You’re On Notice: Volume One: American Idol.


Hi Lady,

I’ve been really getting down about the state of TV today. Have you noticed? Not much on any more. Even the shows I’ve loved and supported because of their outstanding creativity have stopped trying (c’mon Ugly Betty!). Now it seems I’ve reached my limit with the King of Kings. American Idol, you’re on notice. 

I took this on the Season 1 Red Carpet!

I took this on the Season 1 Red Carpet!

Now, you know I have been a freakish  AI fan from day one. Remember me surprise calling you from the Kodak Theater on the night Kelly Clarkson won? I saved the tickets, the glossy from the red carpet (signed by all but Kelly and Justin) and the confetti. Then I framed it. Yes. You know it. And I hung it on a wall. With a nail. then i moved out of that house and its still there, but whatever. 


And my love for the show has ebbed and flowed, out and out missing the Carrie Underwood year after the nightmarish Fantasia win, but I came back. Yes, I sat there an watched Taylor Hicks win (why America, why??). But out of it rose Daughtry. And I liked it. And last year the dueling David’s actually had me a bit torn. Good stuff.  But this year, all the contestants are so <meh> <shrug> that the chinks in the show’s armor are showing. I need to get it off my chest.

The Judges. Simon. We love him, right. I do. Always have. You know you do too. But let’s talk about the others. Paula Abdul, while stepping up her game is still the most inappropriate person to be judging a singing contest. If it were American Cheerleader or America’s Got Oxycontin, you’re my gal. But you could barely sing as an “artist”. No, actually you didn’t sing. And although I do admit to love Straight Up and My Love Is For Real, you were embarrassingly inept and not even hot enough to rely on looks.  Shouldn’t you have gone away after your peak and stayed there? No, let’s hire her to judge singers. While we’re at it, let’s hire Journey’s touring bassist for one tour during their low point to judge as well. Wait, I’m not kidding. They really did that. And at least as a real producer and musician I could expect constructive criticism. Not so much. For 7 years it’s been the same 5 phrases. Just vague shit like, “Dawg, it just didn’t click with me”, “It was just a’igh”, and “you worked it out, dawg”. None of this helps any one. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to just get a Tickle Me Randy doll to spout pre-programmed phrases? Then at least we could enjoy him vibrating and rolling around on the ground as well. And then there’s Kara. Finally, they hire someone who’s pretty, funny, smart and has actually held jobs in the industry. And yes, she can write, sing, perform and be coherent. But what do we get from America? They don’t like her. Sorry they hired a woman with an opinion. But, nonetheless, I’m sure they’ll fire her and next year will be like a new Simpsons episode…all back to square one. Maybe Dunkleman needs a roommate. 

The Band. Where did they get this pack of wedding players. Every single week Simon says someone’s performance sounded like “Bad Karaoke” or “A Hotel Lounge Singer. Well I blame the band and the entire creative team. Time after time we get these middle aged studio hacks tossing out tricks they learned while on tour with Marilyn McCoo’s Solid Gold tour in 1983. Even Celine Dion is hipper than these numbnuts. If the goal of the show is to find the next big star, lets look at what is selling and realize that none of the Top 40 stuff (no matter how much you hate it) is backed by 3 bingo playing fat girls and a balding bass player in a rented suit. The songs that sell are sleak, polished, new and ten times more creative than this. Close your eyes while Anoop did his 80’s tune last night and you had full on Michael Bolton circa ’90. Ya, that’s what the kids love. Which brings me to…

Themes. It just seems like most of them force these poor kids to choose tunes from before they were born or from their childhood. This week was Soundtrack songs. Soundtracks haven’t been a viable market since Diane Warren died (she’s dead right?I’m pretty sure I ran her over) after the Godzilla Soundtrack made more than the film. When you think soundtrack blockbusters, you think Bryan Adams, Kenny Loggins and Bette Midler. So how could their choices NOT sound dated. The week before, “Songs of the Year They Were Born”. Once again, 80’s. And what do kids remember from their childhood? Cheesy pop hits, not cool gems like we do. Then before that, “The Hits of Michael Jackson!” Its been so long since he’s had a hit, the boys who were born during his last reign wouldn’t even stimulate him anymore. Next week, DISCO! Way to keep hit hip Idol. That’s what all the kids are buying. Is Kathy Lee Gifford programming this show? 

And finally, YOU. Yes, you America. Danny Gokey, no matter how good of a bar singer he is, will not sell records. Stop voting for him. Scott the blind dude. Sweet story. Tell it to Reader’s Digest, but keep it off store shelves. As much as Simon keeps saying its a singing competitition, you, America, make it a popularity contest. We’ll call it  HicksFantasiaRuben Syndrome. Sweet stories. Good people, I’m sure. But will you buy their CD of ORIGINAL material, not covers of Neil Diamond songs? No, you won’t. Because deep in side your dark cold hearts you know good music. That’s not it. Close your eyes once in a while while the show is on and imagine that sound coming out of a CD player not a TV. In that player is a CD you paid $15 for. Are you ashamed. Wished you’d gotten that new Prince CD instead? You will. 


But you know, I’ll keep watching it, right? Adam will win. We’ll all be thrilled. Then he’ll put out that weird, generic, self-titled, 19 Productions CD in a year filled with Disneylike Showtunes with a techno backbeat and a duet with Catherine McPhee, and you’ll pass it over for something else.  Someone who actually worked hard and wrote a song or two, hopefully. Because its good. Well, its most likely better, and so are you. This show I love, not so much. 

Idol, you’re on notice, with all of us. 

Jamie, I’m tired from all the ranting. See you in LA in a few weeks!! 




2 Responses to “You’re On Notice: Volume One: American Idol.”

  1. Jamie Says:

    You could not be more right about this. I said to Andrew just this week that I miss Kelly Clarkson. I miss her spunk, I miss her imperfection. This group of contestants can sing pretty well. With the exception of that idiot Gokey, I think they’re all fairly good. They are just BORING. So bloody boring.

    I think Adam is kind of a douche bag, but I LOVED his version of Mad World a few weeks back. With all the wedding band drivel that these kids have to sing, I thought that was a legitimate artistic statement and he killed it. I lowered his douche quotient just a tiny bit for that. And he brought the spark back to Simon’s eye for about 30 seconds. Anything that makes Simon happy, makes me happy.

    Frankly, I don’t give two craps who wins this year. As long as it isn’t Danny Gokey, I will be able to sleep at night.

    Oh! and look how cute Simon was back in the day with his puffy hair. GRRRRRRRRR.

  2. Chase Says:


    I’m there with you. I may watch some serious shit television, but I’m constantly on the lookout for something new. All these shows are starting to feel recycled or just phoning it in episode after episode. So keep us posted on anything new you see out there. I’ll return the favor if I find something myself 🙂

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