Robert's Random Ravings

American Idol

American Idol

American Idol


I think just about everyone has heard of American Idol by now. It is the number one show on television each year. It is now in its eighth season.

I have been watching American Idol since the third season and in general have really enjoyed it. This year, however, it does not seem to be grabbing my attention as much as previous years. Don’t get me wrong. I am still watching every moment and still discussing it with my family and many of my friends who also watch it religiously.

The funny thing is that in each step of the way this year, I have gotten to the point where I cannot wait for the current stage to be over and the next stage to begin. By the end of the auditions, I could not wait for Hollywood week to begin. By the middle of Hollywood, I was ready for the Final 24 to be announced. Then they changed the format and made it a final 36. The show is now just about finished with this Final 36 stage and ready to get to the Final 12.

During this stage, they had the contestants sing in 3 groups of 12, with only 3 of those 12 making it through, based on the vote tallies from the American audience. The top guy, the top girl and then the next highest vote getter make it through.

Tonight, they will be doing a wildcard round wherein they have asked 8 of the people that did not make it through to come back and compete for the final 3 spots in the Top 12. Whew. This process seems to have gone on forever.

Thankfully, after tonight, we will be back to the familiar format where all of the contestants sing and the person receiving the lowest vote total is eliminated. And even after all the “frustration” and “drama,” I can honestly say that this Top 12 group will be a pretty good group.

The problem with the show is that it is supposed to be a singing contest, but always turns into more of a popularity contest. Is there any doubt that the producers and judges of American Idol wanted Lil Rounds and Danny Gokey in the Top 12? They made sure that those two got the final spot in their respective weeks of this round, or what I call the “pimp spot.” That way, the last thing people remember when they go to vote is those performances. And of course, it worked. Both of them are in the Top 12. This is not necessarily a bad thing since both of these contestants happen to be very talented and capable artists. I just don’t like the manipulation that seems to take place every year by the show’s producers. If it truly is a contest based on America’s vote, don’t manipulate us.

Then there are the judges. Their comments (except for Simon most of the time) are basically useless and completely unhelpful. “Your outfit is atrocious.” “I don’t know who you are as an artist.” “You are so much younger than that song.” And on and on. It makes me want to scream at the screen (which I do, in fact, do). Plus each judge tries to out-do the other judges. None of them allow the other judges to talk without talking over them and creating a general sense of confusion.

I think that they should limit the judges to 20 seconds of commentary and “play them out” like they do on the Oscars if they go over. The show gets so bogged down. Think about it. This week, there were 12 contestants, each singing for 90 seconds. That is a total of 18 minutes of singing. But the broadcast was two hours long! All I can say is “thank G-d for Tivo”.

And can we talk about the group numbers? Who puts these together? Almost all of them are just horrible and cringe-worthy efforts. On “So You Think You Can Dance,” I always look forward to the group numbers because they are imaginative and entertaining. I can only remember 2 or 3 group numbers on Idol that were worth listening to.

Another thing that kills me is the band. This is not “America’s Favorite Band.” They feature the band way too much on American Idol. The music and the backup singers should be behind the contestants – not overpowering them. Half the time, all you can hear is the band. I also do not like when any of the band is put up on the main stage with the contestant. This is very distracting and again, it is not the point of the contest.

Finally, what is with the sound engineers on this show? This is the top show on television for 8 years running. I have to believe that Fox and American Idol can afford to hire sound engineers that actually know what they are doing. Is that too much to ask??

All that being said, it is still one of my favorite shows and I look forward to this year’s Top 12.

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03/05/2009 - Posted by | General | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Well, I have to agree with about 97% of what you said.

    Having watched tonight’s show, I now know that the top 12 is really the top 13. Well…good. That allowed Anoop to be part of the group and I’m all for that.

    I have to say that Simon says the same thing as the other judges—such as: ““Your outfit is atrocious.” “I don’t know who you are as an artist.” “You are so much younger than that song.” He just phrases it in an even more negative way (except for ‘your outfit is atrocious’ which can’t really get more negative.)

    I kind of like this year’s show, even with all its craziness. Call me weird.

    I would truly like this show to be about singing, stage presence, and personality rather than popularity because, at the the end of the contest, the ones who don’t have star quality don’t really go anywhere. I would love to see another winner with the talent and charisma of Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, or the two Davids.

    Anyway, next week should be interesting–and it’s still one of my favorite shows too.

    Comment by SHOSHANA KURZWEIL | 03/06/2009 | Reply


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