Thursday, May 26, 2005

American Idol

I've been hooked on American Idol for three years now. I know it's lame, but it's like a guilty pleasure. Actually that's a good way to describe all reality tv, but let's not get off topic here. I was definitely rooting for Bo Bice tonight. How could I not root for a long haired rocker from Alabama? But I was not surprised at all that Carrie won.

While watching the final performances on Tuesday night, I commented that the fix was in. The producers of the show knew that Carrie was much more of sure thing in terms of $$$. It will be easy for her to serve up a CD of pop-ish country dance songs and ballads a la Shania Twain or Faith Hill (or any of their dozens of clones) and sell several million records. It would be more difficult to get a by-the-numbers pop CD out of Bo. He would be better served by more of a rock record, but rock fans tastes are much more finnicky than country or pop. A rock formula is much complicated than a pop or country one.

So what did the Idol masters do? They changed the format so that the singers had to do two "original" songs (picked by the producers) and had to do a song they had already performed for their third song. This didn't really help Carrie directly, but totally killed Bo. They made him do two sappy ballads -- songs he would never have picked on his own. They let him do one song of his choice, but because it had to be something he already done they took away one of his major advantages -- his knack for putting an original, fresh intepretation of his songs. They totally took him out of his game and handed the prize to Carrie.

The sad thing is that they probably did not need to do this. Bo vs. Carrie is almost a blue states vs. red states battle all over again. And all we know how that turned out. It's even worse really. American Idol is less popular among many blue state citizens. So the red states win again.

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