I never thought I’d write this post. I have been watching (and loving) American Idol since season one, but last week when Quentin was eliminated, Katie and I texted each other that we were through with this show (at least if changes aren’t made before next season). Michael Slezak and Melinda Doolittle covered many of the same issues on their marathon episode of Reality Check, but if you don’t have 45 minutes, keep going for the five reasons I’ve given up on American Idol this year.
This includes cutting out the elimination episode, the glowy red and green chairs and the fact that the contestants don’t know they’re moving on until right before they perform. I appreciated that the producers were willing to shake things up with the format, even if it was to make room for that shitty Rainn Wilson procedural, Backstrom, which even Katie, lover of all procedurals, couldn’t sit through. Clearly this was a misstep. I really liked MJ’s suggestion in this post, to have everyone perform (in RANDOM order) and then at the end we find out who is eliminated. It makes it less stressful for the contestants, if the producers are going to keep up this once-weekly show.
Furthermore, every week when Rayvon gets saved with the Twitter save the producers created in order for him to never go home, I forget to vote for him. I voted for him on Twitter to stay! But it’s only for that week, it doesn’t guarantee he won’t need to be saved the next week. I’m sure all of his other fans do too, so this is why he is perpetually in the bottom two.
2. The Harry and Ryan Show
I go back and forth on Ryan. On one hand, when he’s on E!, he makes G look like she’s working at her high school’s circuit TV news program, “What’s Up JFK High?” And from time to time on Idol, I appreciate his professionalism and treatment of the contestants. However, there’s no way The Voice’s Carson Daly would have goaded Quentin into complaining about the potential elimination of his BFF nor would he use the platform to make racist comments about Quentin looking like he wanted to beat up Harry. Unless Ryan is going to be funny on the level of Dermot O’Leary (still sad you’re leaving us, buddy!), his job should be to keep the show moving.
And Harry. Oh Harry. You are fine in the auditions with your quips, as most of them get edited and you do make a lot of sense. But once the live shows start, you do the most inane skits, most of which are sexist and all of which are not funny. And berating Quentin on national television when he was sad that Joey was in the bottom two (because that’s really what it’s about–he’s even officiating her wedding!) was uncomfortable for all the viewers. Repeat after me, Harry: “This is not about me. This is about finding the next superstar, who is not me. I am not going to be discovered by SNL. Furthermore, I will offer equal, honest criticism to all contestants and not ignore the pitch issues of the front-runner so I can pick on a truly talented contestant who is just doing his best, and who also wears amazing Muppet coats.”
3. Other production issues
The Harry and Ryan Show is happening because there is too much extra time. Contestants have been singing two songs for several weeks and there are several outside performances every week but there is not enough to fill the time. Can the pre-performance packages be longer, like what X Factor UK does? I want to see more of (I can’t believe I am typing this) Scott Borchetta’s mentoring. How do the songs get chosen? When do the contestants have a say in the arrangements? Let’s meet the dancers or back-up singers or something.
Last night, while I was watching baseball, Scott apparently bullied Clark in an attempt to drop him from first place to allow his favorites, Jax and Nick, to receive more votes. I’m sure even the most casual fan was turned off by it, but will also let it affect the way he or she votes.
4. Remaining contestants
Is it foretold that Clark is going to win this season? If so, he will be added to the long history of winners like Lee Dewyze, Kris Allen and Caleb from last year of white dudes that will have middling careers. Nick’s performances have turned same-y, Rayvon needs serious help with song selection (pick me! pick me!), Jax tries too hard to be different, and Clark is just a snooze.
The fact that the top three contestants (poor Rayvon is finally going home next week) are white is not lost on me, either. Before you say “America’s only voting for the best ones!” let me tell you: fuck you and no. It is not coincidental that the cute white boys are through, while great contestants like Quentin, Tyanna and Adanna (I miss her so much) have gone home, and Rayvon struggles each week. The past few weeks, the first three performers are Jax, Clark and Nick, so we are left to guess which African American contestants are going to the sing off. [I know The Voice finalists are a bit more diverse but I am sure the shows have different audiences, and The Voice allows iTunes voting.]
5. I’d rather do something else
Last night I watched the MLB networking and while half-watching Idol, checking fantasy baseball, and texting Katie (perhaps this is why I can’t get through Dead Wake). I could also plan my garden, clean my house, listen to records, or watch any number of good shows from my DVR or Netflix instead. I have cut ties with several former TV show addictions the past two years (ANTM, the entire E! channel, Big Brother), so maybe Idol is next. It’s liberating to stop caring about a dumb TV show, and I feel like I’m making healthy choices for myself.
This will be my last Idol post of the season (and maybe for good). But there’s still X Factor UK, and I will began writing about that show in the fall!
Most Idol images from the American Idol tumblr.