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.

Posted on January 16, 2013, in American Idol. Bookmark the permalink. 63 Comments.

  1. I’m divided on my thoughts of VFTW shutting down. After spending some time there going back over David’s thread as well as some other contestants (I wasn’t a fan in the heat of the “David on AI” frenzy so I’m looking at most of this from the vantage point of already knowing what happened), I honestly feel like some of the posters there are indeed the dregs of society. I know that sarcasm and mocking are the tools of a free society to express their opinions — as we’ve seen in politics as well as pop culture — but some of what I saw there was disturbing to me. And I’m not just talking about the vitriol aimed at the contestants but the way that any new poster who didn’t immediately take a negative stance was treated. Just as we can see on fansites, it was group think where if one dared to believe differently, they were shouted down in the most harsh way possible. The difference is that it was kind of the exact opposite of a fansite where everyone “should be” positive, this was a place where everyone should be negative.

    I’m pretty hugely opposed to any instance where everyone is told to think the same. That’s something I think you all know about me lol. And the cruel way they did it there just sat with me the wrong way. There is a difference between satire and cruelty. I will say that most of the main articles on the site were snarky in a kind of delicious way and I could see the truth in them — it was in the forums where mini-despots ruled that I saw the truly disturbing behavior.

    If the forums weren’t around, I really wouldn’t mind VFTW at all. But, for whatever reason, you find that in a multitude of places online. I guess the anonymity gives people free reign to let their dark side shine. Have you ever tried to read the comments on most any news story at CNN? Oy.

    I do think that the closing of VFTW is another sign of the decline of AI. It makes me a bit sad but it’s really nothing new. How many talent or singing shows have existed over the years? You’ve seen them all the way back to the start of television (and way before but I’ll limit myself to tv here) and you don’t see any that have been around since the beginning. These things go in cycles. We definitely have gone through the era of the singing competition in the past 10 years. I think it will cool down for a while and then be back again with a different face, a different name. I am interested to see what this season brings, to see if they can prolong the inevitable a bit longer. I hope so because I do still love Idol. Even though the public feels like they’ve seen it all and the producer manipulation is tiresome, the dreams of the contestants are still real and that’s what I tune in for.

    • Ali you are right about the comments on many of these sites like CNN, People ect. The “trolls” rule now. They don’t even bother to monitor those sites any longer.

  2. Wonderful article as aways, thank you Hg.
    I often wonder if David didn’t go on AI, what kind of path would he be on right now….I’m sure he would of done that mission thing earlier, so he would already be home. I think he still would be singing, but maybe just for pleasure, not thinking of it as a career path….Anyway, just glad he did go on AI because otherwise I wouldn’t be enjoying this magical (David’s music career) ride.

    As far as AI goes, I haven’t watched it sense season 7. I was a causal viewer anyway ( except when David was singing, I was glued to the tv, lol, flipped the channel when anyone else was on) so I have moved on to other shows that I enjoy more.
    The one hit wonder thing…it really has seemed to be true for a lot of winners, and other constestants, other than, Kelly, Carrie and Daughtry….I just hope that David will produce some big hits to get him out of that group of one hit wonders.

  3. You know, because VFTW’s whole raison d’etre was to help us take pot shots at IDOL (and to do so in all its snarky and mean-spirited glory) was an invitation to NOT take the site seriously – even when they once chose David as a VFTW candidate.

    Indeed, the very fact that they actually chose David as a candidate wasn’t just to personally make fun of him but to invite us to imagine that the show’s producers were already fixing things so that he would lose. One of the main tenets of VFTW is to always pick contestants they believe TPTB would NOT want wearing the Idol crown.

    Sadly, when they picked David for VFTW I had a premonition that he would lose (Go figure!).

    Yes, they were mean, snarky, rude, and constantly made fun of the rest of us who dared to like contestants from the show, but VFTW always picked contestants who were never boring (including David).

    If they wouldn’t pick boring contestants for VFTW, why should they bother to satirize a show that’s now boring?

    Makes sense to me that it’s time to move on once the show has ceased to be interesting.

    Obviously, they’re waiting around for the “trainwreck” they think Nicki will bring to the show.

  4. I am watching AI tonight. I agree with you hg that AI is bad habit that I can’t seem to break. lol. Of course the draw to watch this season is the judges. I see your point about VFTW and I do “get” it but they were just so cruel towards David. I would take a look at some of their posts on David on that site. It is pretty bad. Their nickname for David was “Gaspy”. I am a Howard Stern fan (yes I will admit it and miss him since he went to satellite radio) so I appreciate snarky humor but the VFTW site was just awful to David and not so much to other Idols. I have to admit I am watching AI to see if Nicki is a trainwreck or not. lol.

    • Marie, I never visit the VFTW site and from what you say that was said about David, I’m glad. I’m a little curious…was it said that he couldn’t sing?

    • I did not watch AI last year until the finale- or maybe right before- can’t recall because it was totally boring to me. Because of the new judges, I am going to check it out tonight.

  5. It’s funny how VFTW and others would say that if Idol lost any popularity, it might as well just give up and go off the air. But I don’t get how sinking to the second or third most watched show would be so terrible. It’s pretty bad if you can’t be happy to be number 2.

