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  • The wide, wide, American Idol field

       March 23, 2005

    66% of the Dummocrats staff are into The Amazing Race. Sadly, I've not seen it. I'm an American Idol viewer, which in the pantheon of reality shows tends to put me on a par with the average Wheel of Fortune contestant. Whatever.

    I guess I like it because in a former life, I was tangentially connected to the music world, although it was classical and not pop. But still, it's kind of interesting to see the public presentation of the "artiste" on shows like this and know what's likely going on behind the scenes. Suffice it to say it's a crappy world, obsessed with labels and niches (it's no accident that "niche" is Paula Abdul's favorite word...she's probably heard it all her professional life.).

    Anyway, after watching last night (and inspired by a Daily Page thread), I thought I'd write up some general thoughts.

    It's a wide field, and unusually so in my opinion. I think there are two people who are way out in the Red Zone, and everyone else is wandering on their own 10 yard line. Those two are Carrie Underwood and Bo Bice.

    Carrie undoubtedly has the look of the pop singer. She's the young, cute, blonde, non-saggy pop tart. She's non-threatening. Safe. And yes, she has talent in no small amount. My main complaint with her is that she's largely untrained or self-taught. That's fine if you're limited to singing ballads at the Bumbletweed County Fair, but when it comes to the big leagues those limitations become more apparent. With that said, it's certainly reasonable to point out that the majority of the pop audience doesn't even care...I give you Madonna's early career.

    Bo Bice is almost the antithesis of Carrie. He's not what you think of when you think pop music. He's older and doesn't seem as approachable. And if you were to badger me incessantly about it, I might admit he doesn't have as much raw talent as others in the show. But what he does have in spades is professionalism and experience. He knows what he's capable of and he excels at it. During the inane parts of the earlier shows (like when they were talking about their astrological signs) you could sense this undercurrent of disgust from him at having to put up with it. That isn't his thing. He's the kind of musician who shows up on time, ready to play, does so very well, and then leaves with no fanfare or diva attitude. He takes his craft seriously. And I respect the hell out of that.

    As for the others, I view them as largely unremarkable. Your mileage may vary.

    update: Looks like there was a problem with the voting, and we're going to have a do-over:

    According to an "Idol" statement released early Wednesday morning, "due to an error with the graphics shown on-screen, incorrect voting numbers were displayed during the performance recap at the end of [Tuesday's show] a live, one-hour show will air Wednesday, 9:00-10:00 p.m. to enable a re-vote. This new show will combine new live elements with encores of Tuesday's performances from the remaining 11 contestants."

    Posted by John Tant at March 23, 2005 08:24 AM

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    #  March 23rd, 2005 11:19 AM      james
    huh, will probably have to set the tivo to "manual" for this one...  
    #  March 23rd, 2005 12:06 PM      kris
    you know, I love Bo, but "professional" isn't what I'm looking for in a rock star. Sometimes, I want my rock stars to be drunken messes. I want them to make the roadies play a concert a la The Replacements. I want them to wear hideous clothes sometimes. I want them to have groupies and all of that. I mean, someone has to live the rock n roll lifestyle, right?  
    #  March 23rd, 2005 12:19 PM      JohnTant
    The thing is, I don't think Bo is a "rock star." That's the niche he's being forced into by the AI producers. I think he's best described as a singer, and a pretty good one.  
    #  March 23rd, 2005 12:36 PM      kris
    I guess I just don't see a big difference between a rock star and a pop singer. Of course, when it comes down to it, I'm more interested in how they sing than in how they act.  
    #  March 24th, 2005 8:21 AM      kris
    So, I have to confess, I broke down and actually voted once last night. For Jessica. Go Jessica go!  
    #  March 24th, 2005 9:26 PM      kris
    I have no idea how Nadia was in the bottom three while horrible, horrible Constantine was safe. Is America deaf?  
    #  March 24th, 2005 9:48 PM      james
    oh please, her performance was terrible. past weeks, good. this week, not so much.

    how nikko stays on, that i cant comprehend  
    #  March 24th, 2005 10:10 PM      kris
    but Constantine always sucks.  
    #  March 25th, 2005 7:28 AM      JohnTant
    Nadia? Some music type will tell you she got out of her "niche" and it cost her. She tried to stylize Cyndi Lauper!

    Constantine is the drama major who graduated three years ago but still hangs around the college trying to pick up freshmen.




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