March 31st, 2004

flavored with age

American Idolater

Okay, I don't usually watch reality TV. I respond to it pretty much the way most people I know respond to comic books or literary theory: they know some people like it, but it's not something they have even the remotest interest in, and the few times they've actually been exposed to it, it hasn't done much for them.

But last night, I was at the laundromat doing about 600 pounds of laundry, and you can't really help being exposed to TV over there, since they have at least four of them blaring at one time. (You'll note that this is the second or third time I've written about a TV show I've only ever seen at the laundromat. It's like my popular culture headquarters.) And "American Idol" happened to be on.

Now, I've never seen an episode of "American Idol" all the way through, but from the way they were talking, all the people on the show were finalists or at least had made it pretty far into the competition. So my question is: aren't these people supposed to be, well...good? Not in the sense of writing and performing songs a person like me would want to listen to; I'm not asking for the impossible. But aren't they supposed to be at least technically proficient, competent singers? One guy sang the blandest, flattest interpretation of a Motown song I've ever heard in my life, and another woman projected so badly that she was completely drowned out by the horn section. And the judges didn't even hate them! Even the bitchy English guy, although he didn't like the first guy (for the same reasons I didn't), had nice things to say about the woman who couldn't make herself heard over the band.

Am I missing something about this show? Or is this just a rotten group of finalists? I don't get it.