Wednesday, January 14, 2009

the talent pool

"American Idol" is a television show. First and foremost. It's bigger than any contestant. It's glorified karaoke at best."

i was reading Bob Lefsetz' response to last night's "american idol", and that's a line that stuck out for me. i'm sure, if you didn't watch it yourself, you've seen the news bits about the girl in the bikini who popped in and made it to the next round. could she sing? sure, she was ok. she won't make it much further than round 2, though. she's basing too much on her appearance, and i think what the 4 judges on american idol are looking for is more than just looks...they're looking for the complete package. between the talent last night in phoenix, tonight's in kansas city, and the other cities, she's done.

but in a way she's a microcosm of what this show is to many people. it's a way to get (at least) your 15 minutes of fame if you put yourself in the right circumstances. which is what she did. it's a method for people to get attention, and in a very superficial way, validate their existence. i'm sure you've seen some of the reactions from people when simon, paula & the other judges are blatantly honest with some of the contestants over their lack of talent. it's when you see who really are the drama queens and spoiled brats. the impression these people leave is that their entire existence is based on the opinions of these (now) 4 people they have never met before and never will run into again. it's easy for us, on our own, to believe we are better at something than we really are. especially when our family & friends are not honest with us.

"american idol", especially in the early stages, is incredibly entertaining to watch. i feel empathy for the people who are truly trying to sing well and have practiced but are shot down because that "it" factor isn't there. for me, there is nothing more beautiful than a musician who performs with talent and from the heart. it moves me. and i couldn't help but laugh at some of the other people who, it seems, had never really heard themselves sing.

i can't help but think, as we wade through this new era in music where there will not be any true superstars, what some of the contestants think the long-term outlook is for them if they did make it.