Friday, May 2, 2008

"Empty" Idol.

This is a blog about popular culture, but I try to avoid the subject of reality TV. It's not Story....or is it? A recent incident illustrates why I despise American Idol.

American Idol is nothing more than a record-industry machine set up to discover the next undistinguished voice in a can. Yes, it's true, many of the singers are not ready for a record contract. Many more, in the early elimination shows, are simply awful; but I believe that most people can a be trailed to at least sing passable. Just as many performers who get savaged weekly by the petty and cruel Simon Cowell--who has never, to my knowledge, sung publicly--already have voices that are assets to their communities. Idol looses site of the fact that music is not just a business, it's a force of nature. I go to work and hear "Idol"chatter in the breakroom, and all I can conclude is that "Idol" is there to help people who are out of touch with their artisic passion feel superior to those who aren't.

I'll admit to enjoying the occasional Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood song, but think about this: Idol would have never given us such unconventional voices as Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, Janis Joplin or Joanie Mitchell.

The only reality show that's ever really held my attention was Rock Star: INXS. INXS was my favorite band at one time, and the outcome was important to me, even if it was a done deal before the last show. I'm not sure whether this incident indicates that American Idol is rigged, or just that Paula Abdul is loosing it (which we knew). Either way, give me a sitcom, courtroom drama or police procedural instead, any day.

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