Thursday, January 15, 2009

Your American Idol Viewing Guide - Season 8

It's that time of year again. The time of year when we are introduced to a segment of society that continues to perplex me time after time, year after year. The time of year when we find our attention fixated and our eyes glued to the train wrecks that occur before us. We are unable to avert our eyes even though we know the imminent tragedy about to take place. What time of year is this? This. Is American Idol time!

Every year when American Idol hits the TV airwaves after a 7-month hiatus I am always amazed at the turnout of people auditioning for the show. These are not necessarily people who have a voice like a nightingale. No, these are people who probably shouldn't be talking very much, let alone singing. These are people who lack any significant degree of self-awareness. These are also people who seem to be surrounded by folks who are either habitual/pathological liars or folks who are tone deaf or just plain old deaf-deaf. (Perhaps folks who have never actually heard music before. And I know that seems unlikely, but so does the same type of characters turning up year after year after year.)

The show has been on the air for seven full seasons. This is Season Eight. It isn't as if there is nothing to reference from earlier shows. It isn't as if there were not seven folks who have been dubbed "Our American Idol". You'd think that some of the disasters that try out in subsequent years would want to take some cues from some folks who have actually won. Even if you forget about the winning part, they still had to make it past the audition phase! People trying out in later years could study tapes of auditions like football players study film from Sundays game. There's plenty of info to be harvested from just watching auditions! But do these folks harvest! No, they don't. They wallow in their own personal Great Depression Dust Bowl of Song and they make those of us with no crimes against society to suffer along with them.

I've broken the clueless and tone deaf up into categories. Well, subcategories, I suppose, as they would all fall under the category of "Loser". And I mean that in the nicest sort of way, which is really more than they deserve after what they've put us, the viewing audience, through. (Hey! It's been seven years! They either need to accept reality to start to learn!!)

Programs! Get your programs! Programs here! Can't tell your horrible-singer-audition-hopefuls without a program! In no particular order, we have......

  • The Shocked - These folks have been told by everyone in their life that they can sing and they can sing well! In reality, these folks sound like a cat in a blender (only the cat is a little bit more on key). When they are told "no", their jaw usually drops and some of them have the audacity to ask "Why not?"

  • The Angry - These aspiring vocalists have convinced themselves that they are the best singer on the planet and probably in the universe. That falsehood has been reiterated by everyone that they know, but probably only because they are afraid to tell them anything different. When this person is rejected (and none too soon), they violently storm out, muttering loudly, directly facing the camera, telling America and the rest of civilization how the judges don't know what they're talking about (usually they "don't know what the f**k" they're talking about). Often, this personal is a fan of hand gestures not covered in American Sign Language.

  • The Crier - These people are always sobbing. They break down into heaving sobs after they leave the audition room after their merciless rejection. The Crier usually morphs into the Angry Crier and will begin shouting/shrieking, provided that they can get the snot bubble out of their throat before the cameras stop rolling. SO pathetic if it's a dude.

  • The Unjustifiably Persistent (aka The Bargainer) - These folks are told "No" by the judges and then offer to sing something else as if that would make a difference. (Yeah, dude, it was your choice of song that was the problem. Never mind that chandeliers came crashing down when you opened your mouth, if you had just made a better choice of song, all would have come up roses. Uh-huh. That's it.) They will quite frequently beg to sing something else or they will just start singing the song they just butchered again. The judges will need to yell to get them to pipe down.

  • The Costumed - I have never understood this species. They show up in some getup that looks as if Halloween exploded on them. It will range anywhere from the always joyful rainbow afro clown wig to some sort of full body costume of something like a rabbit or other cuddly forest denizen. It's a peculiar choice because as far as I can tell, none of the seven American Idol winners wore the rainbow afro clown wig or anything else that would be typically seen around the 31st of October. Perhaps they're figuring to be the first, but I don't think that's likely. Ever. (Thank God.)

  • The Intellectually Challenged - These folks are not the brightest bulbs on the tree. They, like many who fit in the other categories, have been wrongly encouraged by their friends and family and led to believe that they can sing when, in reality, they couldn't carry a tune if it had a handle. They don't immediately catch on to the fact that they're being made fun of (most of the time) by the judges and were showcased during the audition episodes of 'Idol' because of their dim-wittedness. They tend to slink out of the audition room with their head hung low, either in disbelief or because they are crying. It's not pretty.

