What Idol Promised, What Fans Expect
This week, we learned that Vote for the Worst will be shutting down its website after Season 12 of American Idol. Unlike so many of you, who say “Good riddance,” I kinda have to respect their reasons for bowing out. As they say so succinctly (and I really can’t disagree with Dave):
American Idol is really no longer relevant, so VFTW has accomplished our one true goal: making sure that America stops taking American Idol and other singing reality shows seriously. American Idol has become a shell of its former self. It used to produce stars and it used to be must-see TV. Now, you can count on a bunch of bland finalists singing the same 10 songs over and over with maybe one contestant becoming a one hit wonder. We helped kill American Idol, but even more so, American Idol helped kill itself by refusing to stay relevant. The show will be lucky to last a few more unmemorable seasons.
Is there anything in this statement that isn’t true? And yes, it’s more likely that the traffic to VFTW has decreased – as happens with many other blogs – now that Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other forms of social media have taken over, but seriously: When folks are no longer willing to mock a popular show, it’s not really all that popular.
Still, Idol stopped being relevant when it started promoting anti-Idol types for the win. Yes, “White Guy With Guitar” may be popular on the show, but in the real world of pop and rock music, such “white guys with guitars” are expected to rise above Idol shows. They’re supposed to be non-cheesy, non-reality TV if they are to have any real legitimacy in the music biz. I’ve always felt, in my David-centric worldview, that had David won his season, Idol would have thrived and had bragging rights of launching “Bieber Fever” before Bieber even made a blip on the radar.
But noooooo. Their viewers, thanks to the cynicism of the likes of VFTW, decided to go for the other David because David Archuleta fit the Idol model too perfectly. He was “too cute,” “too safe,” “too heartfelt,” “too no guitar = uncool.”
If, post-show, David’s “Crush” could top Billboard’s Hot 100 so quickly, what wouldn’t have he conquered had he been the winner with the winner’s million-dollar budget?
Alas, in trying to go for “cool” (represented by a David Cook), the show and its viewers ended up ushering a series of “bland,” and the days of Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson are over.
But who knows? With the entrance of judges Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey, it’s sooooo obviously clear that the producers are dying to get the urban and people of color crowd to counter the “white conservative housewives” votes (as VFTW put it in a less than kind way). We’ll have to see if their inclusion will produce a diverse cast of finalists. More than that, we’ll have to see if that diverse audience they’re looking for will be moved to vote – especially now that said “diverse” audience is now using Twitter! Seriously, if Idol wants to change the type of winner they’ve been getting, they’ve got to change how people vote for contestants – using various social media to do so.
Anyway, now that Justin Timberlake and Destiny’s Child have declared a “return to R&B,” let us see if we’re going to get that this season.
But seriously, I have to agree with VFTW, even if they haven’t been kind to David in the past: If no one cares to mock you anymore, you really are no longer relevant to pop culture.
Now, I think many – like myself – will still tune in if we have no other alternative on Wednesday and Thursday nights. For some – like myself – American Idol has become a bad habit every spring TV season.