American Idol has officially been back on the air now for a couple weeks, but I haven’t watched a show yet. The real American Idol doesn’t start until Hollywood Week. That’s when I’ll start watching and become invested. These early audition shows are garbage. Almost ten years in, we know how the audition process works. Thousands of hopefuls are herded into stadiums and forced to wait for hours for their 30-second opportunity to maybe make it in front of the judges. TV doesn’t accurately portray the process, but why would it? It’s tedious and far from glamorous. All viewers see is people running out of the room with a yellow sheet of paper, screaming and celebrating with their families. Everything is manufactured and staged. From the back story sob-pieces to the bickering banter between the judges, it’s all a scripted formula and you’re extremely gullible if you fall for it.
As for the “bad” singers that somehow make it to television–I’ve had enough. It’s exploration all the way around. Producers know what will get ratings and attention whore wannabe singers know what will get them on TV. It’s an annoying cycle that needs to end. The tipping point this year is the “Pants on the Ground” song. The Idol producers knew this guy was way to old to ever make the show, but they threw him in front of the cameras and judges for America to laugh at him, not with him. It’s really quite sad. I don’t think the guy had an agenda to get on TV, but obviously the producers saw something and used it for the show’s gain. And unfortunately, it worked. Sure, he’s gotten his fifteen minutes, but at what cost? He’s just the latest in the long line of jesters that Idol has created and spit out. The theme of “Pants on the Ground” is admirable, but when Brett Favre is singing it in the locker room after a playoff win, the shark has been jumped. You already know Mr. Pants is booked for the season finale in May. Guaranteed.
Now, going forward, the two huge plots to watch for will be Ellen DeGeneres’ debut and how Simon Cowell plays his final season as judge. I really don’t know what to expect, but I’m sure it will make good TV. As for the singers, I’m pulling for Katie Stevens only because she goes to my old high school. Katie is young, has a good voice, and the cookie-cutter back story to match, but I’m not quite sure she has the look or personality to endear the country to vote for her.
See you for Hollywood week.