I got talked into watching American Idol this year by my wife. I’ve long been anti-AI, with the notable exception of the second season when my friend Rickey Smith made it into the top 10! That year I was a HUGE AI fan, voting every week multiple times for my boy. After he lost, I had no use for the show and was happy to spend my time doing other stuff. Like cleaning lint out of the dryer vent. Very rewarding!
This year, however, my interest was piqued with the addition of Steven Tyler. While not a personal friend like Rickey, Tyler and I have spent much time together. It one of those relationships where I do a lot of listening to what Steven has to say and he doesn’t even know I exist. That said, adding Steven to the show, gave me a good reason to give Idol a second shot.
But today I’m reminded of why the show it a complete waste of time. All* of America is in an uproar today after last night’s surprise exit of 22-year old Pia Toscano. (*I know not “all” of America watches America Idol. Researchers have identified lots of people who don’t watch the show and have found that they typically fall into one of three categories: don’t have TV’s; are in comas; are intelligent humans.) Not only was Pia “not unattractive” she had a great voice and was thought by a lot of people, including the judges, to be one of the best singers left in the competition. So naturally when she was voted out everyone went crazy!
But let’s stop and think about what American Idol actually is and isn’t. It’s not a talent show where the best person wins. They had that back in the 80s and 90s; it was called Star Search and was hosted by Ed McMahon! No, this is a popularity contest with a Darwinian approach — the cool kids make it farther than the talented ones. Or at least that potential exists.
Because when you get right down to it you’ve got teeny-bopper girls doing a majority of the voting. And we KNOW they don’t have good taste in music — they swoon over Justin Bieber! Sure there are adults who watch the show, but how many vote. And if we do vote, it’s only once. We have to get back to our big-boy and big-girl responsibilities.
So listen America, don’t get all ticked off that Pia lost. She’ll have a career in music and someday soon you’ll be able to buy her music on iTunes. But let’s not be surprised when the same crowd that is willing to spend mommy and daddy’s hard-earned money to download “Friday” by Rebecca Black can’t tell real talent when they see it!