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American Idol bigger than ever?
May 24, 2006 8:54 PM   Subscribe

Taylor Hicks wins American Idol.... It could be something worth talking about given how powerful the show has become: #1 show on television, contributed to over 30 million records (records -- yes records not itunes singles) sold, and a show where Queen, Rod Stewart, and, tonight, TAFKAP (or he could be Prince again) are clamoring to be on it. Moroever, some conventional wisdom seems to support that the show is not karaoeke-izing pop music and instead contributes to it surprisingly positively. While it might not lead to debates on metafiler, arguments as to what makes a good Idol can be seen here.
posted by skepticallypleased (141 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
WTF with the spoilers? Does nobody else own a TiVo?

Uh, not that I was TiVoing this, certainly...
posted by Dunwitty at 8:56 PM on May 24, 2006


That didn't come across as funny as I thought.
posted by Dunwitty at 8:58 PM on May 24, 2006


Yeah, this seems to count as a spoiler in my opinion.
If anyone makes an fpp about the Lost season finale, heads will roll.
posted by nightchrome at 8:59 PM on May 24, 2006


I'm just tired of American Idol updates being *front page news* on CNN.com.
posted by mrbill at 9:00 PM on May 24, 2006


Honestly, I couldn't give a rat's festering ass who won...but please have some consideration for those that *do* and put the spoilers [more inside].
posted by Dipsomaniac at 9:02 PM on May 24, 2006


I think the show is amazing just because in today's 120 channel universe, it's amazing that 35 million Americans regularly see the same thing.

And, even though this season is the first I started seeing it, as the slate.com piece indicates -- the show is really hitting its stride. I was turned to some new songs and genres and, at times, I felt the American Idol performers were better at the takes than the songs itself.

The show still has numerous problems (song bites too short, Randy, Paula, and Simon are almost useless, and WAY TOO much filler) but the show can be so good that the problems become quirks.

The CNN.com piece notes a possible political angle -- most of the winners seem to be from the South and Midwest -- aka the Red States.

My $1.25 on todays winner: McPhee deserved it even though Hicks is engaging. Paula and Randy thought it was great he "brought himself" to each piece but that meant he let just a bit too much Southern drawl into it too. McPhee just has a voice from something divine.

Also -- I should have linked Time Magazine's Poniewozik's take on its appeal in the front page -- where its the losers that make the show and make it very American. I'm not sure about -- as its a worldwide phenomenon and it started in England I think -- but, wow, it says even more about what its sets out to do if it affects people everywhere.
posted by skepticallypleased at 9:04 PM on May 24, 2006


That Slate link is pretty good at defending the show's arc over the last few years.
posted by mediareport at 9:05 PM on May 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


Yikes! -- I'm sorry but if CNN.com is treating it at news, then I can't see how its a spoiler really. It's more a sporting event really.....and you almost expect to see the answer when hitting a news site.

I doubt you'd ever see a Lost plot event reported in the same light. (And, btw, that show is getting good again too!)
posted by skepticallypleased at 9:06 PM on May 24, 2006


Well, at least the contestants can actually, you know, sing as opposed to all the celeberties who make it because they're well connected rather then talented (i.e. Ashlee Simpson)
posted by delmoi at 9:09 PM on May 24, 2006


Has the NYT piece about how all the major networks turned AI down been linked here? Probably has, but here. Lots of fun details.

[skeptically, I agree that folks who care about popcult contests should learn to stay away from MeFi until they watch their recordings, but would it really have killed you to put the name of the winner inside?]
posted by mediareport at 9:11 PM on May 24, 2006


Yikes! -- I'm sorry but if CNN.com is treating it at news, then I can't see how its a spoiler really.

CNN headline - "America crowns its 'Idol'". For those who wanted to know, they can click, for those who don't, it's not in the headline. You put it in the first line and screwed those who didn't want to know.
posted by karmaville at 9:15 PM on May 24, 2006


On this morning radio talk show I listen to sometimes they've talked a lot about how the show is "rigged" (actually that its producers just push really heavily to influence the results) and that inside scuttlebutt was that they were angling for a man to win this time around. Hmm...
posted by nanojath at 9:18 PM on May 24, 2006


I would consider this a spoiler because just hearing about American Idol spoils my day.
posted by papakwanz at 9:21 PM on May 24, 2006


Good fucking Christ on a crutch, this is not what Metafilter is for. Holy fuck.
posted by dobbs at 9:21 PM on May 24, 2006


I can't see how its a spoiler really.

Unless you're on the west coast...
posted by misterbrandt at 9:23 PM on May 24, 2006


I will say that CNN does have a headline lower down on its main page that reads "Taylor Hicks is Idol" so, yeah, they already spoiled it.

And dobbs is totally right. I shouldn't even be posting this!
posted by papakwanz at 9:24 PM on May 24, 2006


so i went on to see what all the fuss was about... and prince ruled!

broke out my girl 6 soundtrack immediately :P
posted by kliuless at 9:26 PM on May 24, 2006


I don't care who won American Idol. This is especially true as I'm Australian. But I don't even give two hoots as to who won Australian Idol. I think the show... the whole Idol franchise... is utter shit.

The show is esentially a zoo with cameras where millions of people get to watch three people tear shreds off of a bunch of young, powerless people who have a dream. Whether or not they have the talent to make that dream come true is beside the point. The point is they have a dream of making it big in music. And then these three judges tear into them on a weekly basis, often insulting them, making them feel bad, destroying their dreams in arguably the most heartless way possible; all in the vulgar pursuit of money and ratings. More horrifyingly, millions upon millions of people tune in every week to watch.

And then at the end of the ordeal, the winner and, as has been the fashion in previous years, the top three performers too, win recording contracts. In Australia, this has seen many recording artists who made it big without having to resort to appearing on reality TV being pushed off major lables to make way for these new performers. I lack a link, and can't research one because I'm at work, but if you do some googling you'll find a story from a few years ago where a great Aussie band, 'You Am I', was pushed off of their label to make way for that years Idol winner.

