Wednesday, January 17, 2007
"American Idol" -- I Watched Every Minute
So, a massive 37 million people tuned in to the new season of "American Idol." And the show was exactly what we expected: funny, moving and very well edited. People often attack the show for the audition rounds, saying that the judges and viewers are just laughing at the hapless and self-deluded. Well, yes, there is some of that. But the angry kid who couldn't sing (or juggle or dance) had it wrong when he cursed out the judges and said they were mean and just wanted to make fun of him. In fact, it's quite clear to anyone that the judges are DESPERATE to find talent. They sat through hundreds of singers (and the show's people sat through tens of thousands) in Minneapolis and only sent through seven people to Hollywood. Seven. Imagine how depressing it is to listen to one awful singer after another. And the real appeal of the auditions is not the occasional so-bad-they're-good singer but the undiscovered gem. They do a great job of introducing us to the hopefuls, like the very first gal who loved Jewel and gives makeovers at the mall. We heard her story, we kind of liked her and then she stood before the judges, caught her breath...and we hoped. Could she sing? We had no idea. Some cocky people who seem nutty actually have good voices. Others, who seem modest and sweet and likable are just dreadful. That first girl couldn't sing but the show actually does a good job of telling all their stories. Sure, sometimes the person is so goofy and clueless the approach is humor. But more often than not they tell someone's story with respect and humanity, which makes it all the more heartbreaking when the kid can't sing and all the more a relief when they can. The 16 year boy with a zit on his nose started crying when his parents (who are clearly fed up with his high school musical ways) said they were proud of him over the phone. Another one was so distraught over the idea that he WASN'T going to become famous it was both sad and awful when his mom reassured him, 'You will be famous; you will be famous." How about saying, "I love you son and that's never going to change. You don't need to be famous to be happy." Quite frankly, it was terrific television. Again.