A silly little blog for me to drop the excrement of my mind.
-or- fooling the American public
Published on April 30, 2008 By BlueDev In Movies & TV & Books

Now in its seventh season, there is now doubt that American Idol is a powerhouse in American entertainment.  Week after week, it is the most watched show on television.  Millions call in to keep their favorite contestant in the show.  Millions are donated to help a worthy cause.  And numerous careers have been launched thanks to this little singing competition.

One of the aspects that makes American Idol fun is the feeling of participation that the viewer has.  We, the audience, have the power to call a phone number (as many times as we want in the 2 hour block) and do our part to support our favorites.  Part of this excitement is that the show is "live", at least for those of us here on the East Coast (I've never watched it elsewhere, so I don't know how they pull it off).

However, nagging the show over the years have been suggestions that it is somehow "rigged", that the results are, at the very least, manipulated by the producers through the judges and the host.  As best as I can tell, though, these have never been more than vague suggestions.  Rumors and whisperings.  Nothing more.

Until now, perhaps.

Thanks to somewhat spacey judge, Paula Abdul, there have been no shortage of "Huh?" moments over the years.  She has what I like to refer to as verbal diarrhea.  She just sort of talks, and talks, and you hope that something coherent comes out of the mess she just spewed all over the place. 

Last night, though, was the most surreal moment I have witnessed.  Here is the set-up: Each contestant was to sing two songs.  Host RyanSeacrest made it clear they would be pressed for time and the judges were to only comment and critique after both songs had been sung.  Each contestant performed their first song and, in what appeared to be a somewhat impromptu moment, Ryan has all five come out on stage and asks the judges to quickly comment on the songs so far.  Randy and Simon were their normal selves.  But in the middle of them we have thetrain wreck that is Paula Abdul.

She first starts to comment on Jason Castro's (forgettable) first song.  After a quick comment she then continues, "The second song, I felt like your usual charm wasn't...it was missing for me, it kind of left me a little empty. And the two songs made me feel like you're not fighting hard enough to get into the top four.''

What?

Randy leans over and reminds her that Jason only sang one song and she acts dumbfounded.  She says she thought he sang twice, then comes up with some line that she was confusing her notes with David Cook, who sang second.  Only she then says that David was fantastic. Hmmm, something doesn't add up here.

So, the question becomes; What was Paula talking about?  As I see it, there are only two possibilities.  On the one hand, she already had notes from the rehearsal and she was just going to stick to those, no matter what happened with the actual "live" performance, or on the other, she had prepared before hand the type of critique she was going to offer based on what the producers wanted to see happen.

Either option seems pretty underhanded to me.

The second option, well, that is nefarious enough I don't even have to discuss it further.  But even the first seems wrong to me.  If this is supposed to be live, and we, the American audience, are expected to judge the contestants on the live performance, what business do the judges have not doing the same?  To maintain the integrity of the competition, the judges should be commenting on exactly the performance I just saw.  Commentary on a previous performance, that could have been much better or much worse than the one seen on TV gives the judges an opportunity to artificially manipulate the audience.

In the end, I find it quite disingenuous. 


Comments
on Apr 30, 2008
I've never watched it. Couldn't even tell you what channel it's on.

~Zoo
on Apr 30, 2008

It can actually be a very entertaining show to watch.  My wife and I enjoy it.

on Apr 30, 2008
It can actually be a very entertaining show to watch. My wife and I enjoy it.


I prefer Rockstar: Supernova, which you can still see performances from on Youtube! Pop stinks, Rock rules! Even though the singers are all just butchering good songs!
on May 01, 2008
It can actually be a very entertaining show to watch. My wife and I enjoy it.I prefer Rockstar: Supernova, which you can still see performances from on Youtube! Pop stinks, Rock rules! Even though the singers are all just butchering good songs!


Just to be fair to AI, there are rock performers and performances on there. I loved the first Rockstar, but wasn't to crazy about the second season. I think if they ever bring that show back they need to retool a bit.

I am a big AI fan. My first thought when Paula did said that last night was that she read the notes she had from their rehearsal peformances. She is definitely a space cadet.
on May 01, 2008
I never watch American Idol, but since I love Neil Diamond I was suckered in.