It's bullshit that something like this can happen. The whole Idol phenomenon; reality TV in general, is bullshit. Like Paris Hilton (the celebrity, not the MeFite), Idol, Big Brother and all reality TV is a cancer on society. And as more cheaply produced reality crap floods the airwaves, pushing out scripted dramas and comedies and lowering the collective IQ of the human race, billions of viewers across the world will laugh like morons as "the mean judge" tells some chick with a decent voice that she looks fat in that dress whilst "the nice judge" looks on in faux disgust.

Anyway, you're right. This won't lead to debates on Metafilter. Given the reaction up thread, the spoiler in your post assures that this will likely be deleted. If only the same could happen to reality TV. But I digress. Whilst I utterly hate the show, I do thank you for posting this because at least a few MeFites will get some enjoyment out of this and that, if nothing else, is what making a post at Metafilter is all about.
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:30 PM on May 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


tonight's Lost was great.
posted by mcsweetie at 9:31 PM on May 24, 2006


What is this American Idol of which you speak?
No tv. Happy parki.
posted by parki at 9:33 PM on May 24, 2006


Yeah, so where's the Lost thread?
posted by imposster at 9:34 PM on May 24, 2006


Wake me up when the music they sing on American Idol doesn't suck absolute ass.

But yeah, spoilers on the front page are not cool.
posted by fenriq at 9:36 PM on May 24, 2006


MetaFilter: Holy fuck!
posted by loquacious at 9:40 PM on May 24, 2006


Now if only we could take American Idol off the air, and attribute it's absence to global climate change.

We'd see some policy action right quick.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:41 PM on May 24, 2006


Yeah, let's talk about Lost instead. Man, I can't believe they killed Hurley off. He was my favorite character.
posted by JeremyT at 9:43 PM on May 24, 2006


Cue the Jonathan Greens.
posted by jikel_morten at 9:44 PM on May 24, 2006


Effigy2000: Argh! Again with the triple posting of my comment! This happened in a thread the other day. What the hell is going on? If an admin is reading, please delete all but one.

Yes, but WHICH two comments should be deleted, and WHICH ONE should go on to become...MEFI IDOL?
posted by davidmsc at 9:45 PM on May 24, 2006


It will always boil down to chance anyway, due to technological limitations of the voting system.
posted by jikel_morten at 9:49 PM on May 24, 2006


Good fucking Christ on a crutch, this is not what Metafilter is for.

Well, if you say so.

Jesus. Not interested in an FPP, don't click on it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:50 PM on May 24, 2006


Thanks for the advice, Astro Zombie, but I'll pass. I took that advice when the newsfilter started and when the product shills and viral ads started--ain't gonna do it with the reality television shills / new album release media alerts / etc. Sorry.
posted by dobbs at 9:57 PM on May 24, 2006


Jesus. Not interested in an FPP, don't click on it.

Don't you get it?! When an Idol FPP is put on Metafilter, it pushes out another FPP, one far better and more organic and with a quirky name! And that sad forgotten FPP won't get its due attention! It's a cancer! And it's making us dummy-heads! And Paris Hilton!

(repeat X 3)
posted by soiled cowboy at 10:00 PM on May 24, 2006


Thanks Astro -- I tried to "elevate" it by talking about how American Idol influences music and sells records in a way unexpected in the 21st century but I guess dobbs wants a link to some guy who took a picture of all 500 of the world's cockroaches.....

Responses like the ones about the voting system, an appreciation of where the show has gone, etc -- that's what metafilter is for -- this place is becoming noxious with all the dubious policing of what, for our purposes, is pretty much inexhaustible postable space.

Plus, yes, you can just pass by it!

As for the spoiler -- I could have indeed kept it away from the fp and I'm sorry West Coasters. That was my bad. I guess its not really a live show for you guys....that sort of sucks then....
posted by skepticallypleased at 10:02 PM on May 24, 2006


Effigy2000: And then these three judges tear into them on a weekly basis, often insulting them, making them feel bad, destroying their dreams in arguably the most heartless way possible; all in the vulgar pursuit of money and ratings.

You're absolutely right. But by now, anybody who's considering trying to get onto the show has certainly seen it a time or two, so they shouldn't be surprised that a nasty come-down is a distinct possibility. Simon's a jerk, but I don't have much sympathy for his victims.

My favorite "Idol" episodes are the early ones, where the complete no-talents get weeded out. It's hilarious, and far more interesting than the later rounds, where the goal seems to be to sing just as grandly and blandly as possible. Bleh.

Also, Effigy2000, not all reality TV is a boil on the ass of society. "The Amazing Race" is great stuff. Except when they have to eat gross, um, "food."
posted by diddlegnome at 10:02 PM on May 24, 2006


JeremyT: You need to be beaten to within an inch of your life for that. Seriously.
posted by nightchrome at 10:04 PM on May 24, 2006


I guess dobbs wants a link to some guy who took a picture of all 500 of the world's cockroaches

You made an FPP link to CNN about a reality television show! Are you fucking serious?!

Should we all make FPPs about what we just saw on the tube because we want to discuss it? How about the great new single I just heard on KISSFM! It doesn't sound anything like the song they played before it or after it! Let's discuss!

I mean seriously, was the username idiotmanchild already taken?
posted by dobbs at 10:14 PM on May 24, 2006


I came to bury Hurley, not to praise him.

also, though I haven't watched any American Idol this season, I wanted Hicks to win purely for his hair color.

Is that wrong?
posted by drezdn at 10:20 PM on May 24, 2006


aargh! I'm in China and have made a point to avoid the news outlets today while I waited for the torrent. CNN managed to avoid using names but you just had to fucking ruin it, didn't you? Thanks, asshole.
I think the show is amazing just because in today's 120 channel blah blah blah . . .
GYOBFW! You can put your thoughts there. Dick.
posted by geekyguy at 10:23 PM on May 24, 2006


It all sucked after Chris was given the boot.
posted by 6:1 at 10:26 PM on May 24, 2006


JeremyT: You need to be beaten to within an inch of your life for that. Seriously.

