Why I Watch "American Idol"

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

[I posted the following comment at Tom the Dog's You Know What I Like pop culture blog the other day, but it bears repeating, so I'm repeating it, despite its utter irrelevance to crosswords - unless RYAN SEACREST ever appears in a grid ... it can't be long now]

Why I Watch "American Idol," by Rex Parker

I watch "American Idol." Religiously (it's what you're supposed to do; that's why the word "Idol" is in the name). There is much to hate about the whole phenomenon that is "AI," but I have to say that at its core it is pure: people sing, live, and they can or they can't sing (mostly the latter, but occasionally, gloriously, the former).

OK, so the voting is ridiculous (dominated by texting 'tweens, from what I can gather) and every "original" song ever sung on the show has been spleen-searingly horrible and Paula Abdul doesn't deserve to be making $7.25/hr let alone the truckloads of money she's currently getting paid for her few weekly minutes of amiable, drug-addled stammering ... Hmmm, yes, on reflection, there is a lot to hate. But, three things to love: a. the unedited immediacy of it (again, you can sing or you canNot); b. the occasional fantastic singer (there are at least two this season); and c., if you aren't into the positive, then dig the negative: "AI" is a great cultural mirror, in that you can tell what's wrong with society by examining the voting results. Currently, the voting results are reflecting back "RACISM" - in that no white singer has Ever left the show before his/her time, while very good black singers (plural) get prematurely ditched Every Single Year (happened to Jennifer Hudson, happened again this past week, etc.). So, racism = bad, but a show that shows America just how totally f-ing racist it is? Oh yeah, that's good.

In case I have any lingering hipster cred left after that impassioned defense of "A.I.," allow me to squander it by saying [again, it turns out] that I hated "Seinfeld" and liked "Friends."

At least we can all agree that "According to Jim" is proof of the existence of Evil.

8 comments:

Chris 2:22 PM  

I don't watch religiously, but I've watched enough to know that Melinda Doolittle should win in a landslide this year. She's absolutely fantastic. Listening to her sing live is like listening to a polished studio recording. Plus, she seems like such a meek little thing when she's not on stage, and then when the spotlight's on, she's totally awesome. She's the opposite of Michigan J. Frog. I really hope she wins.

Also, the guys suck and can't sing worth a lick.

Anonymous 3:43 PM  

AI = Artificial Interview. Fake.
My friend is a rabid fan and I have to sit and watch and say nothing while she giggles and cheers like a Red Sox fan on tofu!
It's dumbest piece of crud to ever air on the boob tube!

Rex Parker 4:15 PM  

Dumbest ever? HA ha, you clearly don't watch enough TV. I direct your attention to "Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire?" and "When Animals Attack IV," among others.

RP

Orange 4:53 PM  

You forgot about Jackass, Rex.

I haven't seen a full episode of AI this season, but the one minute of Melinda I saw? Wow. She came across like a 40-year-old star who's been strutting her stuff for two decades.

Erik Riese 6:50 PM  

I love reading your pieces about the NYT x-word pzl. Now I've learned some more about your life, thanks!

I haven't had a TV since 1979 but I've follwed AI on the pages of newspapers. NYT, USAToday, WSJ, my local - StarTribune:NewspaperOfTheTwinCities - and on the net. I almost convined to seek out a TV for an episode sometime tonight.

Andrew 5:16 AM  

it is true, American Idol is the greatest show on television. Everyone who is vaguely curious must watch Melinda and LaKisha perform - you can see them on youtube but you have got to watch them on the show as it happens to get chills and realize that a star is born.

DA 12:43 AM  

G'day Rex, how ya going?

Anyway - apologies for the time lag, but mail is slow getting to Oz. So in answer to your query, posted on Jan 7, re YABBER and APPLE ISLE:

a) yep, Aussies jabber, yammer and yabber - its all the same guff down here. YABBER derives from an Aboriginal language, viz the Wuywurrung tongue - and it's stuck in the vocab.

b) affirmative. Tasmania is aka the Apple Isle, due to the orchard biz. The same state is also invoked in an anatomical context. To be delicate, I refer you to the island's silhouette.

Any more antipodean conundrums, you know who to call. Just don't expect a prompt reply. Keep up the quality yabbering.

Donald 3:48 AM  
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