American Idle (Idol)
- Finding an authentic performer
- The Salon of 1859
- Desperate hopes of a first kiss
- The discouragement of the judges
- Simon Cowell's opinion in the past five seasons
- Audience's habits (A point by Brecht)
- The notion of negation and the force behind true progressiveness
- Viewer participation and judging
- Kelly Clarkson's song
- The central meaning of genre
- The benefits of action from the lyrics of 'Since You've Been Gone'
- Frith's initial notion of pronouns
- Miranda Fricker's view
- The actual text of the conversation
- The role of fan base and the American Idol audience
- Defining real talent
- Works cited
Love it or hate it, American Idol has become a seemingly immortal fixture in American culture. Pouring into our homes through high definition television on at least two nights a week, the show is more present in family life than your average workaholic, deadbeat dad. Of course the success of the show increases every season, maintaining a focus that is three-fold: the production, the artists and the audience. The producers bear the responsibility of finding talent that America will form a strong opinion for or against, the artists then must prove the production right; the level of entertainment reached will be determined by the audience as reflected in the ratings and the votes. Somewhere between the musical talent competition and ratings-guzzling galore, American Idol should be viewed as a brilliantly-crafted social experiment on which to measure the passivity of the American public?
In its first season, American Idol garnered the attention of 22.77 million viewers on the finale night. The last season?the show's fifth?36.38 million people tuned in to witness Taylor Hicks take home the ultimate title of ?American Idol? (Wikepedia.com). Hicks, a stocky, gray-haired thirty-year old from Birmingham, Alabama could not have possibly foreseen the astronomical result of his performances.
In his first audition, Simon Cowell, the judge with a notoriously stern British accent and attitude, voted against Taylor's advancement in the competition because he saw an overall lack of talent and commerciality.
So how did a struggling Vegas lounge act win the votes and hearts of America? Perhaps the most important underlying question remains: what kind of program does it take to transform the nature of the popular music industry and alter the standard by which we judge and enjoy its music? If Charles Baudelaire and Bertolt Brecht were sitting at the judges table perhaps they would deliver us wisdom in the form of insult (something Cowell does very well?minus the deep philosophy). However, if Baudelaire and Brecht are the crusaders for artistic revolution, then Simon Cowell is the voice of the corporate machine, hell-bent on financial success, but stifling both the authenticity and the revolution in the process. Though long deceased, the opinions of Boudelaire and Brecht, along with more contemporary music writers become the aesthetic standards which we must use to judge the quality and impact of the show because of their influence on mass culture.
[...] By evaluating the show with these standards, it becomes clear that American Idol hooks people in under the pretense of authenticity, relying on monotonous patterns of repetition to ingrain the music in viewers' minds. My potential for finding an authentic performer is crushed because the production team at American Idol is responsible for selecting the singing candidates?ones that will fulfill their mission of marketability by successfully keeping our attention spans for one minute and thirty second intervals. However, it is the American voters that narrow the group down to the top twelve contestants. [...]
[...] Either way, the lyrics evoke the sense of passivity?of some people waiting for something to finally happen to them?so characteristic of American Idol contestants. The last couple lines of the chorus change in pronoun to The shift indicates a movement back to singularity?an intimate note for Kelly Clarkson herself. Whether the listener has chosen to attach themselves to the words or not, they can easily understand the spoon-fed message here. This song isn't just about falling in love or a special kiss as the first lines would have the listener believe. [...]
[...] On the official American Idol website, www.idolonfox.com, viewers have the opportunity to express themselves to other viewers. The following is an actual conversation regarding a season six contestant, Blake Lewis (famous for beat-boxing to both old and contemporary songs) between such viewers using their own special (bolded) screen names via message board: Memere (Posted May 7:57 BLAKE NEEDS TO GO - HE IS GREAT AT BEBOPPING BUT HE HAS NOT GOT A GOOD VOICE - FIND ANOTHER ROUTE FOR YOUR FAME BLAKE - BUT YOU ARE NOT THE NEXT AMERICAN IDOL - SORRY DUDE - GO BACK TO UR HOOD - THE REAL TALENT IS WITHIN THE 3 REAMINING WOMEN AND I AM TORN BETWEEN MELINDA AND JORDIN - PEACE OUT ALL MW3000 (7:58 Please inform me: What is Bebopping??? [...]