SPOILER
Especially since it, for the record, is NOT true.

SPOILER
In fact ol' Hurley/Hugo appears to be just about the only character not left cliffhanging, if I read the MSNBC.com synopsis correctly. (I'm on the Left Coast and I'm taking a few weeks off from watching TV, even TiVo'd or DVD'd, but reading the internet synopses turns out to be more fun and less time-consuming).
posted by wendell at 10:27 PM on May 24, 2006


I'm just tired of American Idol updates being *front page news* on CNN.com.

Amen. Why do they keep running publicity for a competing network? When is American Idol on, nine o'clock? Doesn't CNN want people to watch Larry King or whomever they run opposite?
posted by cribcage at 10:28 PM on May 24, 2006


SPOILER
And it was Michael who was given the boat. Oooops, wrong show.
posted by wendell at 10:28 PM on May 24, 2006


A Mefite runs a popular Taylor Hicks blog.
posted by jayder at 10:33 PM on May 24, 2006


Argh! Again with the triple posting of my comment!

Hey, it was a comment worth repeating. I've never watched an entire episode of the show, but I've seen enough to know that it's a glorification of mediocrity.
posted by zarah at 10:37 PM on May 24, 2006


I hate having my conversations squashed by time-shift television viewers. If you can't watch it live, too bad. I simply can't remember the details of these stupid shows long enough for everyone to catch up with their TiVos and torrents.
posted by mullacc at 10:39 PM on May 24, 2006 [2 favorites]


I'm in China and have made a point to avoid the news outlets today...

You're trying to avoid learning the outcome of a major television and pop culture event, and so you're logging onto heavily trafficked Internet discussion websites that frequently feature news stories? What the fuck? Even if I did agree this is a "spoiler," it certainly isn't the first time a major spoiler has been featured on the front page and you've been a member since 2002. (And that's to say nothing of the Lone Gunmen on Slashdot and every other infamous Internet spoiler incident.)

At this point, it's like a smoker bitching about lung cancer: You ought to know better. If you're trying to avoid spoilers for major current events, stay off the bjorkin' Internet discussion forums. Duh.
posted by cribcage at 10:41 PM on May 24, 2006


Jesus titty fucking christ, you people watch that shit?
I was flipping around tonight and caught the part where they did "Taking Care of Business", and "Tobacco Road".
I turned it off after the cancer lady got a trophy.
Seriously, that was entertaining to you? It showed talent? The production values and the arrangements were awesome?
It all left me feeling a bit ill.
posted by 2sheets at 10:41 PM on May 24, 2006


H-O-L-D it - you mean I didn't win?

Are you sure?

Maybe they just didn't call ...
posted by Jos Bleau at 10:42 PM on May 24, 2006


Can't stand Idol myself, but the Slate piece was pretty interesting; thanks for the NYT story, mediareport.

dobbs, where was this indignation in the Eurosong post?
Or the Scanner Darkly trailer post?
I kinda doubt this is the straw that broke the camel's back so much as it is you just don't dig the subject matter.
Boo hoo.

Oh, and parki: Didn't you get the memo?
The only thing cooler than not watching/owning a television is resisting the urge to tell everyone about it.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:42 PM on May 24, 2006


Why do they keep running publicity for a competing network?
I can't speak for CNN.com, but MSNBC.com's Entertainment page isn't running publicity; it's (and my editor may not like me saying this) piggybacking on the media entities that already have the Big Buzz. Which means the #1 show on TV gets lots of attention. (And MSNBC's front page does NOT spoil it, but the Entertainment page does) In fact, ratings aren't always enough to generate the necessary buzz. They were hesitant to run my delightful piece on their own broadcast network's top rated show, "Deal or No Deal" because it wasn't generating that much Buzz. Personally, when I hear a loud buzz, I shut down my laptop and let it cool down for a while. :)
Please note that this comment contains NO links to either MSNBC.com or my personal sites before you start accusing me of excessive self-promotion again. Thank you.
posted by wendell at 10:46 PM on May 24, 2006


Vegas had Hicks picked by the way.

Am I the only one who thinks these singers have no talent?

WTF with the spoilers?

You actually watch the show? Heh.
posted by tweak at 10:51 PM on May 24, 2006


Re: piggybacking on the media entities that already have the Big Buzz.

I understand that, to an extent. But the flipped coin is that it feeds another network's buzz. If you've got the extra line on your front page, why not publicize your own program — or alternatively, browse Fark for the dozen or so daily stories that could be summarized as "Offbeat News" for easy click-throughs?

I've written music reviews, so I understand the editors' mentality of, "It's popular and the other guys are going to write about it, so we can't be left out of the loop" — but I guess I'm surprised that mentality isn't ignored when the coverage conflicts with the company's own interests.
posted by cribcage at 11:05 PM on May 24, 2006


Can't stand Idol myself, but the Slate piece was pretty interesting; thanks for the NYT story, mediareport.

You're welcome. I think I watched maybe five minutes during the first season (but read most of hometown boy Clay Aiken's autobiography and found it surprisingly touching), so I'm pretty out of the loop on the contestants and such. I just love behind-the-scenes stuff like that NYT piece, and think it's hilarious that even Fox probably would have passed if Rupert Murdoch's daughter hadn't been a fan of the British version:

Murdoch flat-out loved the show. Hearing that her father's American network had yet to act on making a deal for the United States rights, she decided to give the process a helpful nudge. She called her father and told him how much she loved "Pop Idol" and how big the show was becoming in England. She urged him to buy the rights for Fox.

Murdoch put in a call the next day to Peter Chernin, his No. 2 at the News Corporation and the top decision-maker on all the biggest moves made by the Fox network. "What's going on with this show 'Pop Idol,' Peter?" Murdoch asked Chernin. "It's a big hit in England. I spoke to Liz and she says it's great."

Chernin was familiar enough with the situation to report that Fox's network people had been talking about it with the agency, discussing potential advertising backers. "We're still looking at it," he said.

Murdoch shot back: "Don't look at it. Buy it! Right now."


