Against the Grain

Slightly more than just jibba jabba

Why oh WHY did I watch American Idol

Posted by Patrick on 1 May 2007

As a disclaimer, I will say up front that I have never, ever watched American Idol before tonight — not in any of the previous seasons, not any of the side-effect shows, nothing, never. Even now some 3 hours after the telecast, I am baffled and truly at a loss for words as to why I sat through 45 minutes of American Idol’s tribute to Bon Jovi tonight? Bon Jovi was the best part of the show by far. So, this show is really the most popular thing on tv in America? Man, this country needs help on the real.

The show concept itself is not that bad — a singing competition where half the world auditions and the audience/viewers vote on who was the worst and gets to have their dreams crushed while the winner gets a record deal. But, ok let’s be real. It’s a 1-hour show, so w/out commercials it’s 42 minutes of content. Tonight there were 6 contestants singing a 2-3 minute song each. That’s less than half of the program time even on the long end. WTF is this show really about?

Why are there even judges if they don’t have any say in what happens except to rally and rile the studio audience? Feedback is one thing, and that’s all well and good, but watching that nutnuzzler Simon play to the audience the whole show just got tiresome. And I won’t even go into what’s going on with Paula Abdul there — her eyes were so glassed over I thought she was hitting a J between commecials. Only Randy Jackson was even respectable as a judge. Ryan Seacrest was ok, but he didn’t do anything for me as a host, and that’s exactly how it should be.

Man, when I think about this kind of crap getting 26.5+ million viewers a week, and I think it’s on twice a week (double wtf), it truly makes me wonder what this nation is coming to. While it’s true that every winner of American Idol that I can think of, and I can honestly name 4 without having ever seen the show, has gone on to do something wildly successful, I wonder how much of their success is based on pure hype from the show. It just makes me nauseous to see the rampant “studio fans” holding up signs and squealing like stuck hogs when their favorite gets up and belts out a cover song.

Culturally, shows like this gaining viewership by nearly 10% of the entire population just goes to further testify how steadily the intelligence in this country is declining. In fact, if I browse last week’s Nielsen ratings by total viewers, 9 of the top 20 shows are either medical or police drama, 5 are reality shows and/or their results show (for the record I think having a results show is a demonstration that the network has nothing to put on TV), and the other 6 are a mix of sleaze, drama and sitcom. Nothing in the top 20 that teaches a minor anything of value, let’s put it that way. The only first-season show making the top 20 weekly is Heroes, and it isn’t even winning in it’s east coast time slot.

So, while I could plead with mother nature to let me have my hour back, I’ll accept that I attempted to give american idol a chance and just learn from it. If nothing else, I at least got to see a bucktoothed soul sista sing a Bon Jovi song, which I thought I was going to get through today without seeing, but I thought she was pretty good.


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