Is there such a thing as bad publicity?
January 19, 2007 8:17 AM   Subscribe

I hate people who jump into threads just to say how little they care about the topic of the post, so instead of saying how little I care about the topic of the post, I'll just say how much I hate people who jump into threads just to say how little they care about the topic of the post.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:21 AM on January 19, 2007

Meta-thread shitting?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:23 AM on January 19, 2007

man i hate people who comment for no other reason than to bitch about other peoples' comments
posted by radiosig at 8:24 AM on January 19, 2007

i hate pancakes.
posted by empath at 8:27 AM on January 19, 2007

I hate being in a room with a bunch of Simon Cowells.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:27 AM on January 19, 2007

If I had sex with Paula Abdul when she was giving those interviews, would I have been guilty of rape? Or just bas taste?
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:29 AM on January 19, 2007

Whoops, BAD taste.

Gotta stop with the early morning drinkies ...
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:29 AM on January 19, 2007

It is terrible. It is awful. And a glorious delicious trainwreck freakshow of both bread and circuses. And I cannot look away.

Extra bonus goodness: check out Idol in other countries on YouTube. Mau Marcelo of Phillippine Idol is fantastic.

Anyone catch John Hodgman re: Idol on Daily Show? "Every year the winner of Idol is stoned to death to ensure a bountiful Coca Cola harvest for the year."
posted by ao4047 at 8:32 AM on January 19, 2007

I always thought she was on some sort of opiate.
posted by geoff. at 8:36 AM on January 19, 2007

I assume this is like the UK version where people watch the modern-day socially acceptable Bedlam variation for the first shows than interest moves on for the rest of the series?
posted by biffa at 8:38 AM on January 19, 2007

I've successfuly avoided American Idol all of these years. I think a lot of its appeal is based on its lowest common denomintor approach. It's a talent show. At least it is better than that "pick a numbered briefcase' show.

And like The Gong Show, the ability to see someone get raked over the coals for a poor performance has an appeal to some.

I wish the broadcast networks would just cut to the "Kick in the Balls Show" as was shown in Idiocracy.
posted by birdherder at 8:46 AM on January 19, 2007

biffa, you're absolutely right. I saw a headline the other day that asked, in all seriousness, why nobody buys the Idol winners' albums even though the show has a huge audience. It's because nobody cares about the winners; people tune in for the freak show and might stick around for the talent show, but when all is said and done and the next plastic pop star has been manufactured right before your eyes, nobody gives a damn.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:47 AM on January 19, 2007

American what? Is this a tv show?

Since no intelligent person will admit to watching it, and since everyone on Metafilter is intelligent, how can we even discuss this?
posted by HuronBob at 8:52 AM on January 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

But I hear something more important then Paula from my e-mail
Hello Sir

Don't tell me why your schlong is so small,
I will better help you to make it really Bigger!

Why bigger? Because over 87% of all women need a longer
one-eyed monster to satisfy their desire!

Go there and get your solution: http://www.*.info

It'll really help you!

We will ship it worldwide within 24 hours, and if
you find our product useless - we'll refund all your money!

I choose were to get my cheap entertainment ! Empoweracious !
posted by elpapacito at 8:52 AM on January 19, 2007

My snark is powerless against this post. In fact it is self-snarking in its pointlessness.
posted by jouke at 8:59 AM on January 19, 2007

The Gong Show at least was (mostly) self-deprecating and gentle good fun. I tried watching American Idol and couldn't handle the nastiness -- I want to watch TV to forget about that kind of pretentiousness and negativity, not revel vicariously in it.
posted by pax digita at 9:11 AM on January 19, 2007

Is posting drunk allowed in this thread?
posted by dhartung at 9:11 AM on January 19, 2007

I think that the number one reason that people watch this show is because other people watch this show. Talent shows have been on television in various forms over the years, and their popularity has not -- to my knowledge -- ever been huge. The Gong Show and StarSearch were syndicated.