Anyway, it's a hard phenomenon to ignore if you're interested in pop culture.
posted by mediareport at 11:05 PM on May 24, 2006


He's great and all, but he's no Lordi.
posted by spinifex23 at 11:23 PM on May 24, 2006


Am I the only one who thinks these singers have no talent?

Not only that, but they choose some pretty awful songs to cover as well. If it weren't for all the filler (the interviews, backstage glimpses, discussions, flashbacks & so on) that hook the audience into identifying with or forming some sort of ridiculous emotional attachment to the contestants, people might see the actual performances for what they are: mediocrities belting out mediocre renditions of mediocre songs.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:53 PM on May 24, 2006


There was absolutely no doubt Hicks was going to win after the final round runoff, so WTF with this "spoiler" shit?

Taylor Hicks is an appealing version of a guy most of us know. Plus he actually plays the guitar, which means that, unlike most of the hackers who sing on the show, he is actually a musician. He's going to be hard to market as a pop commodity, because what he does is very derivative and old fashioned, but he does it well.

McPhee has a very pretty voice (and face), and some killer vocal moves, but they aren't integrated into the kind of solid package Hicks presents, and she hasn't got a sense of the overall shape of a song. She doesn't really know what to do with a good song, and either she or AI picked bad ones for her in any case. That "single" (My Destiny) she sang in the runoff was one of the lamest pieces of writing I have ever heard in pop music.

Hicks just goes flat out from the beginning -- always a successful stunt on AI. He's confident. It works He'd be great in a bar. He won't make it as a pop star though.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:53 PM on May 24, 2006


Am I the only one who thinks these singers have no talent?
(...)
You actually watch the show?


If you don't watch the show, how do you know they have no talent?

FWIW, I don't watch it either, but I did watch the selection stages. For an an old fuck like me, Hicks stood head and shoulders above the rest. McPhee didn't register.

Once they stop trashing wannabees though, I must admit, I lose interest.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:39 AM on May 25, 2006


You people all need to get out more. Outside. I recommend gardening.
posted by pracowity at 1:39 AM on May 25, 2006


We can't, there might be terrists lurking behind the daffodils.
posted by IronLizard at 1:47 AM on May 25, 2006


and a show where Queen, Rod Stewart, and, tonight, TAFKAP (or he could be Prince again) are clamoring to be on it

Didn't Queen die in 1991?
posted by madajb at 2:26 AM on May 25, 2006


Clay Aiken's autobiography

/goggle

Isn't he, like, 12?
posted by Sparx at 2:43 AM on May 25, 2006


Yep, getting out more would be a good thing.. Gardening is OK, but personally I recommend Bass fishing. I'm going this weekend, if anyone wants to tear themselves away from non-reality tv and wet a line....let me know!
posted by HuronBob at 2:57 AM on May 25, 2006


And anyway, he's been Prince again for years.
posted by mykescipark at 3:21 AM on May 25, 2006


My favorite "Idol" episodes are the early ones, where the complete no-talents get weeded out. It's hilarious, and far more interesting than the later rounds, where the goal seems to be to sing just as grandly and blandly as possible. Bleh

I quite agree - although I also heard several people eliminated in the early rounds who were more talented than the finalists. What annoys me about the show is that it attempts, in editorial, to establish a small handful of people in the minds of the public as early as possible in the selection process - and keep them there as long as possible. The reason, I suspect, is that the early rounds lack the significant revenue generating possibilities afforded by premium-rate telephone voting.
posted by rongorongo at 3:46 AM on May 25, 2006


PeterMcDermott: oh I've popped in and watched it from time to time, I just meant 'watched it regularly'

sorry for the miscue there.
posted by tweak at 4:18 AM on May 25, 2006


I'm still in shock that PRINCE was on.

PRINCE!


Comes the apocalypse....
posted by konolia at 4:29 AM on May 25, 2006


"If you don't watch the show, how do you know they have no talent?"

Because they're on the show.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:32 AM on May 25, 2006


My favorite "Idol" episodes are the early ones, where the complete no-talents get weeded out. It's hilarious, and far more interesting than the later rounds, where the goal seems to be to sing just as grandly and blandly as possible. Bleh.

It's not just you. For some reason we live in the abusive era of television, where the most popular shows are the ones with the themes of rich, successful people telling lesser humans how terrible they are.

Think about it: the most successful reality shows as of late have been the rich British music exec telling teenagers how shitty they sing, the rich heiresses telling farmers how stupid they are, uptight British nanny telling people what horrible parents they are, rich asshole who fires people, its spinoff rich obsessive-compulsive even-bigger asshole who fires people, supermodel telling people they suck at fashion design, and of course, "My Super Sweet 16," the show that in 22 short minutes not only explains exactly why Al-Qaeda hates us but almost makes you agree with them.

Once it was Westerns, then it was cop dramas; now the pulse of the American viewer seems to be watching other humans suffer for amusement. Whatever deep-rooted dissatisfaction Americans have with their lives needs to be addressed in a different way, because we're about two seasons away from "Child Abuse: the Series." Tonight: America votes on which child deserves to be beaten more! Is it Timmy from Wisconsin, who refused to clean his room, or Debbie from Salt Lake City, who was caught smoking behind the 7-11 after school? You make the call, America, right after this week's highlight reel of hilarious beatings from last week!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:37 AM on May 25, 2006 [2 favorites]


Who gives a shi... It's a matter of complete indifference to me.
posted by Pressed Rat at 4:53 AM on May 25, 2006


What pissed me off about it, is that Fox pre-empted "The Simpsons" for the post-idol barf-fest.
posted by DesbaratsDays at 5:20 AM on May 25, 2006


Oh, and I missed the last minute of Alias (stupid VCR clock). What was in the box on the bed? The 'Horizon', I'm thinking?
posted by DesbaratsDays at 5:22 AM on May 25, 2006


Good fucking Christ on a crutch, this is not what Metafilter is for. Holy fuck.

Damn right. I can't believe people are defending this crappy post. I can't even believe the poster is defending it. Have you no shame?
posted by languagehat at 5:25 AM on May 25, 2006



Kill your TV.
posted by fluffycreature at 5:25 AM on May 25, 2006


American Idol? ... Jesus ...

