Tuesday, February 14, 2006
"American Idol" -- Bigger And Meaner Than Ever?
USA Today has a story on the phenomenal success of American Idol, which has grown in the ratings in its fifth season. One clever comment came from a fan who said the show starts as a comedy and ends as a drama. (I wish I'd thought of that myself.) The Advocate weighs in on the idea that the judges are meaner than ever. I disagree. Mean compared to what? These kids are generally treated much more nicely than they would be in a real audition. Most would be cut off after five seconds and no one would waste time trying to convince them a singing career was not a good idea. Are the judges mean compared to how their relatives might judge them? Of course. But mean compared to the music industry? Far from it. Sometimes the show itself does take cheap shots. And I think Paula and Randy are less concerned about the kid's feelings. After four years and tens of thousands of auditions, they simply have less patience for people who have no business singing in the shower, much less on national television. And none of the kids are blindsided by comments of Simon: at this stage, they know exactly what they're getting into -- a serious, no-holds-barred opinion. Paula and Randy still try to shield kids from harsher comments and unnecessarily tell people without talent to keep "pursuing their dream." And that's a lot nicer comment than the kids would ever hear at a real audition.