  • The Mentally Unstable - These folks are usually a combination of two or more of the above. They're almost always the 'Intellectually Challenged', but they think that they are a genius and everyone else is a moron (Ah, life. Always chock full o' irony!). They tend to give ranting, loud, obscenity filled diatribes to the camera after they have been (literally) escorted out by security. The phrase "F-you, Simon!" comes up a lot, as do questions as to why Paula Abdul gets to be a judge ("What's she done lately? Nothing!" But, dude, what have you done ever? Yeah, that's what I thought. At least she's done something. That's why she's the judge and you'll never hold gainful employment for more than 2 months at a stretch.)

  • The All or Nothing Hopeful - These folks have a long tale of woe, but that's all it is. Just woe. These people have sat around and not done much with their lives and just waited, just waited for fame and fortune to come to them. Then, after it never showing up (shocking, I know!) they decide to go looking for it via American Idol. They tell their tale o' woe and always end up including "This is my chance! This is my chance to make it so that I can help out my family (or my Mom, my Dad, my sister, my brother, my grandmother, etc.). And I walked here all the way from the middle of the Ukraine with only one shoe. This is my chance to really BE something!" Not to worry, this person will find another false hope to attach to their resume and be off with that shortly after the 'Idol' rejection.

  • The Jilted Fortune Teller - These people know that they are going to be a star! Everybody tells them that they are going to make it! They just know that they are the best singer at that particular audition. Imagine their dismay when they're told that what they just performed was not "singing" in the traditional sense that we know it to be. They are told "No", that they will never make it as a singer and that they should probably give up on that dream and try something else (flipping burgers, perhaps). And that dream doesn't die so easily (it's like Jason in the Friday the 13th movies; you think he's dead but he just keeps coming back and killing folks). They people stomp out of there in tears and usually fall sobbing hysterically into the arms of a loved one who has been lying to them for years about their ability or lack there of to sing a song.

  • The High-Noter - This person not only is mistaken about their singing ability in general, but they are gravely mistaken about their ability to they hit those really high notes (the ones that only dogs can hear). They think that they sound like Whitney Houston (before all the crack and all the Bobby Brown), but they really sound more like an air raid siren from the 1940s. And they are always quite proud of themselves when they finally lay off the endless high note. They think the judges are staring at them, mouths agape, because of the talent that they just heard. Obviously, in reality, it's quite the opposite. The High Noter will have a bit of the Jilted Fortune Teller in her when she storms or is escorted out.

And they're all back at least twice every week for the next few weeks! Come! See the freak show! And realize that it is actually damaging to tell people something over and over that isn't true just because they want to believe it. None of the folks described above can sing a freaking lick. And I'm not saying that I, personally, can, as I cannot. But I'm not proclaiming that I can, nor am I making an ass out of myself on the number one television show in the US, either. (I can make an ass out of myself perfectly fine without a television audience, thank you very much!) These folks have been lied to for years by people who claim to care about them. If you cared about these shrieking, off-key, delusional individuals at all you would sit them down and say, "Dawg, you can't sing." If you cared about the viewing audience of "American Idol", you'd do the same thing. Let them mourn the loss of their dream career and when they're done mourning, point them toward the nearest community college and encourage them to at least try to keep themselves off of welfare by working toward something attainable.

I'm so glad this show is back on the air. I love me a good train wreck.

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Anonymous said...

you realize paula is the judge with the best track record, right?

La Belle Canadienne said...

Saw 20 min of this...Can't believe it's still on tv but I think people love 2 watch other people make fools of themselves and fail.

This show is popular everyone it is franchised as well. Saw them say yes 2 a blind guy who really wasn't a good singer. Made good tv..but what will happen when the poor handicapped dude is booted off cuz he lacks talent...j

And what is with the 4th judge..what happens if they r tied...2 for 2 against...very odd indeed.

Mare said...

Um, I love Paula. I really love her when she's all liquored up. That's my favorite type of Paula. Actually, the only judge that I find useless is Randy. I find Paula and Simon to be equally accurate, just on different ends of the spectrum.

Well, did you catch Ryan Seacrest trying to HIGH FIVE the blind guy? Then he realized he was BLIND and went for the ol' pat on the back or handshake or something. I cringed in shame when I saw him go for the high five. If only Ryan had cringed as well.

~ M