I am not sure exactly when it happened, but I have my theories. One of the biggest shows on TV quickly became one of the hardest things to bear. I used to love American Idol. I mean love it. I started the season right after Taylor Hicks, and was hooked the season Lee Dewyze won. I loved it so much, that I actually used to blog for it, and it was so much fun. It was about three years of greatness, and then, like that (blows a puff of air similar to Kevin Spacey in Usual Suspects) it was gone.
I stated earlier that I am not sure when it happened, but I have my thoughts, so here goes nothing:
In my opinion, she was the downfall of the show. I remember when she was added, I was a little skeptical of her. And in the auditions, she did some of the dumbest things I have ever seen. She was one of the first judges that would sing to prove her point. She would say things like, “You know I wrote about 953 songs that are popular today, and if you are going to sing one of them, it needs to be like this,” and then she would produce this sound that was like a cat screaming for it’s last breath. And if you remember the time she got on stage with that bikini model, in her own bikini and sang some horrible song. She made the show about her, not the contestants. I know this is harsh, but I really did not like her. She tainted the show for me.
I have always had the same opinion of him; just because people think he can sing, doesn’t mean he should actually be singing on stage. I call it the Nickelback effect. It’s premise is simple: “Just because you can sing, doesn’t mean you should record, be on stage, or anything that puts you in front of people.” I remember that the judges loved him, like LOVED him and would always talk him up. I caved in a bit, because I know that I may have a different taste in music, so I asked a good friend of mine what he thought. We always differed on contestants. When he confirmed my suspicions, I knew the show was in trouble.
The 5 weeks of Auditions
You really want to know the contestants, and I loved when you saw them try-out and then saw them in the top 24, or the Hollywood auditions. Instead, we got to see Frank, a 74 year old drugee who lost a bet and the producers put him on for ratings. After about 2 weeks of that, I started to get nauseous.
Coupled with Paula leaving, this was a bigger deal then people think. I feel we always forget the reason it was such a good show. The talent was okay, but it was also the chemistry between the judges. Yes Paula was an insane, crazed ferret, but she was our insane, crazed ferret. When she left, the show was different, but somewhat bearable. When Simon left, it was done. I remember thinking that Simon was the only one that held the show together, and when they announced Jenny from the block and Liv Tyler’s dad as the new judges, I quickly turned my attention to anything else.
These next two things I believe are the biggest factors. Now I know you Idol purest will HATE me for saying this, but like I stated earlier, I really was a purest, and have switched.
There have been three shows that I believe are much better than Idol.
The Next Great American Band - This was a one season show, but I remember thinking how talented the contestants were. It was only about a month long show, I looked forward to it every week, and I was able to see amazingly talented people. People I know that would have done well on Idol. (See Sons of Sylvia, the winners and tell me they are not better then any Idol winner)
The Voice - Derek has already talked about this show, and everything he said, I agree with. The talent on that show is amazing. The judges are better, the talent better, the set better, the premise better; basically, everything is better
The Sing-Off - The very first time I saw this show, the opening number, I said out loud, this is the best show I have ever seen. If you think there is talent on Idol, or the other two shows, you ain’t seen nothing. I am serious, if you have not watched this show, I feel sorry for you. It is amazing. The talent far exceeds any Idol winner. (remember, talent is not based on CD sales, those are based on middle school girls, 30-something females, and 50 year old males) If you have not watched it, you need to tune in this year. One last thing are the judges. These are three talented people who actually give the contestants useful criticism.
Was It Ever That Good?
This brings me to my last point. This is tough to say, but I am convinced it is true - Idol has just never been that good - I know that some of you have stopped reading after I wrote this, but I think it may be true. I look back at the Idol’s I watched, and I think about the times I really enjoyed it, and it was only about a handful of times. With the other shows, every night there were 2 or three great performances. So against my better judgement, I am going to say that I think that Idol has just never really been that good of a show. I feel they stifled a lot of the contestants in a lot of different ways.
Is it sad to see this show slowly implode, Yes. But I think it has been slowly imploding since Brian Dunkleman left.