American Idol 2011: Traumas Continue to Eclipse Talent

28 01 2011

I’ll be up front, I haven’t watched a season of “American Idol” from beginning to end since 2006- or as I like to call it, The Year Chris Daughtry Should Have Won.

My opinion of and interest in the competition series has changed from the Kelly & Carrie days- back when talent triumphed over whatever tale of trauma the participant was toting.

Arguably, the audition episodes are no more than an expensive forum for shenanigans and sob-stories. Some of the contestants who really set themselves apart in Hollywood week or on the final stage aren’t even showcased during the selection period. (The “Top #” group has ranged from a final 8 to 13.)

 It is telling that rules or protocol have changed from season to season- with the age requirement/range and wild card round being prime examples. The age thing makes me think that they know the quality of the show isn’t what it has been, and they are reaching as young as possible to try to find a Justin Bieber or Miley Cyurs kind of gold. (ATTN AI PRODUCERS: ONE OF THEM IS ENOUGH!)  As for the wild card, it worked for four seasons and it really made for a burst of excitement (or anger, depending on who was picked) right before the finals. LWhy not reintroduce that to spice things up instead of letting middle schoolers audition?

I think that it is time for ‘Idol’ to bow out gracefully- much like Simon Cowell just did.  Nobody in the 19 Entertainment offices took it as a clue when Cowell turned down over $100 million contract that maybe the show had run it’s course?

I digress.

The issue at hand is

From the beginning, instead of a short backstory about why these people love to sing, their experience level, and their goals if chosen- we got tears.  (I’m looking at you, Jim Verraros.)

Dozens of bloggers have posted about last night’s episode, which featured a four-minute segment on Chris Medina, 26, from Chicago, IL.  Before he was even able to get out the title of his chosen audition tune (“Break Even” by The Script), Medina became the latest face on the seasons-old issue: The Sympathy Vote.

Now, don’t misunderstand, my heart is not made of stone.  I got a little choked up when Randy, J.Lo, and Steven Tyler asked Medina to bring his fiance, Juliana, in to meet them.  A little act of kindness from these percieved untouchable, mega-celebs is always welcome!
Contrary to others online, I don’t think that Medina was in any way trying to exploit his situation or his fiance… But these sort of scenarios are thrust upon us watching at home way too early in the game.  Sharing the tragedies of their past off the bat makes contestants memorable for the wrong reasons.

Yahoo! Blogger Lyndsey Parker hit the nail on the head with this morning’s “Reality Rocks” column, in which she pointed out “TV producers love this sort of tearjerking tale and the buzz it creates. So if any exploitation was perpetrated, the producers are probably to blame, not Chris.”

Parker really got me thinking…  All of my anger is displaced! I shouldn’t be upset with Danny Gokey for going on (and on and on) about his late wife, or Chris Golightly for playing the orphan card, or even Lil Rounds for bringing up the whole homeless by tornado thing.

The dozens of bloggers who so quickly aimed to crucify Chris Medina should all take a step back and acknowledge that Medina wouldn’t have just offered up this painful experience if nobody interviewed him beforehand.

Why can the hordes of hopefuls not just come in, sing, and leave- with or without their golden ticket?

If the intentions of the big shots over at ‘Idol’ was truly to find the next great musical icon, the emphasis should be on the 10 or so bunch of finalists, not the hundreds of dressed up, tone-deaf idiots who make it on-air for the first month.




One response

25 09 2014

American Idol 2011: Traumas Continue to Eclipse Talent | Marshall Lately

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