I don't need a has-been, a never-was and an asshole to tell me who's got talent and who doesn't on a cross between The Gong Show and Ted Mack's Amateur Hour.

Queen, Rod Stewart, and Prince are clamoring to be on it?

Good. It'll make them easier to avoid before they join the likes of Journey and Styx on the county fair circuit.
posted by Relay at 5:28 AM on May 25, 2006


GYOFBFWZOMG
posted by signal at 5:35 AM on May 25, 2006


Boob tube filter
posted by caddis at 5:49 AM on May 25, 2006


Was going to comment on the utter contemptibility of anything to do with the whole "Idol" franchise, but Effigy2000 come close to nailing it for me. The only thing I would add is that like most things in our pop culture, it completely lacks anything resumbling tastefulness. It's as coarse and phony as everything else we have to endure in mainstream culture, and for that reason alone, I am at a loss as to why it attracts a huge following among otherwise sensible people.
posted by psmealey at 5:53 AM on May 25, 2006


MetaFilter: defend this crappy post.
posted by bwg at 6:05 AM on May 25, 2006


I recommend gardening.

Ha. Talk about worthless pursuits.
posted by smackfu at 6:21 AM on May 25, 2006




This was leading news on ALL the competing major networks this morning. And it was oft mentioned that more people voted in this particular contest than have EVER voted for a US president!
posted by Wylie Kyoto at 6:26 AM on May 25, 2006


If you could vote for President more than once, I think it would retake the crown.
posted by smackfu at 6:34 AM on May 25, 2006


This was leading news on ALL the competing major networks this morning. And it was oft mentioned that more people voted in this particular contest than have EVER voted for a US president!
posted by Wylie Kyoto at 9:26 AM EST on May 25 [+fave] [!]


That is just so sad. Boobus Americanus
posted by caddis at 6:35 AM on May 25, 2006


You people all need to get out more. Outside. I recommend gardening.

At 9:00 PM?

What is this American Idol of which you speak?
No tv. Happy parki.


Oh jesus. Here we go.
posted by glenwood at 6:36 AM on May 25, 2006


its spinoff rich obsessive-compulsive even-bigger asshole who fires people

Not exactly "successful," that one.

revenue generating possibilities afforded by premium-rate telephone voting

Aren't the vote lines toll-free?
posted by aaronetc at 6:38 AM on May 25, 2006


And the thing about the vote total is misleading at best. 63.4 million votes were cast (votes, not voters), which is more than any one candidate has ever received in a single presidential election, but far less than were cast overall in any recent election. There were at least 115 million presidential votes cast in 2004, for instance.
posted by aaronetc at 6:43 AM on May 25, 2006


Is this American Idol something you need a full frontal lobotomy to have heard of?
posted by dflemingdotorg at 6:43 AM on May 25, 2006


Last night's episode was thoroughly enjoyable. They even defrosted Dionne Warwick to sing "That's What Friends Are For"!!! And non-ironically sang "(I've Had) the Time of My Life"...

How can you even criticize that with a straight face?
posted by smackfu at 6:53 AM on May 25, 2006


Isn't he, like, 12?

What can I say, guy's mature beyond his years. Seriously, there's some good stuff in his quick-read autobiography; I even teared up a bit when Aiken talked about the kids he worked with. Must've been hormones or something. But there's no denying Aiken's handled instant worldwide fame with more than the usual amount of class. Except for the sleazy motel trysts, but still.

Anyway, languagehat, I agree it was a crappy post, but what the hell, sometimes you let one slide and try to help. It won't happen again, I promise. :) And we even got some Adorno out of it, courtesy of lovejones. Have you reread that yet? It's still great stuff, alternately brilliant and overblown:

Cartoons were once exponents of fantasy as opposed to rationalism. They ensured that justice was done to the creatures and objects they electrified, by giving the maimed specimens a second life. All they do today is to confirm the victory of technological reason over truth...Fun replaces the pleasure which the sight of an embrace would allegedly afford, and postpones satisfaction till the day of the pogrom. Insofar as cartoons do any more than accustom the senses to the new tempo, they hammer into every brain the old lesson that continuous friction, the breaking down of all individual resistance, is the condition of life in this society. Donald Duck in the cartoons and the unfortunate in real life get their thrashing so that the audience can learn to take their own punishment.
posted by mediareport at 7:10 AM on May 25, 2006


Wow, great find! I never would of found out who won American Idol without metafilter!

Hey do you guys know if Nike or Apple have any new products I should know about?
posted by afu at 7:13 AM on May 25, 2006 [1 favorite]


DesbaratsDays writes "What pissed me off about it, is that Fox pre-empted 'The Simpsons' for the post-idol barf-fest"

Feel the pain of Futurama fans. Why oh why does Fox insist on doing this?

" You people all need to get out more. Outside. I recommend gardening.

"At 9:00 PM?
"

Sure that way you can garden naked.
posted by Mitheral at 7:19 AM on May 25, 2006


Allow me to quote the New York Times:

"Idol" is a monster-size celebration of mediocrity
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 7:31 AM on May 25, 2006


American Idol is as stupid as the rest of [reality] TV. It's soma, tribal bickering flashing across a sugary screen, sparking off eddies of admiration and disgust in your slowly deforming brain; it keeps you paralysed and narrowminded, lazy and undecided. Choose your king! Choose your queen! Choose the plastic cutout to be propped in front of a pile of decrepit junk glued together with dried milkshake! Let selfish robots jack shit into your brain with heartless efficiency. Let bumbling insect-brained hopefuls staring up at a shining golden hologram on a mountain of rotting trash drag the flesh off music, mince it with sugar and gravy and pipe it down your throat until it dribbles from your nose, bubbling out of your noisily breathing mouth as it leers lifelessly in the neon glow of the idiotbox. Plug yourself into the accountbook and revel as your number is assigned to you - the Fateful Decision buzzes in YOUR skull like a sick wasp! Which way will it fly? Which numbers will YOU choose? Which static channel will YOU turn to your half wax-stoppered ear? Who fucking cares!

