Is the “WGWG” Reign Almost Over?
Last week, I went on a rant because the last remaining “WGWG” on Idol seemed to be coasting while the others were trying so hard, and eventually, my favorite, Hollie Cavanaugh, was voted off this week. That leaves Jessica Sanchez and Joshua Ledet – both who delivered stellar performances – to battle against the last WGWG this season: Phillip Phillips.
To be fair, I totally get why those who like this style of performer are rooting for PP and he did a good job this week as well. But, I can’t help but still hope that we either get the girl winning or the black guy winning this season, just to change things up.
What’s interesting, when I compare Idol to The Voice, is that I was so certain a “WG” (with or without his guitar) was going to win The Voice, but surprisingly, the black guy, Jermaine Paul, came out of nowhere and took the prize. (As one of my commenters reminded me, it helped that another WGWG – his coach Blake Shelton – was rooting for him all the way.)
I do think The Voice still benefits from being the newer show and also from featuring more diverse contestants (not that Idol doesn’t keep trying – think how diverse the cast was this year), but I’ve noticed something really interesting about these reality show competitions.
I’m not sure I completely buy into the theory that, because we have so many “cougars and tweens” (that’s older and younger women for those not in the know and not on the up-and-up of this latest sexist language) who power vote, we have been plagued with all these mediocre WGWG winners. But I honestly believe that another reason we’ve had these types of winners is because voters don’t have a really strong alternative.
Where are the Melinda Doolittles and Fantasias of late? Where are the Kelly Clarksons? I can’t imagine this particular set of voters would NOT be voting for these types of contestants just to cast votes for a generic WGWG. When no one is there to passionately root for, what happens? We get folks voting for WGWG by default.
I still blame David’s opponent (someone who guest-performed on Idol this week and I still can’t remember what he performed, that’s how generic he seems to me) for causing this trend, and I especially blame the show for throwing their weight behind such bland ordinariness. To think, had they supported David to the win, the show would have had bragging rights about their pre-Justin Bieber phenomenon. That after John Stevens, after Sanjaya Malakar, they finally found their teen idol who could sing.
What short-term visionaries!
So, in choosing ordinariness over greatness, Idol set the standard for a generic Idol winner.
Who knows where things will go and how folks will vote this season, now that voters actually have some alternatives to the WGWG (though, from what I understand, PP’s hometown in Georgia are obsessed voters – they are rallying behind their guy big time and could swing the votes in his favor).
What I do know is, we can’t overestimate how “popular” these guys are. I firmly believe that Christina and Adam on The Voice went head to head over their own WG contestants, thinking they were the ones bringing in the votes. They completely forgot that, left to America, they would have voted in the Adele-like big white girl who can sing (Katrina Parker, who received more votes than Tony Lucca but who benefitted from Adam tipping votes in his favor) and the rocker girl who can sing (Juliet Simms), and once a viable alternative arose – Jermaine Paul who sang with such passion and abandon during the finale – “America” dropped the cute white guys like hot potatoes and rallied around him. In short, America still rallies around the best talent. When they don’t have “greatness,” they fall to the default choice: WGWG.
With that said, Joshua or Jessica need to let loose and remind “America” that this, American Idol, is a “singing competition.” When they do that, we might see results like we saw with The Voice. After all, it’s not like PP is even trying. But of course, when one has a small Georgia town rallying behind you, who cares how the rest of America votes?