    This LA Times makes the point that despite sinking ratings, Idol far surpasses all of the other shows in terms of the success of its contestants:


    • P.S. I remember that one of the main commenters on VFTW, who was so nasty, calling the fans “fat fraus”, was herself, an overweight middle-aged woman, with a passion for Danny Kaye.

    • Just looked her up–she goes by “Smartie”


      • Sorry to be spamming, but in case you don’t go to the link, it says that Smartie was the moderator of VFTW:

        “Smartie is a moderator at VFTW and owns idletard.com where she makes fun of fans for being fans and is the point man for the mocking and hatred of women over 30. She is particularly hard on fans, calling them tards and she assumes are all fat. Ironic considering she is a fantard herself and FAT to boot! She fancies herself an expert at exposing the real identities of Idol fans…”

        She not only has fan sites for Danny Kaye, but for Star Trek and The Muppets.

      • She is a great example of those that regularly posted there. lol.

  6. “Fat fraud?!” Projection much? 😆

    The funny thing about VFTW was how ironic it all was that they watched Idol religiously while making fun of those of us who watched the show religiously! 🙂

  7. That should be “fat fraus” (autocorrect sux)

  8. cc halo – omg i remember her!she was downright rude and nasty and obviously in no position to judge others! i remember thinking wtf?? when i found out about her danny kaye obsession LOL!

  9. So, in that introductory montage I caught a brief glimpse of David! I swear he’s the resident “unmentionable” every year.

  10. i was looking for david but didn’t see him 😦

  11. Lol- Nicki and Mariah get into it. Is that legit or part of the entertainment.

  12. Not sure. I think it might be a little bit of both. lol.

  13. I am a fan of Keith. He is cute

    • I am a big Keith fan too. He always gives 100% when he performs. I love his voice and have followed his journey and struggles. His looks and accent aren’t bad either…

  14. Man, I even squinted my eyes looking for D, and apparently I STILL missed him. Shoot. lol….Re: VFTW & Idoltard, I remember being completely shocked at the posts I read a few years back. I couldn’t understand how people could be so hateful & cruel to an innocent, sweet person that they’d never met. I felt like I’d gone back in time to junior high, & I remember thinking “So this is what evil looks like”. Guess I took it seriously, lol.

    The one thing I do agree on is “it used to produce stars…”. TBH, since David wasn’t able to skyrocket to stardom, I totally lost faith in AI being able to produce another star. I’d say about two years into his career, I started thinking pretty negatively: “What’s the point? Why audition? Why go through the process & maybe even win, if nothing will ever become of you? If David ~ who is megastar material if ever I saw it~ if HE can struggle so much with his career, then I dunno if anyone can make it.” And I have to admit, part of me would be jealous & maybe even hurt if someone made it big, but D didn’t. It’s like I said during his Star Search days, “If this kid doesn’t make it in the business, there’s something very wrong with this world.”

  15. vj – i agree. if someone as talented and good looking as david can’t make it to superstardom something is very wrong with the music business.

  16. I still have faith that David will make it to superstardom, watch out world….get ready for the one and only DAVID ARCHULETA 2014!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. There sure was no “wow” moments in these AI auditions. lol. I do think the auditions go on for way too long. I always have. Yes, I agree that David should have made it to superstardom. He had the whole package. Still does. The thing about Idol is that they can give some Idols short-term success and a fan base but so very very few Idols obtain that long-term superstar success in the music industry. Or any of the contestants on any of the reality talent shows for that matters.

  18. Actually Idol has done very well making two superstars, Carrie and Kelly and lots of artists that I would call working musicians/artists that make their living doing music/entertainment in various ways – Broadway, musical theater, acting with singing (Smash), touring, Vegas, recording on various labels, books, endorsements, modeling, etc. David is not a superstar but has done very well for himself in just a few short years with all that he has done making five albums, an album as the featured artist, a book, has done tours, modeling, acting and made a good living these past five years.

    In the music industry there are only a very few superstar so it is unrealistic to think that every year Idol will make a superstar. The making of a superstar takes one part talent, one part hard work and eight parts luck and timing. David had the first two but the luck and timing were just off a little – Bieber got that. I’m hoping for good things to come musically from David when he returns. Not sure he will ever be a superstar but he will always be my American Idol.

    • I’m still hoping that David has made enough connections before he left that will help him build a very successful music career. All he has to have is a couple of big hits and that will put him where he belongs…a rising star in 2014.

    • Bieber also has a manager and team behind him that knew how to work that very important social medium. Actually I think he might be the first star that was literally created by the social medium as he was discovered on you tube. As much as I dislike Bieber ,as he has not much talent and I think he is a spoiled brat and over exposed, he was also willing to go along with what was needed to make him a big star. David for varying reasons was not. That does not mean David was right and the Biebs was wrong in this case. David still needs the right the team behind him and the drive and willingness to succeed in that tough music industry.