I think if people were stuck on an island and could choose ten shows to watch, few would choose this show. However, since everyone else watches it, people want to watch it so that they can be clued in socially to discussions involving it.
posted by flarbuse at 9:20 AM on January 19, 2007

Spreading democracy through TV is like inoculating babies through gonorrhea.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:22 AM on January 19, 2007

I've always wanted to know how many of the freaks are fakers. Surely there are viewers out there, maybe reading Metafilter, who have seen one of the freaks making a fool of himself and said, "Hey, I went to school with him! And he's not really a freak!"

Anyone?? Or are they really just totally messed up, delusional kids? I don't want to be this sad about America. Please tell me they are just doofuses who want to be on TV.
posted by peep at 9:26 AM on January 19, 2007

My main beef with the show is that as long as it hangs around we have to endure, "But hey, American Idol is on," comments as illustrations of American indifference to The Important Stuff.
posted by Cyrano at 9:31 AM on January 19, 2007 [2 favorites]

"Rival network executives who hoped that Fox's "American Idol" would show signs of age in its sixth season weren't happy after Tuesday's premiere scored the show's second-highest ratings ever."

Indeed. NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly, Tuesday:

"We got to see how it weathers over the course of the year. Not to be shitty about it, but maybe they’ll have a bad run. Nothing burns that bright forever. Some day it will be uncool to watch 'American Idol.'"
posted by pardonyou? at 9:31 AM on January 19, 2007

I am not a fan of either of these two artists, but in response to the headline Faint of Butt is talking about how nobody buys Idol winners albums:

Kelly Clarkson's Album "Breakaway"

It was certified six times platinum in November 2006 for shipments of over six million copies(5,578,101 sold)[1]) in the U.S and 10 million copies worldwide. The first four singles from the album reached the top ten of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, with the fifth single peaking at numver 12. Currently, all five singles released have sold over 4.75 million downloads combined.

Carrie Underwood's Album

Two other country albums made the Top 10 list for 2006. Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts, which has sold 4,586,750 copies since its release in November 2005, landed in third place with 3,015,950 copies sold in 2006

I'm just sayin', them numbers is nothin' to sneeze at.
posted by Shfishp at 9:34 AM on January 19, 2007

It is selfish of me to partake of your national culture without giving anything in return.

In a gesture of cultural exchange to make benefit glorious nation of USA I give you our national nr 1 hit Heb je even voor mij
posted by jouke at 9:37 AM on January 19, 2007

1 John 5:21 - "Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen."
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:38 AM on January 19, 2007

> Some day it will be uncool to watch 'American Idol.'

posted by The Card Cheat at 9:38 AM on January 19, 2007

FoB, what do you mean no one buys the albums? Carrie Underwood, Clay Aiken, Kelly Clarkson, Josh Gracin, have all been pretty successful, and Chris Daughtry from last season looks to be the big seller out of that pack. Granted not all of these are 1st place winners, but they are selling albums.
posted by tadellin at 9:41 AM on January 19, 2007

I didn't see the show, but my local morning new show (FOX) replayed a montage of the usual gaggle of weirdos singing some sort of "Don't You Wish Your Girl/Boyfriend Was Hot Like Me?" song.

Given the success of William Hung, I couldn't help but wonder if there were people lining up to be as bad as possible in hopes of being a 15 minute fad. Or worse yet, that there was some strange nation-wide conspiracy of sketch and improv actors who got together in some sort of secret cabal meeting and agreed that this, this was their time to strike at the heart of American entertainment! Soon every converted basement-cum-improv studio will be able to unfurl the large, hand made sheet-banner that reads "As Seen On American Idol" or "35 Million People Saw Me, And Now You Can Too" and a horde of vaguely funny on stage and socially unpalatable in person "performers" will strut their stuff on decaying stages to packed audiences of still-yet-more improv performers and their SOs that they dragged along to the performance with hinted promises of crazy-improv-chick sex, which is like normal sex but more intense and filled with Simpsons references, but not actually funny as there have only been like three actually funny female improv comedienes and one of them changed her name to "Ryan Styles" when she first got the chance.

And like a virus on a virus, a phage on a bacteria, improv shall again creep its way into the modern American mindset. And lo, the Earth Shall Shake, the Heavens Weep, and the Moon Shall Turn Its Eye Away.

