Thursday, February 01, 2007

American Idol In The House

198 American Idol In The House

Everyone with a TV set watches that awful show, “American Idol.” It’s possibly Fox Television’s biggest grabber (or at least tied with “House, MD.”

People really watch both programs for the same reason. They each feature a cranky, funny, rebellious character (mini Murdochs, really – fictional or semi-fictional versions of the boss of all Foxes.)

“House,” for those just back from Mars is a medical mustery show, tracking hard-to-identify afflictions. The lead player is a genius at that kind of thing, but cantankerous, maybe because of his injured leg and the pain killers he pops like candy kisses – or maybe that’s just the way he is.

One of the judges on “Idol,” is pretty much the same, only clean-shaven and with some form of English accent. (The guy who plays house IS British, and affects the best American accident since Ustinov.)

The judge, Simon, sneers, laughs and puts down the people who are trying to win Idol’s national talent contest. Usually he has good reason.

He’s the only reason people watch this apparently intentional horror show. If the cast of “House” was as bad as the cotestants on “Idol,” no one would watch.

The other judges are (a) a washed up erotic dancer-turned pop video star turned wretched and pre-hag-like before our very eyes and a jolly, fat African-American who’s fun to watch, if only because he knows (or pretends to know) the repertoire of the contestants and seems like a nice enough fellow, besides.

But there really IS another reason to watch. By doing so, you get a picture of the next generation of music. And the picture ain’t pretty. Even the “good” contestants are good only when compared to the rest.

Watching and hearing these “entertainers” makes you want to run to your iPod and put on Sinatra, who was awful and often off-key, but positively Caruso-esque compared to what gen-next presents.

They whine, they scream; they contort their faces. (Celine Dion contorts both face and body. But at least her sound is relatively pleasant and comes out of her mouth, not her nose.)

Idol winners and runners up in past seasons generally have gone on to decent careers, with scarcely a difference in talent between a number-one and a runner-up. Well, not TALENT, exactly. More like less no-talent than some others.

The 2007 crop seems to have even more no-talent than previous seasons’.

But the crabby judge makes it fun to watch in kind of the same way as someone else’s auto accident is fun to watch. Or an open sewer.

And you have to ask whether any of the stars who came up the old fashioned way could win this competition.

Harry Connick, Jr., Jo Stafford, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarrah Vaughn. Sinatra, Bennett, Elvis, Johnn Cash, George Jones.

Olivia Newton-John was a guest judge recently. Could she have won?

The upcoming generation shows us that the next stuff on the radio wil be music, which like today’s has words you can’t understand, but adds a new twist: a non-existent melody. This is going to put a lot of piano tuners out of work. Not to mention hair stylists (they wear their hair in much the same way they sing) and wardrobers (ditto.)

It all makes you long for the sound of first year violin and clarinet students.

What you get on Fox Tuesdays is a marathon of cranky. Simon the judge followed by Hugh Laurie’s Gregory “I play a doctor on TV” House.

A fun evening fo those of us who like nasty.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2007 WJR

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