people, would make suggestions on how to improve a performance?!? Not only is that the primary function of a judge, but- for crying out loud! In the entertainment industry, one would be LUCKY to get feedback after an audition! You don't TALK BACK to your director- the person who is there to coach you to becoming a performer someone would actually want to watch. That little stage you're on isn't so we can simply sit around you, clap enthusiastically and groom your ego with undue praise- last time I looked, I'm not your mother; you should be working to prove you deserve to even BE there.

What I find most disturbing about the concept of American Idol is that these teens, these children, are meant to be molded into "idols." Our immortal icons of music are such because they possessed a charisma, a style, an inherent sense of self-expression that draws us in and demands to be heard. But during the course of the program, most of these potential "idols" don't play or even write their own music...I'm at a loss as to understanding what- if anything- an "American Idol" actually contributes to American music.
While I don't watch and hardly follow this show, due to it's crushingly disappointing standards cited above, I must admit a fear goes through me when I see the less-experienced sensations prostituted in their final episodes. On occasion, an actual personality is shown as a finalist- as for whether their music is any good, rarely do we hear more than a one-hit wonder from the "winner" of this twice-weekly broadcast fiasco. In fact, most the others are tossed by the wayside, used as disposable fodder for back-up vocals during their brilliant marketing plan to construct a sad gasp for extending the fantasy through a publicity streak "tour." I'm fully aware I'm overthinking this situation, but...honestly! The frightening reality of this show is that these kids are completely under-deserving, under-qualified and unprepared for true stardom. They spend weeks showboating and doing as their told, barely above hyjacking a lip-synched version of another star's hit, only to be exposed as a used up pawn in a ratings scheme. It's like setting off short-lived poppers expecting dynamite and occasionally resulting with a 15 minutes of fame sparkler.
Good enough? Perhaps. Idol? Let's not speak so strongly.


V.I.C.K.I. said...

Hate AI, can't watch it. Do you think Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Janice Joplin would have ever made it on American Idol? Thankfully, no.

Salt H2O said...

You forget my friend that American Idol is not totally void of value, for it gave us Kelly Clarkson, who continues to give betrayed disappointed women anthems to rock to.

Aside from that (and Jennifer Hudson) you're right- AI blows.

f*bomb. said...

A showcased musical talent show where personalities may possibly emerge to show staying power? Sure. Perhaps a more appropriate title than "American Idol" would be, "Kids Singing Mediocre Ballads that will Hopefully Sell Singles for a Year."

Tamara Atkin said...

I think it is a good venue for people to be discovered. Like it or not there will always be stars like brittany spears and whatever boy bands are totally marketed from out of nowhere. Why not give more people a chance to be those exploited, but very famous and wealthy teens. The fact that they don't writed music is why they can never truly be great or idols, but they can get at least 15 minutes or months of fame. I really like crystal bowersox this year. If she writes, she can be so much more than what AI usually produces. Chris Daughtry writes and is very talented (of course he didn't win), I'm pretty sure that Kelly Clarkson writes her songs and Carrie Underwood has also become a legitimate star. Lee Dwyze will probably win this year, but what will he do after that. Crystal will probably go on to be a big star. Did anyone see her perform "Bobbie McGhee?" I think she did a version from "Pink" I loved it.

f*bomb. said...

I love how much you love this Bowersox girl. I will say this- I saw her on the night that inspired this post (one of the first shows with a dozen kids still in the running) and it was OBVIOUS she was the most talented person to be on that stage. Hence, the difference between a puppet being marketed toward an audience and a true talent that stands out because of their strength and character.

True for so many things...