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?


Posted on May 12, 2012, in American Idol. Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Great post, hg. Very insightful. Generic is a good word to use for some of these WGWG. I thought that Cooks performance this week on AI was very generic and he did start the trend on these shows towards that. AI so missed a great opportunity with David because they did have their teen idol with a voice in David. I honestly do believe David’s dad did play into his not winning as TPTB at AI did not want to have to deal with an underage teen with a controlling parent that would be difficult to deal with. So they made sure he did not win but missed a very profitable opportunity by doing so. David was just so marketable. I honestly believe that Jessica, Joshua, and P2 might have such equal fanbases that who wins will actually be decided by their performances next week. I actually do enjoy some of P2’s performances and I don’t usually like WGWG. lol I don’t think it really matters who wins as Jimmy Iovine has made it very clear several times that he will sign all three to record deals. I still think Skylar just might be the most marketable being a country artist even though she did not make the top 3. It does not matter who America votes for on any of these reality talent shows anymore but it’s who can sell the albums and bring the fans out to their tours long-term that really matters. It is the ability to do it long-term that is the key to success IMO. Given the past history of the winners on AI and on these other shows they just might be better off not winning in the long run if they get a record deal and a fanbase out of it. How ironic. lol

  2. This will be Chris Mann’s first single. I will buy his album if they ditch the chimes:

    • Chris is very talented. I do like him. I actually think Christina being his coach/mentor really did hurt his chances of winning. I just find Christina to be very annoying as a coach on the show. Kelly Clarkson would be a great coach/mentor on The Voice IMO. I still think Jamar Rogers should have won.

      • You are in luck, Marie, because Kelly Clarkson is going to be a coach/mentor on a new reality singing show this summer called Duets. Actually the celebrity singer will be part of the competition. It sounds like something that will be perfect for Kelly.

        This shows that in the music industry today to make the big bucks an artist has to diversify beyond just singing because of the dismal CD sales. It’s really good that David tried his had at acting and branched out to the Asian market. This will help him when he is back from his mission.

        I’m sure that the three left on Idol will get record contract. I like Phillip because I like the quality of his voice. He also has had major health problems and will be having surgery between the end of Idol and the tour. I think that Jessica actually has the potential for the most success. I read that she is already very popular in the Philippines. She could be the next Charice (where is Idolfan?).

  3. David Cook just did an interview with Shirley Halperin and I’ve been reading all the comments here: It goes along with your article HG. Shirley is a big fan-girl of Cook and sure put a different slant on his “parting ways” with RCA than when she broke the story that Jive dropped David. Just reading between the lines, but is sure sounds more like Cook was dropped and we know that “our” David did actually get an offer that he refused. Cook is selling his LA home and is moving to Nashville. He disliked writing with teams of writers that he didn’t know. He is going to do a few festivals and is going to do an Asian tour. Sure sounds familiar, doesn’t it? He must have seen what worked for David when he left his label. Will he do a Christmas tour-lol.

    • Another thing, when Shirley broke the story that David was dropped by Jive the story was picked up by many newspapers and blogs all over the internet. It seems that so far this hasn’t happened with the news that Cook is parting ways with RCA. Someone pointed out that even bad news keeps your name out there but this shows that the press doesn’t care about Cook anymore. Interesting. David now has 1,030,000 twitter followers and Cook has less than 300,000. Not sure that it proves anything, but I like to think that David will have a career to come back to when his mission is over.

      • “Just reading between the lines, but is sure sounds more like Cook was dropped and we know that “our” David did actually get an offer that he refused.”—-I totally agree with you gammyj as that is what I thought too. That Cook did get dropped and did not get offers from other labels. I think Cook would have gone with another label if he could have. It is interesting that as far as I can tell no other media outlets have picked up the story of Cook “parting ways”with his label. I do not think there is an interest in him. We all know that there was a big interest when David left Jive. I am not so sure anymore it was just because people thought he was dropped as I think there is an interest in David by the media and the public. Shirley is in love with Cook. lol

    • what i got out of the interview? shirley is smitten with cook, lol.

      • Yeah, I got that too. She is a big Cook fan-girl and didn’t hide it at all!! I thought some of the comments were interesting especially when someone found a tweet that Cook is going to be going to the Philippines. One person wished that Archie could go with him for another dual concert (me too). Someone else thought he should do a Philippine soap opera too, but he already was Evil Uncle Steve – lol.

    • If he had been dropped just a few months ago, he could have played the evil uncle in Nandito Ako. The only thing he would have needed for the role is a hat lol

  4. After the 2 Davids did their dual concert in the Phils, I heard many Filipino fans say that Cook had made them mad by not performing “Magic Rainbow”. They felt he should have done more with that since it was big there.

  5. I was listening to David’s cover of “Waiting on the world to change” (the one he did with Jeff, his tour opener). I’d love it if he releases a studio version of it some day (but with the ad-libs he did on the live one). A studio version of “Man in the mirror” would be great too, I loved it when he sang it during VIP without any preparation. I think that David is even better when he does impromptu songs or songs with just little preparation because he seems to allow himself to improvise more. I think that it would be great if he records a studio album with live musicians. The recording would be closer to what he does when he sings live. But while waiting for his return, maybe David and his team will surprise us by releasing next year a live DVD of his Asian Tour (or of his Christmas Tour).

    One of the thing that I find really boring now about a show like AI (apart from the predictable win of a WGWG) is that they don’t allow the contestants to be more spontaneous or to really show their creativity and artistry in general. It seems, from what David said about his experience, that they are limited in many ways (like the choice of the songs or the possibility or not to rearrange a song).

    • cmoi, I too really hope that David’s team has some more for us in 2013, so that it would keep the interest at high pitch for his return.

  6. I’m anxious to see what covers are on BEGIN. Also, Kari said she loved one of David’s original songs. I can’t wait to hear it. I wonder if he wrote the songs alone or if they were co-written like the ones on his pop albums. I guess we shall see in August. I’m so glad he left us some music to be released while he is gone.

    • grammyj, I’m getting excited about the whole album. At first I was not as excited because I thought it was going to be only religious songs (nothing wrong, but would rather have David record that album later on in his career), but now that I know they are well known inspirational songs and some originals, I can’t wait for the album;

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