Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Cruel Folly of American Idol: Another human sludge pile takes it on the chin.

What to say for this shrieking sideshow? It exploits America’s obsession with the great Hollywood dream. Some skeptical impressions:

Do the producers purposely select these early-round weirdos and off-key clowns just to bait Simon Cowell?— or to prove that raw talent can be shaped into starhood only on AI?. That’s what some Seattle-based bloggers think. They claim that the eliminations (last year, I think) excluded some of the city’s top talent.

Going out of my way to watch the first round last night (in total, over the years I’ve watched a total of about two hours of Idol), I wonder if this country is so pathetically bereft of talent.
Don’t kick a loser when he’s down: Last night, Randy Jackson (wasn’t he supposed to be the really nice guy?) lashed out at a vocal coach after his audition: not only was the vocal coach a no-talent singer according to Jackson, but he was in effect committing malpractice by taking on students.

Ouch. Bad taste. Stupid and uncalled for, Randy. Don’t you know that some of the best teachers are themselves failures at what they teach? Or do you suffer from Simon envy? I felt sorry for the vocal coach, who took Jackson’s nasty tirade with class, and I remembered that some wonderful instructors I’ve had who probably did not realize their own dreams.

But in the Idol insane asylum, that would be too logical and far too polite.

Enough idolhood for the moment. Maybe at the bitter-suite end (what, in another 15 months?), I’ll devote another hour to watching the contrived spectacle reach a contrived climax.
Any Gong Show reruns schedule?

There it was tonight, in Minneapolis and starting all over. Another sludge pile of hopefuls, some of them possibly real, others maybe set up for entertainment value. I laughed at the weird ones who either had been set up or genuinely believed in themselves. I felt sorry for others, and I always, of course, waited to see what Simon would say or, how he would look in grave shock when another hack wannabe started to "sing." Hands over face. Eyes to the sky. Eyes closed.
Randy lost whatever cool he had, tearing into a vocal coach after the dude failed to impress the panel, telling the guy in effect that his students were losers to by taking lessons from him. Oh? Randy seems oblivious to one of the great and sad irones of life: Some of the best teachers are those who will never make it themselves.

How far do you go trying to be another Simon when you are not Simon?

Watching the vocal coach struggle not to lose his composure in the face of such a reckless and ignorant attack, I thought of some of the wonderful instructos I’ve had, knowing they some of them made have had ambitions like myself and yet did not realize their own dreams. Randy went beyond the pale, surprising even dissmaster Simon. Or was this, too, a setup?
But then again, isn’t that what tv is all about these days – going beyond the pale to shock and titillate and keep viewers wondering who next might be assaulted by a judge’s acerbic tongue.
That’s enough idlehood for me until maybe the final episode.

Yes, showbiz can be cruel, a fact that underpins these traumatic auditions.

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