Unless you’re a great lover of musical talent, or you’re a fan of talent competitions like American Idol, this piece won’t interest you.
I was a fan. No more.
I started watching “Idol” on a regular basis three years ago. Though much of the show is fluff and inane dialogue among judges, some of whom have not been qualified to be a judge, it was still entertaining when we would see young men and women giving their all, singing their hearts out in pursuit of a dream.
In Season 7, Syesha Mercado was clearly the best talent on the show, behind her, possible the boyish David Archuleta and his wonderful vocal range. The winner emerged as David Cook, fine young man with a sexy beard and a guitar, with a mediocre voice and an ordinary talent. Basically, he fit the mold that turns on young voters, a cookie cutter image, if you will. Because the final twelve are elected by millions of votes from the viewing audience (the judge’s have no say-so), it occurred to me that the greatest majority of voters are teenage girls and young women. Ergo, cute boy with guitar.
In Season 8, Adam Lambert was the Secretariat next to the rest of the field, far and away the great talent. Despite his in-your-face, gay flamboyancy, no one could argue that his command of the stage and his versatility in various singing genre was unmatchable, probably by anyone ever in the history of American Idol. Yet, he stood on stage only to receive second prize, when the winner was announced: Kris Allen, cute boy with guitar with mediocre voice. Cookie cutter.
In Season 9, (2010) Crystal Bowersox, a major talent who should have won, didn’t have the right stuff to convince the Idol voters she was more deserving than…who else? Cookie cutter, Lee Dewyze, cute boy with guitar and mediocre voice.
Last night, an entertainment tragedy occurred when Pia Toscano was voted off, a tragedy not only for Pia, but for the integrity of American Idol. Again, it was all predictable.
2011 has been a fine year for the final twelve, compared to years past. The talent is superb. The original twelve have (so far) been pared down to nine, with another kid eliminated each week based on popular voting. Ironically, each week, the eliminated have been girls, not boys.
Do girls vote for girls? Do any of the female singers fit in the cookie cutter?
I know a little about music, having been my other hat since the age of six. So, I write from a position of some knowledge. The girls eliminated so far have been wonderful, just as good or better than most of the male contestants. But none stood out more than Pia Toscano, whose incredible range and phenomenal poise clearly made her the Secretariat-like front runner among all contestants. She is what stars are made of. Nevertheless, the bobby-soxer voting majority put her at the bottom of the remaining list of nine contestants, losing to cute boys like Paul McDonald and Stefano Langone, cookie cuts, each.
I never saw a judge’s panels so shocked when the announcement came.
I hope the music industry showers Pia Toscano with contracts and records deals, regardless who wins in the end. She deserves it, much like the case with Adam Lambert, who emerged as the major Vegas star, while the winner of season 8, Kris Allen, is barely known.
My days of watching Idol are over until the show’s system is modified to give equal weight to the votes of the judges, much like Dancing With The Stars, and other competitions. My sensibilities toward altruism makes me believe that the best should win. And that’s not going to happen on this show.