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Friday, May 10, 2013

American Idle

We do not have cable, which is close to admitting that we have no electricity. We realized the ROI was getting pretty slim. Even before that, I found myself not really interested in what television offered. I watched but didn't invest.

I am now in a state where I don't now recognize many of the people on the cover of People, let alone the the supermarket tabloids. This leave me uneasy. All this culture in which I swim, passing me by. Okay, I know who the Kardashians are but am pressed to say what their hold on us is.

So anyway. I saw a bit of American Idol last week. The last (perhaps only other) time I saw the show, Simon Scowl was still a judge, and the talent was at a much more amateur level. My recent viewing, I guess the competition was well along; the singers were competent and they had accompaniment. But the fabrication was just as taut as before.

The orchestration endemic to the show is a political nuisance, and always has been. Simon of course played it the best. His commentary was mean and republican: you're all equally bad. His pleasures were concessions to the idea of winning, and winning big. The other two judges, Paula and Dawg, were there to pretend hope existed. Hope has always been a nice story line in this country.

The latest set of judges showed less centre. Whereas Simon anchored the centripetal force, no one really holds the chain with this latest bunch. Nicki Minaj comes the closest. Her comments seemed unrepentently sour. She's balanced by the cheerful Mariah Carey. Supposedly there's tension between the two, which is just the respected theatre we feel that we need. Folksy hip Keith Urban adds a thoughtful note, and R-Dawg is R-Dawg. I checked Wikipedia, by the bye, and Randy Jackson has serious cred as session bassist and producer. Cred on American Idol is simpler, he just has to say Yo Dawg.

The three singers competing were all women. I don't know if categories exist in the show: male, female, group. The singers all sang heartfelt ballady tripe. Excuse me, I sound a little impatient. I guess they're effective songs, just not on my turntable.

Each singer had a taped session with Harry Connick Jr before performing live. He'd joke with them in a friendly, folksy way then tell them how great they were. Shrug.

After an enthusiastically received song by one of the singers, Nicki Minaj directly said that something was missing. Well first she said she liked the singer's pants. Minaj noted that the singer didn't commit to the song enough. Plausible, tho not perceptible to me. Surprisingly, Mariah agreed, tho she said so in a nicer way. Keith agreed too, but allowed that nerves and pressure effect performances. And so on.

That's the keynote to the show: it goes on. Ryan Seacrest hosts the show, taking the media mogul crown from the now completely dead Dick Clark. Seacrest has no rough edges, is just politically there as a process of containment. Basically, he runs the republic. His blandness, like Clark's, lets him into our homes as the Mayor of Distraction.

And since we have once again had terrorist attacks here in the U.S., thank heavens for the distractions. The patent says that America gets together to worry about American Idol. Well, the country worries about Bachelors and Bachelorettes too, which to me is an amazing insight into our country's soul. We're watching people pretend to date!

I'm sure this goes on in other countries, I'm just not up on the latest data.

I know Idol is losing ratings and, flashpoint, Randy Jackson, as well. People are right now discussing how irreplaceable Dawg is. Honestly, why do I know this?

That Idol exists doesn't bother me. It's the professional wrestling of entertainment. Maybe Nicki Minaj (from parts unknown)has a foreign object in her hand as she points out a performer's failing. It's a zestless subject of conversation, the probity of catastrophic political muteness. That's the less good side of this crap.

Of course that Benghazi tv show has become popular, and we're still watching reruns of Boston Marathon Mayhem. I think the perpetrator did it. They usually do. And we need to know that perps are responsible. Makes things nice and clear.

Comments:
i watch more television then i care to admit but probably far less than the average u.s.american. still, like you, i have no idea who most of the people are on the covers of the entertainment mags at the checkout line. or do i care about who those people are.

another brilliant meditation on pop culture mores.
 
Thanks! There were times that I would watch anything: stupid sitcoms, infomercials, lame dramas, Catholic mass. Writing, or at least thinking, about the fare made it less egregious. But it was like a big mac: when you're done you don't feel like you've had anything, except a sense of something around.
 
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