Saturday, May 21, 2011

This Is American I-Dull! -by Susan Vagnoni Murphy

I admit it, used to watch American Idol. I didn't see the first season except for the part where .the girl sang, and then the curly-head boy sang, and then I thought, "the girl won," Then I changed the channel. Later on I found out that "the girl", named Kelly Clarkson, won. No big deal.

My boys and I watched the next 3 seasons and I am ashamed to say I was a bit slow on the uptake. A pattern began to emerge. The best singers did not win. The gutsiest performances were not rewarded. America sucked as voters. What's new about that, Bush got in twice, didn't he?

Like lemmings we followed the show for a few years, voting and getting disappointed. We finally threw in the towel when Adam Lambert lost to the insipid Chris Allen. I can't even go there.

Now I find I am always bored with A.I. once they are past the audition weeks where at least you can see some inspired freaks put on a good show. No I am not talking about the judges panel (Paula Abdul where are you!). In fact, Steven Tyler is the best thing on the show this year.

During the current season, like a rubbernecker at a traffic accident-I simply click on A.I. for a few moments to see who has promise and therefore will not win. I am not disappointed. I spotted James Durbin as interesting and different. I knew that would kill any chances he had. It did.

So why does this show not work? Why do the best singers get voted off? My theory is that people are voting for some ideal person who does not exist. They vote for what they can understand at the simplest level. This is the only thing that explains Scotty McCreary still being in the running. Everything he sings sounds the same. He waves the flag; he spouts home and family and proclaims his fear of any contact with Lady GaGa. Family values absconded by right wing conservatism. How's that been working out for Arnold Schwarzenegger lately?

After having been involved in the arts most of my life I want to shout "If you strive to be a cookie-cutter person made out of cream cheese you might want to look for other employment!" Artistic pursuit is not about sameness, fitting in or even perfection in many cases. The arts -music, visual, theatrical- celebrate uniqueness and embrace a different point of view. Being true to yourself should not cause the fear it does in America today.

So I bid A.I. a long-coming farewell. I think I'll see what's on The Voice this week.


  1. Great blog, Cuz! It is so good to see you writing again on a regular basis. Your blogs always have a little bite to them. Very rarely do they disappoint!

  2. Thanks for reading Paul. I am feeling my sassy side again.

  3. I've started losing interest also, but Steven Tyler has kept me coming back this year. I agree with some of what you say Susan, but I must admit, I like listening to Scotty and think he has a great voice. He does sound country each time, but I like country and therefore him. James getting voted off was ridiculous however.


Thanks for commenting. Be fair, funny, frank, friendly, foolish or any of the goofy "F words". Peace, Susan