So please, please, tell me. Is it true? Is the Improv Cabal out there, plotting plotting plotting? I can't tell more. The stilted laughter from the room next door means my time is limited if not run out and I must know!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:42 AM on January 19, 2007

I would imagine that most of the really terrible (i.e. entertainingly terrible) contestants are a) wanna-be William Hungs, b) network plants or c) mentally impaired.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:49 AM on January 19, 2007

so, jouke, does the netherlands like foreigners? your bad pop music isn't any worse than ours, but the guy who sings it ride up on a bicycle before he starts singing it. i'm sold. our bad pop singers drive escalades.

Heb je even voor mij is kinda catchy, even...
posted by pinespree at 10:03 AM on January 19, 2007

Pinespree, the fact that he rides up on a bicycle is a crucial part of being a certain kind of celebrity in the Netherlands; free of pretenses.
Yeah, it's in the category 'so bad it's good'.
posted by jouke at 10:13 AM on January 19, 2007

It is terrible. It is awful. And a glorious delicious trainwreck freakshow of both bread and circuses.

This is where I am with bad pop culture--it can be fun, if you revel in its badness (though I only ever watch about half of the first audition show--one can only take so much). I think the reeeallly bad ones are real. What I love is how, when one of the judges tells them that they're really, truly awful, as often as not the contestant will look at them defiantly and claim that the judges obviously don't know what they're talking about. ("I am a great singer. My mom and all my friends told me so!")

And that is where I find the nugget of truth in this bad pop culture stream: some contestants are so entrenched in their opinions and beliefs about themselves, that many simply reject the assessment of a panel of experts (OK, well, "experts") when that judgment disagrees with a contestant's view of him/herself.

I see this as a microcosm of the American people. (Thus our sickness of truthiness.) Do people in other countries do this?
posted by LooseFilter at 10:33 AM on January 19, 2007

I'll admit I watch American Idol, but I enjoy it more after the finalists are chosen. I have fun watching the finalists jockey for position, picking favorites, seeing improvement, watching the audiences fall behind their favorite contestants and shift around as their favorites are voted off, and being happy when my least favorite is voted off. It's compelling viewing, especially if you can tune out the stupid parts like the product placements, endless padding, and the irritating guests like Jewel who seem to be there just to sell more records.

The early rounds are too nasty and painful to watch, too. I don't think it's right for multi-millionaires to be cruelly mocking desperate people like they do... it just comes off as exploitive instead of entertaining.

Jennifer Hudson, one of the finalists from the third year (and my favorite that year), just won a Golden Globe for her role in Dreamgirls. If she doesn't win the Oscar, it'll be as unexpected as her premature dismissal from Idol.
posted by MegoSteve at 10:38 AM on January 19, 2007

jouke, as you probably know, anyone who rides a bicycle in the U.S. is a laughingstock. as a laughingstock, i appreciate this aspect of your culture.
posted by pinespree at 10:40 AM on January 19, 2007

The first few episodes of American Idol have nothing to do with singing. It's a "let's mock the desparate attention junkies" parade. If your goal is to get on national television -- and in this country, people will do AN-Y-THING to get on TV -- acting entertainingly weird and singing badly seems like a pretty harmless way to try. A lot better than eating bugs on Fear Factor.
posted by Lord Kinbote at 11:06 AM on January 19, 2007

pinespree you should come to the Oerol festival. Since it's on an island were very little cars are allowed everybody moves around the island by rented bike to get to the festival happenings. I thought it was quite idyllic to be biking at night through the dunes with a trail of of red glowing bike taillights before me.

