Daily Archives: March 20, 2010

Five Ways Star Search is Better than American Idol

Destiny’s Child.  Britney Spears.  Justin Timberlake.  Christina Aguilera.  Rosie O’Donnell.  Ellen Degeneres.  DAVID ARCHULETA!

What do they all have in common?

Why, they all jump-started their careers on Star Search!

So, when the news was abuzz this week that 1)Star Search was getting yet another revival and 2)Paula Abdul would be featured on this show (only to later report that she has since backed out), the wheels in my head started turning and made me go Hmmmmmmm.

Why would Paula consider a show like this when she already left a show like AI? (Of course, certain AI fans thought this would have been a “ridiculous” move.)

But then I thought: you know, Star Search is always the better “talent show” anyway.  It’s right up there with Eurovision (another talent show – overseas – which I fell in love with when I had spent time in England and France).  And Eurovision gave us stars like ABBA and Riverdance! 🙂

So, here are five ways that Star Search is better than American Idol:

1.  Ed McMahon – at least during the original Star Search, TV producers were wise enough to choose a TV staple – a personality whom we all knew and someone who was also skilled enough in NOT letting his ego supersede the talent on the show.

2.  Guest Judges – like I said, a TV show that minimized the judges’ “personalities” so that we paid more attention to the talent on the show.  Having interchangeable judges kept the focus away from them and onto the “rising stars.”

3.  Different Categories – you didn’t just have singers.  You had dancers and comedians and runway models.

4.  Different Age Groups – you had junior competitions (which David won), and this makes sense since the young and inexperienced don’t have to be unfairly pitted against more seasoned performers.

5.  No Auditions!  Whatever “bad” and “mediocre” talent there was trying to make an appearance on Star Search, at least producers got rid of them behind the scenes so that we, the TV viewers, could be spared.

Of course, in the age of reality TV and “popular voting,” a Star Search revival would only mean that we would be getting something closer to AI than what it used to be.  But, seriously, when you consider the legacy of Star Search (versus the legacy of American Idol), there’s no denying that, when it did come down to being legitimate “Star searchers,” one show obviously has the better track record.

Why is that?  Could it be that, at the very least, Star Search didn’t demean the undiscovered talents that they did find, whereas AI is all about exposing the weaknesses of their amateurs?  I mean, the flaws are there, but AI shines a spotlight on it, while Star Search did its best to present it in the best possible light.  Granted, the flaws, mean-spirited criticisms, gimmicks, and TV personalities have made American Idol the hit TV show it has become.  

But Star Search was about the talent, first and foremost.  If it makes yet another comeback, then 1) they need to adhere to this principle and 2) they need a better host (Arsenio Hall ain’t it!).