Thursday, January 18, 2007

American I-dull

Here we go again. The new season of American Idol has started this week, and for the next 4 months, it will be impossible for an American to open a newspaper, a news or entertainment website or listen to the radio without being hammered with AI news and predictions.
This is a little like the World Cup in Europe. You might not be interested in it, you'll hear about it anyway, in stereo and technicolor.

But let's focus a little on what AI is: for the first few weeks, we'll have the great pleasure to tune in every week and watch terrible contestant being insulted by the new world famous judges, Simon Cowell first in line.

I will grant you this: it's very entertaining. Watching those poor people perform songs so poorly and ridiculously, without seemingly realizing how bad they are is, simply put, hilarious. We all remember William Hung , who was more than happy to get his more than 15 minutes of fame. I laughed a lot Tuesday and Wednesday night, I admit it. Then I watched in horror the judges compare the poor guys to monkeys, or suggesting they'd be better of prostituting themselves.

Can they do that? According to
Cowell, this is a reality check: they're better of knowing they'll never make a career in music than losing another few years of their life trying. I agree with that: simply saying "not good enough" when it's simply bad is not helpful. The same way you wouldn't want your doctor to tell you you have a chance of outliving cancer when, really, you don't. But still, you wouldn't want to hear: "I've had a lot of sick and dying patients today, but you're even worst". Let's add that if it's alright for the judges to judge their singing, it's certainly out of place to make fun of what they look like or their mental ability.

I also want to give props here to
MSNBC and shows like Scarborough Country for calling this out - even if they are, of course, riding on the American Idol wave, and not shy of using 10 minutes out of their 15-minute segment actually showing the bad auditions, and then rushing the 5 left to criticize them. But then, maybe I'm doing the same thing here!

I've always believed the worst kind of humor consists in making fun of others at their expense. The fact the contestants have signed a release form is some consolation, but they certainly don't need to be pounded on the head the way they are.

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