TV Bites With
American Idolatry II
by Neena Louise
American Idol once again succeeded with entertaining us with
auditions of the delightfully dreadful and the idols-in-the-making.
Again, I found myself sucked in. That was, at least, until the final
Unfortunately, we were once again tortured with very bad group
numbers (I am shocked to find myself never wanting to hear "God
Bless the U.S.A." ever again), shlocky skits (that racing car
skit was the most stupid piece of crap...), and shrieking audience
members (I couldn't help whining "shuuuuut-uuuuuup!").
Like millions of others, however, I endured the torture to watch the
process, but found myself quite disinterested once the final three
were chosen (Clay Aiken, Ruben Studdard, Kimberley Locke). Unlike
the first American Idol, all three were talented and worthy
of the title and it didn't really matter which one won. All three
will no doubt go on to stardom.
Now that it's over and Ruben Studdard has been crowned American
Idol, time once again to make some objective observations:
It's amazing how much better a host Seacrest is without that dork
Brian Dunkleman as a co-host. Though he still wouldn't be my first
choice, Seacrest came across as more professional, polished and not
nearly as cheesy as in Idol's first installment.
They started off enthusiastic, though polite (much to my relief),
but it didn't take long before this bunch of sign-waving shrieking
morons became the worst thing about the show. The last few shows
reminded me of a drunken college football game with all the card
waving, screaming and...what the hell were those ridiculous noodle
stick thingies?!?! It's one thing to show your enthusiasm, but it's
quite another thing to make such a racket that no one can hear the
performances - it's rude.
Though I agreed with most of Cowell's assessments of the
contestants' performances, he became such a caricature that it
became increasingly difficult to take him seriously. His repetitive
"I don't mean to be rude" (then being just that) and
"sorry" (sounding anything but) accompanied by his jerky
bird-like head movements just became so silly and predictable, his
judgments gave rise to a bout of eye-rolling.
Somewhat improved from last season and all her non-judgmental
judgments, judge Abdul still has a way to go. She's not helping
anyone by not being critical. Isn't giving criticisms what a judge
is supposed to do? Her gushing and raving and incessant
"good job!" of sub-par performances started making me ill.
Much to my relief, gone was the shameless name-dropping.
Unfortunately, that left him with a seriously diminished vocabulary,
dominated by: "yo", "man", "whassup",
and "dawg". He is in desperate need of a thesaurus.
The Guest Judges
I was quite skeptical when I heard there would be guest judges,
fully expecting B-listers that took their cues from Abdul and just
gushed about everybody and everything. I was pleasantly surprised by
the superstars (nay, legends) that showed up who could teach
Simon Cowell lessons on "How to give criticisms without looking
like an asshole."
(in alphabetical order)
There was something just plain adorable about him. Despite the fact
that I became familiar with his voice, like the judges, I was always
surprised to hear that strong voice come out of that person.
I'm not sure what it was, but there was something I just didn't like
about her. Her voice was good, her look was good, her stage presence
was adequate, but there was just something offensive about her. I
strongly suspect my dislike was due to the broadcast of an argument
she had with Julia DeMato before the contest even began, which made
her come across as snotty. Or maybe it was the big hair. Whatever. I
didn't like her.
She was very good during the entire audition phase, but totally
tanked once the competition started. It would be interesting to know
if it was just nerves or that she needs a lot of rehearsal time in
order to sound good.
I didn't think Gracin was all that talented and was wildly
inconsistent in his performances (not to mention that quivering chin
and heavy-lidded eyes started to get annoying). I suspect he got as
far as he did because he is a marine at a time we were all
(understandably) feeling patriotic.
I struggled to recall Grigsby's performances and couldn't, leading
me to conclude they were average at best. I do recall, however, that
he was cute and quite charming. Perhaps he could put those qualities
to a different use.
Though she had a rocky start and I started expecting her
elimination, Locke stepped it up and wowed everyone with her
powerful, smoky voice. Add to that her poise, good looks and stage
presence and I'm sure she'll be able to make it in the music biz.
More style and personality than talent, the quirky Olivarez was fun
to watch. Just not fun to listen to. Perhaps acting would be more to
Fresh-faced and cute, Rasmusen just wasn't a very good singer. I was
shocked that Simon Cowell chose her as his "wild card"
spot. I'm curious as to what he saw in her that made him pick her.
Rickey "Hercules, Hercules" Smith was another contestant
that was more personality than talent, though he was actually a
fairly decent singer. I suspect if he had been on last season, he
would have gone a lot farther.
Not only was he the only contestant that didn't turn out one single
terrible performance, his stage presence was among the very best.
Add in that million-dollar face and he is, indeed, an American Idol.
Her voice was adequate, but nothing special (changing her name
didn't help). She tended to over-sing everything and didn't have
much stage presence. Never really finding her own style, her
performances were akin to karaoke night at the local bar.
Clark was disqualified for not informing the producers about an
arrest, claiming he didn't think it necessary because "I'm
innocent" (a claim made by jailed convicts everywhere).
Innocent or not, he wouldn't have won anyway. His falsetto just
wasn't interesting enough and those stupid hats made him look like a
Don't feel too sorry for Davis, who was ousted for modeling
underwear on a porn site (though there's some disagreement as to
whether it was actually a porn site at all). She got more mileage
and publicity for being kicked off than she would have if she'd
It will be interesting to see the next installment of American
Idol and I find myself actually looking forward to it (blush).
Will Abdul get a backbone? Will Jackson get a vocabulary? Will
Cowell get a life? Will the audience shut the hell up for a change?
would love to know what you think, sound off on the
boards and let us know what you think!