Pinespree, I hereby proclaim you honorary dutchman. From now on when americans laugh at you for riding a bike you can say that they are racists because they are being disrespectful of your culture. And then they'll act all awkward.
No more ridicule for you.
If you're a man you will be known from now on by the dutch first name Freek, if you're female you will proudly go by the dutch name of Joke.

posted by jouke at 11:14 AM on January 19, 2007

I think I should! Thank you for the honor - finally, people will stop treating me like a freak and see me for the Freek I am. I'll be wearing my newly patriotic orange shirt for the rest of the day.
posted by pinespree at 11:22 AM on January 19, 2007

Why do the Dutch use tiny fonts? Is there a font shortage?
posted by Dizzy at 12:08 PM on January 19, 2007

Not Racist!
posted by Dizzy at 12:08 PM on January 19, 2007

While we're talking about the albums selling (or not), Taylor Hicks has also went platinum as well. Daughtry is selling better than him at this point, but Hicks has not even had a single released from the new album yet. I'd say over a million copies with no radio airplay is not too bad at all.
posted by Nenna at 12:09 PM on January 19, 2007

Anyone who thinks these people's albums aren't selling is not paying attention. As mentioned above, there are a couple platinums in the group, and even Ruben has sold near half a million albums. How many albums did Dylan sell this year?
posted by spicynuts at 12:11 PM on January 19, 2007

It's a very tiny country you hater!
posted by jouke at 12:18 PM on January 19, 2007 [2 favorites]

Oh god, I can't believe I'm bothering to go to this much trouble!:

Peep asked: "I've always wanted to know how many of the freaks are fakers. Surely there are viewers out there, maybe reading Metafilter, who have seen one of the freaks making a fool of himself and said, "Hey, I went to school with him! And he's not really a freak!"Anyone?? Or are they really just totally messed up, delusional kids? I don't want to be this sad about America. Please tell me they are just doofuses who want to be on TV."

From the AnnAlthouse blog this week, an uncomfortable reader writes (and if you accidentally watched Idol, you know how Jason performed):
"Watching Idol was a little extra personal for me tonight because said Jason is a great nephew that I spent some time with this summer. ( Juggling those crystal sticks is a lot tougher than it looks.) Anyway, when his mom spread the word earlier last year that he got face time with the judges, we were tickled for him. Somehow, it never came up that he had a melt down. Truth is, he's a nice kid and never during quite a sustained period of family reunion time did he even hint at a volatile personality or tendency towards an X rated mouth. The whole Idol process must have the potential to bring out the worst in a person. It was certainly interesting to see the edited version of a person you actually know although it can't be denied he pretty well lost it."

Personally, I would have kept quiet if Jason was my nephew. But I quite liked her strained loyalty!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 12:24 PM on January 19, 2007

I went on to The Google and I can't even FIND your "country".
I entered "Dutchland", "Dutchistan", even "The (Place of lotsa) Dutch", and it told me THOSES PLACES DON'T EVEN EXIST.
Is it possible you're Amish, but in denial?
Please advise.
(and for the love of all things sacred please use the "American" font-- this squinting is making me all hinky.)
posted by Dizzy at 12:33 PM on January 19, 2007

It's a pity that Mrs. Miller isn't around now to compete. She'd clean up at American Idol.
posted by sparkletone at 12:40 PM on January 19, 2007

Oh, and Mrs. Miller's been discussed here on the blue before.

If you want more.

Why would you want more?
posted by sparkletone at 12:41 PM on January 19, 2007

According to my tourist guide of the US, americans have socio-cultural taboos around the subject of inter-cultural/inter-racial criticism. So you should be hypocritically apologetic right now, instead of stepping up the belittling.
Are you sure you're american?
Dizzy, you left out the 'e' and the 's' out of dutchland. Try it, you'll find plenty of hits.
Yes, we're a bit amish: We ride our bikes as a delibarate affront to your american gasoline guzzling ways.

posted by jouke at 12:47 PM on January 19, 2007

Before this spawns a meta-talk thread, please know I sincerely meant everything in harmless dada fun and am sorry if I offended you.
(I'm not so thrilled with the squinting, but it is a small price to pay for international brotherhood.)
We cool?
posted by Dizzy at 1:03 PM on January 19, 2007

The morning radio guys usually do a montage of the loonies from the night before. The only thing I have to ask is...are all of these people without friends or family? I mean, don't you think that at some stage of the game, someone would have said to them "Wow, that Wookie voice thing, that's pretty funny when we're all stoned, but for the love of all that is fluffy, please don't do that on national television."
posted by dejah420 at 1:06 PM on January 19, 2007

Is posting drunk allowed in this thread?

