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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A brief history of "American Idol"

As a new season of Western Civilization's greatest achievement takes its first baby steps out of the primordial ooze we call prime time television, let's take a moment to reflect on how it all started. How did this cultural behemoth, this last bastion of human intellect, begin? The way all reality TV shows do: by the hand of God.

On the sixth day, God created Man. On the seventh day, because He was already bored, God created karaoke. Thus did karaoke begat "Garden of Eden Idol," which tanked in the ratings, since Adam was its only contestant. Yea did God not want to lose sponsors, so He created Eve out of Adam's rib bone. This severely affected Adam's diaphragm, and he was never able to sing again. Thus did Eve score a major recording contract with Apple Records.

It was during the height of the Roman Empire that "Idol" began to take the form we know today: one of unimaginable cruelty. Emperor Simonus Cowellus presided over weekly singing contests in the Colosseum, joined by Grand Inquisitor Randimus Jacksonicon, and the emperor's most beloved slave girl, Paula Abdul. (Yes, the same one. Paula Abdul is thousands of years old.) Together they would pass judgement on the feeble of voice and flamboyant of character, and those who received the "thumbs down" from the emperor were fed to the lions. Those who won ... well, they were fed to the lions, too. Emperor Cowellus had a thing for feeding people to the lions. He was kind of a jerk.

The American West in the 1800s was a time of lawlessness, violence, and horrible covers of R&B standards. Among all the famous outlaws "Wild West Idol" produced, two names stand out: Butch Aiken and the Ruben Kid. Once friends, this notorious duo's relationship strained when allegations of voting irregularities shocked the Union. The story goes that close to 150 viewer votes, sent by telegraph, weren't counted, and victory was given to the Kid. The gruff gunslingers settled their dispute like men: Barry Manilow at high noon -- choose your ballad. The Kid's interpretation of "Can't Smile Without You" made even the most hardened cowpoke cry in his sassparilla, and Butch Aiken was forced to accept defeat -- and a lucrative record deal.

In one of the closest and most controversial elections ever, audience and judge favorite Melinda Doolittle lost to George W. Bush when the Supreme Court ruled in his favor, plunging the country into darkness and despair. Only time will tell if voters learn from their mistake and use a little more care in choosing their next presi -- er, "Idol" -- this season.

Looking back, what lessons are there to glean from "American Idol's" rich and storied history? What basic human truths can we pluck from a tree grown of music and humiliation? Only one springs to my mind: I sure would like to see Ryan Seacrest eaten by lions.

-- Adam Reinhard,

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That first picture is one of the most disturbing things I've seen in my life. Thanks for that.

By Anonymous Dan, At January 17, 2008 at 10:52 AM  

Et tu, Brute? I'm feeling a little betrayed by all this American Idol blogger coverage. But, I'll let it slide because this post is hilarious.

PS - Are you trying to maintain a small, elite following by making this blog impossible to find on the Press Gazette's home page, or is your online department just really slow?

By Anonymous julius caesar, At January 17, 2008 at 11:09 AM  

Admittedly, we're elitist, but our humble little blog sometime suffers from bottom-of-the-pile syndrome when the home page is refreshed nightly.

Adam, this is the most hilarious thing I've ever read. Thanks for making my day.

By Blogger Press-Gazette blogger, At January 17, 2008 at 11:23 AM  

I laughed. I cried. I pictured a lion sucking on Ryan Seacrest's femur bone like it was KFC.

I also remembered that I have too many Packers stories to write and must get back to work.

-- Tom

By Blogger Press-Gazette blogger, At January 17, 2008 at 12:18 PM  

Too too funny. Thanks.

By Anonymous Anonymous, At January 17, 2008 at 6:51 PM  

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