Why American Idol Appeals to me

So American Idol got off to a great start last night, with Steve Tyler and JLo new to the judging team. I have always been a secret admirer of JLo and Steve Tyler is a rocker from way back who definitely adds a great dimension to the panel. Randy – well who couldn’t like him? I just love his chuckle when the singing is shit, but don’t ask for his opinion first. He definitely prefers to follow. My only disappointment is Cara – where did she go? She was really hitting her stride on the show…

As a general rule, I ain’t a reality TV person. It all feels a bit like feeding the Christians to the lions for me – a bit too voyeuristic as one watches other’s make a fool of themselves. It’s easy to make judgements of people on reality TV from the comfort of your own armchair, but no one ever knows what it would be like to be on TV in that situation with cameras all around, nor do many of us appreciate the power of editing, and the editing is done to create the best TV after all.

But AI is different for me. It’s a singing competition and a talent show, and I love watching the people grow with the show – in confidence, talent and skill. It shows how someone with something raw can build into something great. Alternatively, it can show someone raw who just doesn’t have what it takes to become great. There’s been a host of fantastic singers in the early days who haven’t made the cut, and it’s always fascinating to observe how some can listen and learn, while others just don’t get it at all. For some reason, they are incapable of “hearing” what the judges say. We can all see it but they can’t. It’s a curious thing that.

The early weeks of AI are always the funniest and the most emotional. The heart rending stories blow me away every time and, of course, you have the people who do the ridiculous. Last night wasn’t too bad, except for the Latino girl with silver stars on her tits – and it was so unnecessary because she can obviously sing. Let’s hope she takes the judges feedback and focuses on what she has to offer vocally, as opposed to her physical assets that just make her look an idiot. The Japanese “Michael Jackson” dude was a curious fellow too huh?

Steve remains convinced that the truly bad performers are staged. I’m not. I think they are genuine, because there is this weird aspect to American culture where people really are convinced that they are talented. It’s a country where people believe they can be anything they want to be – which is a wonderful thing. It’s this quality in American culture that makes AI even more powerful than the other Idols around the world. There’s nothing quite like Americans self belief I’ve got to say, and I love them for that, although sometimes it’s a bit much.

Every year the dorks come out to play. They have unbearably shocking voices, and all through their life, their dorky family (also featured) tell this person they are amazing. In fact, for many, everyone in their life tells them they are amazing. However when the judges tell them that singing is not their thing and that are definitely not amazing – they are truly shocked and upset. It makes for great TV and thank you America for encouraging your youth to be all they can be, even if it is misguided sometimes. It’s better than cultures telling people what they can’t be.

Anyways, I just love this show and I get excited knowing tonight is an AI night. Steve does too. I’m just hoping Adam Lambert does a gig on the show as he’s an Idol competitor that rocked my world. Also Crystal Bowersox and Melinda Doolittle – three of my all time favourites, but my favourites never win…

Yours, without the bollocks

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