Just kidding.
posted by Drexen at 7:36 AM on May 25, 2006 [1 favorite]


Bread and Circuses
posted by any major dude at 7:36 AM on May 25, 2006


I totally knew he was going to win. Does anybody else think this dude looks sort of like Jay Leno?
posted by risk at 7:37 AM on May 25, 2006


Is this the sort of thing I would have to not watch television to be completely dismissive of?
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:37 AM on May 25, 2006


My wife always votes for the one she feels most sorry for.

Me, I bite my tongue (and on preview, I'm with Drexen).
posted by Blip at 7:39 AM on May 25, 2006


I kinda doubt this is the straw that broke the camel's back so much as it is you just don't dig the subject matter.

You'd be wrong on that as I've never seen 2 seconds of AI. I'd be just as pissed if it was Survivor or Amazing Race.

As for the Eurosong thing... I believe I barfed in the MeTa thread someone else created. Scanner Darkly... you mean the "remix the trailer" thread? I thought it was appropriate--or at least there was an argument that it was appropriate. It has something to do with the web, at least. It couldn't exist without it, for starters.

This FPP is pure shit, Alvy. The fact that it's still here is mind boggling. If ever there was a time for one of those WTF Matt posts... this is it.
posted by dobbs at 8:02 AM on May 25, 2006


Where's Max Headroom when you need him?
posted by signal at 8:09 AM on May 25, 2006


I thought Bucky was going to win in a surprise upset.
posted by mazola at 8:15 AM on May 25, 2006


Is this the sort of thing I would have to not watch television to be completely dismissive of?

PERFECT.

Mitheral we have a 8 foot wall around our backyard, and my wife and I have been known to plant AND harvest some maters in the buff. Amazingly, are able to do this, have a fullfilling and eventful day in the sunshine, and then at night watch American Idol and the twain never conflict. (I know it wasn't you who suggested otherwise - I'm just saying.)
posted by glenwood at 8:15 AM on May 25, 2006


My favorite "Idol" episodes are the early ones, where the complete no-talents get weeded out. It's hilarious, and far more interesting than the later rounds, where the goal seems to be to sing just as grandly and blandly as possible. Bleh.

Well, they realize that, that's why they do it.

And it was kind of funny in the beginning, when you had singers who were awful and truly didn't know it. But today you have mostly singers who know they're awful and are just trying to get on tv. So if by interesting you mean totally set up and fake, I agree.
posted by justgary at 8:27 AM on May 25, 2006


I only saw the final 4 contestants perform and I was amazed at how uniformly horrible they all were. That show is like a factory for generic, souless pop. I can see why it's so popular in our bland musical landscape.
posted by acetonic at 8:31 AM on May 25, 2006


I'm an utter music snob, so that should let you know where this question's coming from.

But:

How many of the "Idol" winners who have subsequently put out albums, successful or not, have written their own music?

For me there's a difference between "performers" and "musicians." I might totally respect the former's vocal ability, his or her ability to put a song across and make it their own, etc., but in the end I can't help but think while it may take an impressive amount of brawn to do that, it don't take much brains.
posted by kgasmart at 8:35 AM on May 25, 2006


This FPP is pure shit... / I can't believe people are defending this crappy post... (Etc.)

Not many people actually defended it — but lots were discussing its topic. And why not? I flagged it, and I thought it should have been removed; but that doesn't mean I felt compelled to jump into the thread with stupid jokes about pancake ponies and inline images of pissing elephants. The constructive alternative to "Flag it and move on," it seems to me, is "Flag it but try to make some lemonade, anyway."
posted by cribcage at 8:36 AM on May 25, 2006


So that's who won American Idol. Now what I
want to know is...

Who Shot J.R.?
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 8:45 AM on May 25, 2006


I wish they had an american idol for the svengoli song writers and producers. Their the real heroes!
posted by I Foody at 9:01 AM on May 25, 2006


Zip Zap.
posted by daq at 9:03 AM on May 25, 2006


How many of the "Idol" winners who have subsequently put out albums, successful or not, have written their own music?

Kelly Clarkson has writing credits on 6 songs from her new album. She's the only Idol winner that I can think of right now though.
posted by antifuse at 9:14 AM on May 25, 2006


Actually, Taylor has the best chance out of any of them to write his own songs; he's also an accomplished harmonica player and guitarist. I share in the frustration of those who feel that AI has become a glorified karaoke contest. You can tell that Taylor has been totally frustrated by not being able to do his "thing" for months on end. The price one pays for name recognition..
posted by Saucy Intruder at 9:14 AM on May 25, 2006


For me there's a difference between "performers" and "musicians." I might totally respect the former's vocal ability, his or her ability to put a song across and make it their own, etc., but in the end I can't help but think while it may take an impressive amount of brawn to do that, it don't take much brains.

That's kind of silly. Performers of classical music obviously don't write their own material... does this mean that they aren't "musicians?"
posted by the_bone at 9:18 AM on May 25, 2006


That's kind of silly. Performers of classical music obviously don't write their own material... does this mean that they aren't "musicians?"

Point taken, but are they doing classical music on "American Idol?"

This show is a voice contest. Fine for what it is, and an ingeneous way to market new artists - synergy at its finest. And if your CD shelf (or iPod) is filled with Mariah and Whitney Houston and that sort of thing, then it's right up your alley. But if your collection instead is filled with the Beatles and Beach Boys and Stones and Zeppelin, Fountains of Wayne and the Replacements and Jellyfish and the Stone Roses, etc., all of whom wrote the vast bulk of their own material, none of which would ever win a voice contest, then it probably isn't up your alley. All I'm sayin'.
posted by kgasmart at 9:28 AM on May 25, 2006


This post definitely could have been better. Personally, I would have linked to TWOP's beautifully snarky recaps as a good example on how intelligent people can enjoy this show.

I'd also link to Prince's performance which was one of the better live performances I've seen on television in quite some time.

