11:46 a.m. - January 16, 2007
(No, it's not me - unlike other reports you may have read. Besides, my red cloak is at the cleaners and my pitchfork needs new tines. And my development deal with Fox got cancelled anyway. I blame my politics.)
American Idol returns in all of its splendor.
Now, I will admit that I have watched it in the past. I invested myself in two seasons of it (the ones that Rupert and Fantasia won) and I vowed that I'd never go back. But I watched the final last year because my brother and sister-in-law were staying over and they asked to see the final.
But I'm not going to get sucked into it again.
For one, the whole process after they get to the final 12 is terribly flawed. Yes, they give the voting power to the people, and once in a while they get it right, but many times they kick off singers well before their time (like Jennifer Hudson, or Amy Adams).
For two, they want to MOLD someone to be part of the big machine. Take last year's winner, Taylor Hicks. He's a good performer and can work a crowd. But it's telling that the reviews of his latest record say that the best songs on it are the ones HE wrote, while the assembly line dreck written by hacks like Diane Warren and Bryan Adams, will be pushed. The single they released right after he won, "Do I Make You Proud" was awful. A 12-year old orangutan could have written it (and not be as trite).
For three, they never venture outside of the safety zone. They want the big belters and the crooners, and they want everyone to sing the same songs. When they do get a guest artist as a theme, they always pick the safest songs and don't get edgy.
I'd love to see someone belt out "Only One Winner", written by Todd Rundgren. It's a ballad and very nice and moving. Taylor Hicks could rip that song up.
But I guess they don't want to be edgy. They want to be safe so that Clay Aiken can get cuddled by housewives - the same audience that never caught on to Liberace's predilection. (Yes, I said it, or implied it. Nothing wrong with it - be true to yourself Clay.)
(BTW - during his season they had him and Neil Sedaka sharing the same stage. Oh, my. I'd love to hear him sing "Bad Blood". You know, if Elton John joined them we'd have a trifecta in effect!)
And for four - the auditions have totally lost their novelty and are excruciatingly lame. Yes, there are people that are delusional, and there are people who are only put on TV because they are lame and they know it and they just are fame-whores that want to be on TV for 15 seconds or so.
It's getting really predictable.
"Ghastly, appalling, repulsive..."
And what about these judges?
Randy, well, he has a background as a session bass player and was in Journey for a while when Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain decided to neuter the band and make it the lamest act possible. He's also a record producer, and a former label executive, but from what I see, his records have the least amount of soul possible.
Paula had some hits, and can dance. But do you remember the controversy about her first album? A backup singer claimed that she was a 'co-lead' vocalist. Now that wasn't proven, however, how processed is her voice anyway? I mean, really, she says people are pitchy when they put her voice through about 21,457 sequencers?
And Simon, well someone has to be the dick. He has a career as an A & R man in Britain, but again, his bands are the pop-star of the month. He seems to favor the totally disposable records.
No one there seems to want to push the artists to do anything outside the box. They want them all in the box. Well, that's OK, but good art is being outside the box. And you can make great pop music outside of the box.
The only time I really enjoyed the show is after the auditions but before the final 12. There, the judges made sense and served a purpose, and it was interesting to see who made it. Of course they STILL screwed things up by favoring a 'look' instead of 'talent'.
So, I'm going to avoid Idol. Yes, I will know who won because you can't avoid it, really. But I have a meeting with our church treasurer at 8 tonight (I'm taking over the finance committee) and then, I may watch my TiVoed show about the French Revolution with Edward Herman narrating.
Or perhaps I'll call Liz and have her TiVo "This Butt's 4 U 2 Part 2". The description says "Sultry women (Brianna Devil, Lisa Ann, Mia Rose) make their lovers smile." But I didn't see Part 1, so I hope I can catch up. Perhaps they'll have a recap?