Empress of the Universe

Friday, February 09, 2007

Coming Out of the American Idol Closet

I am a secret American Idol fanatic. But I guess by the very nature of blogging, it’s no longer a secret.

I have always enjoyed previous episodes of the show, but I never set my television viewing schedule around it, like I do with House, MD. That’s how it all started. We had set our TIVO – PVR to record House every Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m. Then, Fox changed the schedule and put American Idol in the same timeslot. One lazy afternoon I curled up on the sofa to catch up on House and discovered American Idol in its place. I’ve been hooked ever since.

Now, I don’t love everything about American Idol. I feel physically ill when the judges are childishly and intentionally cruel to some of the contestants. It’s the worst when a contestant truly believes in his/her talents only to find none. It’s difficult to not be judgmental when watching a show dependent on judges, but often it’s easy to identify those who are already marginalized in society before they open their mouths to sing a single note. The judges should be kinder to people’s hopes and dreams.

The thrill of American Idol is seeing true, pure, unbridled talent in its rawest, unspoilt, and unmarketed form. Simon Cowell is a cruel man, but it is wonderfully exciting to watch his face in those first few moments of brilliance. The man is, without question, a tastemaker.

Randy Jackson is likeable enough and seems to wear his heart on his sleeve. I love to watch his eyes as he’s taken aback by the first few notes of a talented singer; as he focuses on the performer’s face, his eyes move strategically to sum up the potential package.

Paula Abdul is a useless judge, yet is critically useful in the group dynamic. She never speaks first, except to ask the others their opinion so that she can decide hers. Ironically, Paula Abdul was at one time a true talent with seemingly unlimited potential. But alas, she is proof that the Peter Principle rules.

I would like to have the same passion for Canadian Idol – and for our hopefuls, I do. Any of our Idols has as much talent as the US winners; unfortunately they lack the same resources (i.e. audience, marketing, budgets). Sadly, the Canadian judges leaving me wanting.

Here you have my American Idol confession. If you were to make a surprise visit to our house on a cold, snowy Sunday in February, you are likely to catch me with tears streaming down my face as another hopeful moves nearer or further from his or her dream of fame and fortune in Hollywood.

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