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Thursday, January 15, 2009

We Watch It So You Don't Have To: "American Idol"

I knew going into it that watching my first full episode of "American Idol" with an open mind was a tall order -- an almost Herculean task. After all, this is a show that I've ridiculed and spat upon since it first came out in 2002. Would I be able to review it fairly?

So I tried some open-mind exercises. I meditated with a trained yogi. I read multiple right-wing blogs without headbutting my computer. I watched "Daddy Day Camp" and forced myself to laugh.

I thought I was ready, but "American Idol" seemed determined to break me. After gratuitous shots of host Ryan Seacrest welcoming us from the edge of the Grand Canyon (at least, I think it was the Grand Canyon -- dude's so little it could have been a pothole), and a montage of past winners, losers, and ultra-losers set to Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" (why that song? Perhaps the producers have a healthy sense of irony) my mind snapped shut fast. Unfortunately, my ears were unable to follow suit.

Holy crap, what a horrible show. I can't decide which part I hated most. Was it the tap-dancing, Asian Michael Jackson impersonator with the afro? Was it judges Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell bickering as if they were on "The Maury Povich Show," and Simon was denying he was Paula's baby daddy? Was it spending five minutes exploring a contestant's backstory, only to have them suck royally and get summarily dismissed 30 seconds later?

The low point had to be the now-infamous bikini girl, who, since I can't remember her name, I will call Chesty McLookatme. Ol' Chesty comes strutting into the audition room wearing nothing but a bikini and high heels, and the cameraman practically breaks his neck trying to capture every inch of her. Chesty sang fine, but it didn't matter. Simon and Randy quickly and decisively gave her a, er, thumbs up, while Paula and new judge Kara DiaGuardi hemmed and hawed and acted to be offended that they were letting their penises affect their judgement. Yes, because as two women who work in the music industry, they were shocked that a woman would show a little skin to get ahead.

By then I had basically had enough. I quit watching (yes, I admit it) around the hour-fifteen mark, because truthfully I was bored out of my mind. The show's other 30.2 million viewers stuck around though, which was a 10% drop in viewership over last year's premiere.

Will you watch again? Not even if Chesty McLookatme asked me in person.

-- Adam Reinhard,

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Chesty McLookatme = tanning bed much?

By Blogger Ms. Quarter, At January 15, 2009 at 10:25 PM  

I admit watching Seasons 1 to about maybe 4 all the way through in support of the hairdresser for the show) at the time. I designed his website :)

But the past few seasons have been sporadic watching at best, mostly because I hate the new focus on the train wreck auditions that take up nearly half the season now or so it seems. The competition phase with the infusion of the guest stars and shameless CD plugs also wore me down. It truly is a terrible show and the novelty of it has jumped the shark.

I mean over the past few years the "winner" usually ends up with no real sustainable career while someone who gets booted earlier ends up with more start potential.

I give you Kudos for trying, but at this point in the show's history there is no point in starting. You were better off at the beginning of Idol to actually stick through a season. It's unwatchable now pure an simple.

By Blogger Antony, At January 16, 2009 at 12:21 AM  

As a fan of Idol, I challenge you to one more viewing - not during auditions. I like the show, but would agree with you on this episode an all audition episodes - just horrible. Come back for the top 24 and see if you're slightly more entertained.

By Blogger ACon, At January 16, 2009 at 11:43 AM  

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