This is about a week or so late but I’m just going to put this out there: I’m OK with the way American Idol ended. There you go. Phew. I’m glad I got that off my chest. Now if American Idol could kindly fuck off, that’d be great. I’ve had enough. There are enough idols to last us an eternity. No more. Please. I beg you.
It says something that I even know who Adam Lambert is. I don’t know the guy who won. Bland Guyerson, I believe his name is. But again, I’m fine with that. Because America gets the idol it deserves. And these kids, with their karaoke dreams of stardom are merely the performing monkeys we clamour to see dance.
Once Bland Guyerson from Jersey or Jane Blah from Texas are crowned with the title and given their boring, shitty, radio-ready pop song to sing, we’re over them. With the lone exception of Kelly Clarkson, the losers are always more interesting. Even *shudder* Clay Aiken.
You ‘Mericans might not be aware, but Canada has an Idol show, too. Had. It won’t be produced next year. Too expensive. Also: Not interesting. I couldn’t even tell you the name of the last person who won. I could, however, tell you far more than you ever wanted to know about how to win and lose Idol based on the performances of the top 3 in Canadian Idol’s second season. I worked at a daily paper in the city where the eventual winner was from. He was a good singer. A good musician. And so ridiculously teeny bopper friendly it was as if he’d been created in a lab.
The third place winner was flamboyantly theatrical and “dangerous” by Idol standards. (That means he had a lip ring and a fauxhawk.) He performed Bowie in a unitard and cape. It was pretty awesome. He clearly didn’t want to win the show because he’d be tied down to some ridiculous contract and be forced to sing some shit pop song and all his emo punk friends would laugh at him. So he started to sabotage his own performances and finished third. The Very Sincere Girl Next Door went up against the Angelic Teen Dream and Angelic Teen Dream won. He released one album and teeny boppers bought it. He released another one and… I don’t really know anything else. He probably still has inappropriately curly hobbit hair. But the third place guy started a band. He became known for pulling stupid shit during interviews and his bad backstage behaviour. His band is emo pop punk crap, but at least he gets to write his OWN bland, shitty pop songs.
And let’s do take a minute to talk about the songs the “winners” are forced to sing. The reason this show is fun is because it basically goes from awful karaoke to great karaoke over the span of two or three months. They’re singing some of the best songs of all time during the part that people watch. And then they’re handed a pile of poop with which they are expected to start their careers. Where do I sign up?
I don’t care if you’re Randy Fucking Newman, you can’t make the warbles of a pathetic teenager (or worse, a pathetic 20-something) sound good with a vaguely poperatic ballad about overcoming adversity or making it or being free or being me or whatever the fuck it is this time. Those are for the pros. The judges (Hahaha! Paula Abdul with authority! It is to laugh!) are constantly harping about how American Idol is “a singing competition.” Ah, no. It’s a popularity contest guys. Let’s not kid ourselves. Because the thing is, many, many, many musicians who make it big have turrible voices. But they have showmanship or sex appeal or talent that rises above perfect pitch and tone and those m-effing glissandos.
The other thing I hate about American Idol and its various spinoffs and imitators is that countless kids hold it up as a “foot in the door” of an industry that’s tough to crack. Memo to wannabe popstars: It’s like that for a reason. Mainly so people who suck balls can’t get in.
American Idol teaches us a valuable lesson (cue comet and “The More You Know” music): Talent and charisma are important and travelling around in a stinky van with your buddies and being poor and performing night after night at awful venues where people are less than inviting and sometimes even boo you because you suck is no fun. But why are you so special that you should get to skip those all-important steps, huh? Oh, because you have a nose ring? Because you ripped off a ripped off cover of Johnny Cash? Because you’ve grown an ill-advised goatee? How about you grow a personality instead, geez! The winners of American Idol tend to have all the personality of rice pudding. Which isn’t really fair. To rice pudding. I’ve eaten some tasty rice pudding. A bowl of rice pudding has more self-awareness than the winners of every Idol show combined.
Despite the insurmountable odds of being on a show that I hate, making it to the top two, singing some tacky Idol crap and despite the incredible lame-itude that radiates from every pore of every single person attached to Idol, Adam Lambert managed to puncture the forcefield I’ve erected around myself so I can ignore certain aspects of pop-culture. Like Rihanna. Trufax: I have never once heard the song Umbrella in its entirity. I actually had to check with Salome to make sure Rihanna sang Umbrella.
Lambert has a personality and a sense of humour and is interesting and seems very aware of who he is and confident in his abilities. Good for him. You are too good for this show, buddy. I think his ability to transcend the Idol form while also embodying it better than anyone before him is due in part to his openness about his sexuality. When you come out of the closet, I think it probably forces you to really examine yourself and figure out who you are, not just as a gay person, but as a person. And that’s just something that most of these contestants have never done. Or, if they have, it doesn’t seem that way. They always seem so jazzed to be undergoing makeovers and shit. Whatevs. Dying your hair won’t make you a rock star. If it did, I’d be Bono.
I guess what I’m trying to say is: OF COURSE America didn’t pick the interesting guy to be their Idol. Thank God. Now the interesting guy might actually have a chance at a career and I don’t have to be TOTALLY embarrassed to like him. Do I? Yes. I do. But still. I’m LESS embarrassed than I would be had he won.