And I'd include some links (wmv file) to performances which have the vocalists taking chances and doing something quite a bit out of the AI stereotype.

And as for why someone would actually spend their valuable time watching this show vs. nude gardening, the whole show from beginning to end is wonderfully cheesetastic. Its not something you take seriously but its great fun, especially if alcohol and groups of friends are involved.

Besides, one thing most of the posters overlook is how this show taps perfectly into several american myths. Most prominently is the concept of someone overcoming obscurity and adversity to reach a state of fame/riches/etc. Looking at that show from that viewpoint, Simon's assholery isn't the main focus but rather just another obstacle for the hero to overcome to achieve the american dream. Considering that all the winners and most of the finalists come from poor backgrounds, toiling away in obscurity with no available way to make their lives/careers better, I think the voters recognize and reward this concept.

posted by pandaharma at 9:35 AM on May 25, 2006


For me there's a difference between "performers" and "musicians." I might totally respect the former's vocal ability, his or her ability to put a song across and make it their own, etc., but in the end I can't help but think while it may take an impressive amount of brawn to do that, it don't take much brains.

Hmm. I guess that punts most motown artists out of your "musician" box.
posted by glenwood at 10:02 AM on May 25, 2006


This line from the Slate link made this post worth it:

"And it would continue the Idol voters' streak of choosing talent over beauty—think of pretty boy Justin Guarini falling to Kelly Clarkson, who despite the best efforts of a battery of stylists still looks more like a Dutch mastiff than Jessica Simpson."
posted by OmieWise at 10:16 AM on May 25, 2006


And Sinatra and Billy Holiday, the two defining popular voices of the 20th century. And Elvis, the third, although he often added his name to songwriting credits on songs he didn't write.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:25 AM on May 25, 2006


Hmm. I guess that punts most motown artists out of your "musician" box.

Not really. Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson wrote much of the best stuff to come out of Motown.

Do I respect, say, Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" moreso than, say, Diana Ross's work with the Supremes? Why yes, yes I do.

And Sinatra and Billy Holiday, the two defining popular voices of the 20th century. And Elvis, the third, although he often added his name to songwriting credits on songs he didn't write.

Yet all three are of a "show business" tradition that American Idol is inextricably linked to, no?

With the exception of Buddy Holly, you can cite virtually any pre-Beatles artist as, well, look how great this person was and they didn't write their music. Post-Beatles, you've got Motown, to an extent; but who else?
posted by kgasmart at 10:38 AM on May 25, 2006


The show would have been better had there been more Prince and less Idols.
posted by mazola at 10:41 AM on May 25, 2006


Glenwood, anyone who's seen the documentary "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" would realize the most talented people involved with all the celebrated Motown recordings were the ones playing the instruments, not the ones doing the singing—or just singing, considering people like Stevie Wonder were capable of more than that.

I never paid much attention to AI until this year, because of hometown boy Elliott Yamin, but it struck me how often the judges—well, the judges who were capable of coherent thought, anyway—would dismiss a performance as sounding like karaoke. As if those performers were capable of anything else given the rules of the game. Without a band onstage behind you, or an instrument in your hands or in front of you, there's really no way of avoid coming across as a karaoke performer if you've got a microphone in your hand and you're singing someone else's song.
posted by emelenjr at 10:56 AM on May 25, 2006


OK, I watched a youtube video of this Hicks guy.

He won? And people are excited about that? He's not very good.

I'll go back out to the garden.
posted by pracowity at 11:24 AM on May 25, 2006


They have a band on stage with them, and a great deal of leeway with the arrangements. A case can be made that the performances weren't any better than karaoke, but they don't need to be karaoke.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:25 AM on May 25, 2006


Kelly Clarkson has writing credits on 6 songs from her new album.

It's called 'change a word, take a third'.

Anyway, I'd like to see a Prince Idol, where Prince competes against himself for six months to see which Prince is best. Morris Day could compere, Wendy & Lisa could make barbed comments when required and Vanity could sit around in her knickers for no apparent reason. I'd probably vote Sign o' the Times Prince, but it would be a close run thing between all the Prince's up to and including Lovesexy Prince.
posted by jack_mo at 11:41 AM on May 25, 2006


jack mo:

Are you talking about the 80s-era Prince, Morris Day, Vanity, Wendy, etc.? I don't think any of those folks have aged very well, so to speak.

Whoops, I see you said "up to and including Lovesexy Prince." My mistake.
posted by blucevalo at 11:47 AM on May 25, 2006


No, Mick Jagger has a band on stage behind him. Robert Plant had a band on stage behind him. Eponymous performers (I suppose that's the right term) like these AI folks and are in a totally different category. The producers of that show are trying to find a performer who's going to sell a lot of records under his or her own name, they're not trying to put a band together.
posted by emelenjr at 11:55 AM on May 25, 2006


kgasmart: Or to thow in another insanely high-selling musician onto the list, Bing Crosby.

Performance and songwriting talent are two separate dimensions. Trying to dismiss the musicianship and intelligence of one or the other simply because your tastes lean the other way is a bit absurd.

Certainly there are great examples of double-threat performers who combine virtuoso performance with brilliant songwriting talent, but they are exceptionally rare. Meanwhile, there are other genres where the bulk of material depends on reinterpretaion of "classics." I actually think it's more difficult to do covers that stand out than original material.

Which, getting back to Hicks, what I heard on Morning Edition didn't impress me. It sounded too safe, and his voice is not distinctive enough to play it safe. He didn't really own the song, which to me is essential if you are doing a cover.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:57 AM on May 25, 2006


Since the dawn of the pop music (motown, stax, etc.), recording industry pros haved used whatever criteria they saw fit to throw their marketing dollars behind the next "artist" they thought could be a saleable product. Over the years, this has had much more to do with how they look, and their personal style ("flavor") than their actual vocal ability. Owing to digital pitch adjustment technology, you can make people that can't even carry a tune sound like they can sing (if you have ever heard that god awful Britney unplugged from a few years back, you know what I'm talking about).

This Idol apparatus just gives the industry a means to profit from a part of the process that was heretofore invisible to consumers. That's about it.

