Television: Wishing Idol Away

by Melissa Mahfouz
Special to iVoryTowerz

Season one was a sensation; two and three were entertaining, but four was pushing it. Now, as American Idol (on the FOX network) reaches the close of its eighth season many, including this blogger, are hoping, nay praying that this former addiction finds itself a happy, immediate ending. Idol’s inception was a work of marketing genius in the entertainment world, yet its expiration date has been surpassed long ago. Now, quite frankly, the show is unbearable. No voice is any longer unique, no song its own artistic expression; been there, heard that. Enough is enough. If the program airs one more rendition of "Ain’t No Mountain High Enough," catastrophe may ensue.

Although the program maintains relatively high ratings, its originality has been diluted. Even the auditions have lost their hilarity. The show has evolved into an exasperating affair in dire need of innovation. Voices seem to fuse without versatility, songs are over-sung, and Simon Cowell’s hair continues to denigrate to a state of gray. Not to mention, the show has been plagued with its fair share of controversy, spanning from a faulty voting system to questionable contract procedures. Yes, Idol has catalyzed the career of several renowned artists, namely Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry, and Jennifer Hudson, among a few others, but how many have made a truly lasting imprint in the music industry? Their names fade just as quickly as they appear.

If American Idol wants to keep its head above water, the essence of the show needs to be rekindled. A milieu of fashion excess, superficiality, and egoism has emerged into the forefront of a program that was once oriented to small-town America. True “American Idols” are nowhere to be seen; most are pre-crafted, egomaniacal vocalists looking for a hand-out. Pure voices are being drained by the over-rehearsed, and the show is in need of some real artistic expression. Final recommendation: The show needs to find its long-lost voice.

(For an earlier view of the program and a posting with a more acerbic tone, please see: "American Idle.")

(The photo shows pop singer David Cook, the winner of the seventh season of
American Idol; the photo is by meagan383 via Flickr, using a Creative Commons license.)

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Rick Rockwell said...

Instead of finding a long-lost voice, I wish the show would just get lost. But I realize I’m in the minority on this.

I agree and disagree with this review. I agree the show is all about marketing. So by this point, the slick veneer is obvious, eight seasons in. However, America keeps buying it, just like America keeps buying musical junk (and junk food for that matter). Just look at the top of the charts and you’ll see very little of musical note or innovation. The show has been pap from the start. It’s just more obvious to some now. Or perhaps this is a sign of your own musical maturity kicking in.

Where I disagree is that this junk was worth watching from the start. Very little real musical talent has been unveiled by this program, with a few notable exceptions.

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