Yeah, Paula... um... love the girl, but when she started babbling incoherently, I just sat there, slack jawed, thinking, WTF?! My impression was she was thinking of the rehearsals. She seems so out of it, I'm not sure she's capable of telling what happened when.


(P.S. Most of those people can't sing!)


Update: TMZ has a recording of Paula on Seacrest's radio show "explaining" her comments. It's not much clearer than the original babbling, but she sticks with the "David was the second singer on the grassy knoll" story. She claims she was watching friends entering late, didn't pay attention to her note taking, and scribbled notes for two singers on one paper without differentiating, thus confusing herself when reading them off.

*WHEW*

on May 01, 2008
I loved the first Rockstar, but wasn't to crazy about the second season.


I just liked the singers, Dilana, Magni, Ryan, Storm, even Jill had some good moments. So I just youtube their performances and ignore the rest of them... I don't know who was good in the first season, because I didn't watch either season when it was actually on the TV.

(P.S. Most of those people can't sing!)


Second. But most people can't sing to the level real artists have to. It's like putting a bunch of minor leaguers against an MLB team. Some of them might have what it takes, but as a group, they're just not it.
on May 01, 2008
Update: TMZ has a recording of Paula on Seacrest's radio show "explaining" her comments. It's not much clearer than the original babbling, but she sticks with the "David was the second singer on the grassy knoll" story. She claims she was watching friends entering late, didn't pay attention to her note taking, and scribbled notes for two singers on one paper without differentiating, thus confusing herself when reading them off.


Well if that's her story, fine, but more clear of a story would be that she was taking the rehearsal into account by mistake. I mean, these judges have to listen to so many songs all the time that they probably do get confused if their name is Paula.

Must suck for him to hear how awful his second song was going to be before even singing it.
on May 01, 2008
I only watch AI during the open casting, when they showcase the worst with the best. After that, I couldn't care less who wins and never watch it.


Me too.

You and American Idol. If I didn't love ya so much, I'd make fun of ya, BD.
on May 01, 2008

You and American Idol. If I didn't love ya so much, I'd make fun of ya, BD.

Feel free.  Heck, at least there are some good (and this year even some great) musical performances.  It isn't like I am watching something sissy like, oh, Gilmore Girls.  You know, a show about mothers and daughters, their relationships and feelings and love lives. 

on May 01, 2008

Case in point:

Go search on YouTube for David Cook performing "Hello" by Lionel Richie, or "Eleanor Rigby" by the Beatles, or "Billy Jean" (the Chris Cornell arrangement) and tell me those aren't pretty great reinterpretations and performances.  I don't see how you, as a musician and music lover, couldn't appreciate those as great live music performances.

on May 01, 2008
Case in point:


Wow. That guy sounds great. Straight up.

And go ahead and make fun of me for Gilmore Girls - at least we're both comfortable enough with ourselves to be able to admit what we like and what we don't.
on May 01, 2008

I do think AI is fixed. Not straight out where they outright cheat but they do do things to try to manipulate the vote the way they want. Like if they want a particular singer to go they will give bad reviews even if they sang good or they will have them sing first so that hopefully the short attention spanned audience will forget about them by the end of the show.

As for Paula Abdul I just think she's drugged up every show. Not only do the audience have a clue what she is saying she has no idea. Hence the notes.

BTW Jones Boys, at the risk of being made fun of I watched both AI and Lorelai and Rory.

on May 01, 2008

  I don't see how you, as a musician and music lover, couldn't appreciate those as great live music performances.

Wow. That guy sounds great. Straight up.

See that's what I like about you, SC. I know as a true music lover you would appreciate those performances.

Unlike some other people who claim to be say for instance a movie fan who loves movies more than anything then proceeds to trash every movie he sees. Damn posers. 

on May 05, 2008

yeah i watched it. paula really bugs me, unless she's being positive about a contestant i support  has done badly. i dont understand how she thot jason sang two songs. was she even paying attention? is that y she's unable to come up with constructive criticism?

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