From a personal perspective, at least when some dickhead sets out to discover the next fucking Jessica Simpson or Avril Lavigne in a shopping mall, I don't have to hear about how they went about choosing Jessica or Avril and sent Pre-teen Sexpot Susie home.
posted by psmealey at 12:04 PM on May 25, 2006


Certainly there are great examples of double-threat performers who combine virtuoso performance with brilliant songwriting talent, but they are exceptionally rare.

Not really.

Aforementioned Beatles, Beach Boys (Brian Wilson, at least), Stones, Zeppelin. Lots of Clapton, Eagles (I'm not a big Eagles fan, but they did sing and write their own stuff), Fleetwood Mac, Clash, David Bowie, Sly Stone, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, the Sex Pistols... on and on.

I mean, the most vital musical talents of the last 40 years have almost exclusively been those with something to say, not just something, provided by someone else, to sing.

And anyway, I'm not interested in a virtuoso vocal performance, some of my favorite singers are gloriously imperfect. How many vocal prizes is Ray Davies winning?

I'm not saying Bing Crosby or Sinatra - or Kelly Clarkson, for that matter - are untalented; they are very talented. But again, find me a "musician" in the post-British Invasion era who has not written the bulk of his/her own material and is still widely considered to be a significant "artist." The only one I can think of is Joe Cocker.
posted by kgasmart at 12:16 PM on May 25, 2006


kgasmart: I think you mean to say "pop musician," since, as has already been pointed out, every prominent classical musician fits your criteria. Can any jazz fans say if it's the case in that neck of the woods as well? Certainly there are big names out there writing significant new jazz music, but are there "significant" session players who do more playing than writing?
posted by aaronetc at 1:04 PM on May 25, 2006


I think you mean to say "pop musician,"

Indeed I did.
posted by kgasmart at 1:05 PM on May 25, 2006


Am I allowed to kill the next person who uses the phrase 'made that song your own'? Please? I'll use pliers.
posted by Sparx at 2:14 PM on May 25, 2006


Once he brought the pliers out, Sparx really made that song his own.
posted by InfidelZombie at 2:34 PM on May 25, 2006


Pandaharma's comment hit the nail on the head. The fun of American Idol, for those of us not in the throes of a paralyzing fixation on consuming only the most indie and authentic media, is the drama of watching someone shoot from total obscurity to worldwide fame in a few short months. The type of music the Idol contestants sing is not, for the most part, my cup of tea, but the show itself is entertaining as hell.
posted by jayder at 4:23 PM on May 25, 2006


Actually, Metafilter Idol sounds like a great idea.
Each round, mefi folk vote, eliminating one contestant. The one who survives through all the rounds become Metafilter Idol.
A great way to have better posts around here.
Anybody care to organize?
posted by Dukebloo at 5:37 PM on May 25, 2006


Only if I get to play Randy.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 8:31 PM on May 25, 2006


jayder has it. what a bunch of elitist tripe this is. people who spend significant chunks their lives chatting online about the latest cool flash games and television shows are not better people than those who actually watch it. just snootier.

don't get me wrong. of course AI is bread and circus shit. but so is almost all of pop culture, including the most edgy and indy shit. you can enjoy the bread and the circus without losing your soul.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:11 AM on May 26, 2006


judges tear into them on a weekly basis, often insulting them, making them feel bad, destroying their dreams in arguably the most heartless way possible

That's why it's so popular -- it's like life in a microcosm.
posted by kindall at 7:55 AM on May 26, 2006


it's like life in a microcosm

Perhaps life in middle school.
posted by caddis at 7:58 AM on May 26, 2006


It was worth reading this thread for the link to Prince's performance. Thanks, pandaharma.
posted by kryptondog at 9:14 AM on May 26, 2006


jayder has it. what a bunch of elitist tripe this is.

Eh, whatever. Pop is music for people that don't like music.
posted by psmealey at 9:59 AM on May 26, 2006


Your favourite band reality show sucks.
posted by antifuse at 10:16 AM on May 26, 2006


kgasmart:

In regards to double-threat performers: Not really.

Aforementioned Beatles, Beach Boys (Brian Wilson, at least), Stones, Zeppelin. Lots of Clapton, Eagles (I'm not a big Eagles fan, but they did sing and write their own stuff), Fleetwood Mac, Clash, David Bowie, Sly Stone, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, the Sex Pistols... on and on.


Well, few on the list in my mind really qualify as virtuoso performers. Brian Wilson and Stevie Wonder perhaps. Clapton sounds good until you put him next to B. B. King, or John Hooker, or even the originals he covers. I'm on a Bowie kick and Bowie sounds a bit thin at parts. Fleetwood Mack and the Eagles are classics on the basis of their songwriting chops.

But again, find me a "musician" in the post-British Invasion era who has not written the bulk of his/her own material and is still widely considered to be a significant "artist."

Well, here is what I see as the problem. You make a spectacularly bold and stupid claim that vocal performers are not really "musicians" and that they don't have "intelligence." Then you start making exceptions. Ok, not classical music, not jazz or blues, not music before the "British Invasion." Now we are to a qualifier that is pretty much meaningless: "widely considered to be a significant artist" which is basically code for, "the people I like and have influenced me." All of these qualifiers to avoid admitting that your original statement was flawed.

Certainly it's a valid opinion that you consider songwriting chops to be more important than strong vocal performance. It's also a valid opinion to note that rock music has favored original songwriting over technique. But to dismiss the work, artistry, and talent demanded of a great vocal performance seems short-sighted and ill-informed.

Personally, the voice must hook me before I even pay attention to the song. Which is why I find most of the radio to be background noise these days.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:25 AM on May 26, 2006


three judges tear into them on a weekly basis, often insulting them, making them feel bad, destroying their dreams in arguably the most heartless way possible; all in the vulgar pursuit of money

You're quite right, it's awful.

Instead of that, Idol should reflect what the music industry is really like, a principled, monastic field run entirely by high-minded idealists. Oh. Wait.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 1:27 AM on May 27, 2006


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