Saturday, March 31, 2007


I try to avoid American Idol at all costs- I always thought it's musical cotton candy at best. At worst, it discourages any kind of musical creativity or inventiveness among it's contestants (the winners always seem to be students of the Michael Bolton/Celine Dion school of power balladry, only with weaker voices) and rehabilitates bad songs that probably shouldn't have been recorded in the first place. And then there's the indentured servitude part.

But when you teach 30+ teenagers it's hard to completely avoid. So I actually watched about 20 minutes of it this week. It's even more annoying for me in person. They cut up the songs, rarely good in the first place, into 1'30" chunks, which limits the agony but does nothing for the music. The lighting gives me a headache. And worst of all, the singers also seem to think pitch is limited to somewhere you play soccer.

I watched because the kids were talking about the contestent Sanjaya, the first person of subcontinental descent (he's Indian) to make it this far on the show, and by many accounts the worst contestant (period) since the infamous William Hung. Apparently in addition to his actual fans (there are some), and some folks in the Indian community prodded by ethnic pride (understandable), he's been buoyed by Howard Stern (!) and others who want to sabotage, or at least further camp up, the show. Salon's blog How the World Works picked it up yesterday, and the NY Times ran a fuller piece about it today (making it officially old news).

First, based on the performance I saw and the clips on the Idol website, Mr. Malakar is easily that bad. But I think I'll go vote for him this week. Why didn't anyone think of this before- the best way to get rid of these shows is to take them to their logical conclusion- if anyone can enter and win, then we might as well get anyone, and remind people why we pay to go to concerts and pay professionals to play at our events. I don't want to be a music snob, and I'm certainly all for amateur music. I'm just praying for better quality control. (And no, Simon Cowell doesn't count) Anything that will bring ink and attention away from these twits in the long run gets my vote. And this might do it.

That said, I can't believe I'm agreeing with Howard Stern.

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