  19. I thought that Nicki was the standout judge last night on AI because of her personality. She is interesting and entertaining. Mariah was OK but a little boring. No wonder Mariah resents Nicki. I do believe that. lol. Keith makes a great judge. Good looking with a nice personality and very perceptive on talent. Randy is Randy. The contestants last night were not that great.

  20. i was surprised by nicki’s super sweetness and genuine caring about the contestant’s feelings. i wasn’t expecting that from her! mariah was mariah, i love her. keith was like a regular normal person lol and randy is the new tough one (like simon used to be). so many talented girls but where were the cute guys? hope for some tonite!

  21. Ok my take on David hasn’t made it big yet: He’s a late bloomer and really wasn’t ready for all that fame. Ok yes, the Jive thing might of derailed his career a bit, but when I look at a lot of his vlogs, he was always pulling back. Now it kinda makes sense to me, he might of been pressured (and this is OMO, I know he said that he wasn’t, but the very reason he needed to said it, makes me think otherwise) to go on this mission, so he couldn’t possibly give it his all to his career. Now with that mission thing behind him, I just hope he will be ready to except what it takes to be successful in a tough industry. RIGHT TEAM BEHIND HIM IS NEEDED!!!

  22. i didn’t catch all of idol last night but from what i saw, i was also surprised by nicki. perhaps it’s because with the wigs and makeup, i really don’t know who she is at her core.

    re. smartie and danny kaye, that’s some funny stuff! 😀

  23. Nicky Minaj is just………. a riot. I am not a fan of her music or when she’s feuding with Mariah, but boy is she entertaining. What a hoot LOL!

    It is also amazing to me that the handsome/pretty auditionees are immediately classified as having “star quality” by both N amd M. Nicky is also justifying a handsome contender with a barely there voice by saying – think of all the girls who would want to go to one of his concerts. Is this what David is up against in his comeback? Thank God – he is already handsome lol!

  24. Wow! What do you guys make of this Lazaros guy? Apart from the severe stuttering, I’m seriously getting David Archuleta vibes! Nothing close, mind you (singing Bridge Over Troubled Water), but he’s cute and he made me cry! 🙂

    Don’t know if he’ll get past Hollywood.

  25. HG – felt exactly the same when I saw him. What a sad yet beautiful story.

    • Yes I really liked Lazaros. Very touching story and good vocals. I thought Kez Ban, the street performer, was interesting. It looks like Nicki and Mariah really get into it next week. Nicki is entertaining and her different hair changes are something else. lol.

  26. Checked our Lazaro’s twitter and he’s an Archie! 😀

    Now, shhhh! Don’t tell David, but while he’s outta the country I’m soooooo gonna cheat on him this year! 🙂

    • OH NO, HG. They’ve got you hooked already? lol….I agree that Lazaro’s kinda cute, & of course his story would make most people cry. I did. But that’s their goal…the “rags-to-riches-against-all-odds-l’m-a-survivor” story to reel you in & keep you there. You know that, though, I’m sure. lol…Does he remind you of David because he’s Cuban? I honestly didn’t see any similarities, other than the fact that he seems like a genuine kid.

  27. For some reason after Lazaros, I had an urgency to put on the ears buds and listen to David’s BOTW….phew, I just had to go there.

    The young fellow is handsome and has a story. You never know what confidence he may muster up in Hollywood. So yes David hurry back, time does funny things in the music industry. Strange turns of events.

    Now ‘Be Still my Soul’…my iPhone only ever feet away.


  28. So he’s an Archie!!! Who wound have guessed!!

  29. Bare with me and some foolishness, but is this David’s next surprise? A double in some ways? OK, that’s alright!

    • If David sent us a subpar double to make us cry, then his comeback better be gold! 🙂

      • Sometimes I think it is totally amazing that we are here as anything and everything has happened in David’s career. Well the everything still has room for more! I think that his career is about as unique as it could be.. He has had us follow a tour with McFly to hearing about his time washing the feet of lepers while we supported a brick walkway by buying the bricks. He has been here then missing and completely out of touch for months (a warm-up for the now), but never out of mind. He has had snow fall on us in a casino, an extraordinary mass choir and full orchestra accompany him to an audience from around the world and I will mention lastly, he has starred in a love triangle before the scurry to prepare for his mission. Anything seems a possibility to the point that what is in my imagination could become a reality. We have been in David’s Wonderland…


      • Sandy Beaches, I agree with what you said about David. I love his voice but his solo career after Idol has been so entertaining which has made some of us ODD fans. You just never know what is going to happen next with him. It definately is not the usual artist that records an album, does promo for it, tours, and then does it all over again.

  30. I really enjoyed the singers already mentioned, plus the girl with anorexia was very touching and made me tear up along with Mariah. I thought the bickering between Nicki and Mariah was actually pretty good-natured and unexpectedly entertaining.

  31. Those sob stories is part of what I don’t like about those type of shows anymore, it’s almost like if you can sing and you don’t have a sad story to tell you are out of luck, lol. It will still be fun reading everyone’s comments about the show anyway.

  32. It wasn’t the story of anorexia that made me cry, it was the “cry” in her voice, like David has.

  33. hello gorgeous – me too! haha 🙂

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