Only if you sing badly.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:32 PM on January 19, 2007

It's hard to resist watching the first episodes of American Idol and its, to quote David Cross, "parade of delusion". Still, the show seemed to have hit below the belt after Simon et al mocked two mentally challenged contestants. (NY Times link)
posted by kalimotxero at 1:35 PM on January 19, 2007

My first instinct is to similarly think "Doesn't anyone ever tell these bottom-rung singers they suck?"

But then, I've known dozens of these people. You have too. They're every rock d00d with a band, every starry eyed barefoot girl with an acoustic guitar, the would-be singer who's always doing it in public whether or not people ask them to, the one guy at karaoke night who actually takes himself seriously.

We've all known these people, and we tolerate them, because they're our friends and family, or they're harmless, we're too polite, or they're too dense.

We show our support for them by showing up and their concerts, shows, recitals in whatever divebar books them, but they seem genuinely surprised when you don't want to give them money for their 'album'. Any place that refuses to book them, or any label that doesn't sign them is run by "some asshole who doesn't recognize talent" or "doesn't know what people want to hear" They KNOW how good they are and if you don't want to hear their tone-deaf warbling or boring guitar plucking, YOU have the problem, not them!

I remember recently one of those morning radio shows playing the rejection clips like someone upthread mentioned, and after a caterwauling performance, Simon soundly denounced her performance. Her response was "I have 10 years singing experience, and I have a degree in vocal performance (or something)".

This is the mentality, that aesthetics are based on something empirical, and these types can't wrap their mind around it.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 1:41 PM on January 19, 2007

Look at those losers on American Idol lose. What losers. Glad I'm not a loser. Glad I'm a winner.

"People didn't like The Fair. People tried to like it, though. They agreed to like it. The Fair was hard to like but they agreed to like it. Not to like it was the same thing as to break the agreement that was all that stood between them and being alone.

The message of many things in America is 'Like this or die'"

- George W.S. Trow.
posted by StopMakingSense at 2:14 PM on January 19, 2007

Dizzy: I was aiming for a light-hearted tone. Your 'Yikes' tells me that I failed.
Yes, we're ice cold.
posted by jouke at 2:26 PM on January 19, 2007

Newsweek: Fame Junkies -- "'American Idol' is back, and so are the groupies who audition for it over and over (and over) again. Will they ever make it to Hollywood?"
posted by ericb at 2:56 PM on January 19, 2007

I might actually know Brenna (the girl who got rejected with a degree in vocal performance), if it's the same Brenna I'm thinking of. I knew her when she was doing her degree; she would write about her experiences. I don't know if it's the same person, but it's rather surprising (and doesn't speak very well for her university!)

I audition for Malaysian Idol twice. There is a preaudition with the producers before meeting the judges (first time I didn't pass the preaudition; second time I met the judges, though I know that's more because I sang in a different language.). There seems to be a few categories of people:

a) Those that are bad, and boring
b) Those that are bad, but quite entertaining
c) Those that are not too bad to pretty good, but not entertaining
d) Those that are not too bad - pretty good, and entertaining
e) The really amazingly talented ones

(a) and (c) don't make it past the pre-audition. (b), (d), and (e) do, and (b) gets most of the airtime, followed by (d). The (e) folk (and some higher-level (d)s) only really show up in the later stages of the program.

Plenty of (e)s and (a)s take themselves too seriously, so the have less fun. It's the (b)s and (d)s that have the most fun - they're not in there so much to win, but to meet people and get a laugh and have a new experience that they can share with friends. If you don't get caught up in the frenzy, it's actually quite enjoyable.
posted by divabat at 6:43 PM on January 19, 2007 [2 favorites]

dejah 420, according to their myspace pages, they do have friends.
posted by culberjo at 7:24 PM on January 19, 2007

'Is posting drunk allowed in this thread?'

it's allowed in all threads. and mandatory on fridays.
posted by jcterminal at 9:37 PM on January 19, 2007

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