Tuesday, March 17, 2009

American Idol--Still Hooked For Whatever Reason

Sometimes I get ready to blog and it's all I can do to keep from starting with "So...". I mean, it sort of naturally rolls off my tongue (or in this case, off my fingertips), and that's because it's almost always what I feel I NEED to say. It's my brain's way of clearing through the thought clouds and pausing (with dramatic flair) just before unleashing them here for you. Most of the time I try to refrain, but not today. {grin}

So...I felt the need to weigh in on the American Idol thing, and BooMama just so happened to give me that chance. Ha! To get started, here's a quick run-down of my viewing history:

Season 1--Could care less, saw "0" episodes. Even scoffed a few times over others' obsessions with watching.
Season 2 through 6--Suddenly got involved and couldn't get enough of it--I LOVE competitions, especially singing ones.
Season 7--Not sure why, but I just ducked out of the whole AI craziness, though my mom kept trying to drag me in. I think I needed a break, and frankly, I'm glad I took it!
Season 8--Well, I'm back in. What happened?! I don't know. I'm biting at the bit each and every week to find out what's going to happen. (Right where Fox wants me...)

The irony is that while I thoroughly enjoy the competition part of it, and I LOVE to hear good singing, I do NOT get into all the "culturally relevant," "highly marketable," "but CAN he/she sell some RECORDS??" business that AI ultimately becomes about. I can't HELP it. Music for me has never been about money. I'm a "touching lyrics, haunting melody, singable, catchy tune, gorgeous tone, unique style" kind of person. Those are the things that count for me. And while I agree with Simon (yes, I said it) 98% of the time, I am definitely NOT on the same page as he with regard to WHY a particular person should stay or go because it eventually comes down to the business side of "music business" for him. I'm way too mushy for that. I guess this show is sort of confusing because they call it a "singing competition," but then they let people vote, which makes it a popularity (aka "what sells") competition. Which is why folks like Sanjaya (from Season 6) stay on longer than they should and folks like Melinda Doolittle (also Season 6) leave far too early. This used to frustrate me quite a lot because I think everyone should agree with me on what is so clearly obvious (and if you don't agree Sanjaya was TERRIBLE and Melinda was AMAZING, then I truly don't know what to do with you). Now, I've just adopted a "Who cares? That's life." attitude. I mean, past winners like Ruben and Taylor (both of whom I was a fan) didn't go on to do great things (at least not yet). That proves just how fickle the music industry is, so really who cares? It's just a dumb show. A pretty entertaining dumb show. But dumb nonetheless.

Wanna know MY true test?? ('cause I KNOW you do...) If, while listening to a singer perform, I close my eyes and my heart (yes, my heart) either smiles, melts, or breaks (or any combination of those), and I can answer "YES!" to the question "Would you be able to listen to a whole CD of THIS?" then that person's got my vote. As a result, this year I've got several favorites. Danny "Oh-MY-That-Boy's-Got-Soul" Gokey. Matt "Can-Sing-Just-About-Anything-And-Sound-Amazing" Giraud. Well, okay, I guess just two faves. I'm not totally AGAINST the others, they just aren't the ones I particularly WANT to win. I can certainly appreciate the unique vocal styling of Megan (the quirky blonde with the new dance moves), the grungy, hoarsy power of Allison (the burgundy-head), the consistency of Alexis (the petite young mother who has no business being flattered about being called "dirty"), and the wildly crazy range of Adam (the weird rocker who's an eclectic jumble of five different styles of rock at once). (And it must be said that I'm most definitely WAY too old to come anywhere CLOSE to liking Adam's "art.") Like I said, I can appreciate these things; I just can't get all excited about them. I certainly couldn't listen to entire CDs-worth of these folks. Versatility isn't just about musical style; it's also about vocal quality. And I just can't see myself listening to even TWO songs in a row by ANYone else in the competition. So far, that is.

Well, I take that back. Kris Allen is one I could listen to; I just don't think (so far) he's proven himself to have quite the musical depth of MY two faves. AND ten years ago I would probably be able to listen to Megan. I think she's interesting, even if she IS so immature that she hasn't figured out how to be "relevant" without being immodest. (I SO tire of knowing what people would look like if those scraps they call clothing weren't there.) Time will tell if she can "grow" a little and become a bit more vocally versatile (so that my poor ears won't get sick of hearing her).

Anoop did a good job tonight. He seems like a sweet kid, doesn't he? I'm glad he redeemed himself after last week's HORRENDOUS effort at an MJ song. And though I'm with Danny G. ALL. THE. WAY. he didn't "hang" with the song quite like he needed to tonight. It was, as they say, "a little too big for him." Haha! Just kidding. No, I think the verses were weak. Maybe he was nervous. Maybe he's coming down with the flu like Megan. Maybe that awful jacket the crazy stylists made him wear was compressing his diaphragm. Who knows? Randy was right, though. It was a support problem. Don't worry. He'll work it out... :)

As I started to say before though, I've come to a place in my life where I just can't get terribly worked up over shows like this. I'm amused by much of it, but it stops there. All that "this is my dream" and "chance of a lifetime" stuff is ridiculous to me. I just want to roll my eyes and mutter, "Oh, puh-lease!" Not that I think they are disingenuous. I just think they don't have any idea what life is all about or how this is all going to end up for them. As much fun as a career in the music industry could easily be, it certainly isn't the be-all and end-all. I could never have a life like that and still feel like I was even coming CLOSE to the quality time I now have with my husband and children. And that's what it's all about. Many a musician has died lonely. That's what I'M thinking. Maybe that's just me justifying to myself why I never auditioned for AI when I was still young enough. Nah. I NEVER needed that kind of drama...

Maybe the most ironic part of it all is that unless the winner puts out a Christian CD, I probably won't buy any AI albums anyway. That's just where I put my money these days. On stuff that is spiritually encouraging to me and my family. I could expound on this, but I'm going to stop now. (Too bad they don't make CD singles anymore. Remember that? Or DO they?! I wouldn't know. I don't shop in stores.)

So...{grin}...anyway that's my take. (not that you asked for it)

7 comments:

  1. they don't make CD singles, but you can download singles :) That's what I do. I rarely buy the whole CD of anything.
    I'll have to do an AI post. We've been addicts since season 2. The entire family watches.

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  2. CD singles have been replaced by Itunes. Of course that does no good unless you have an Ipod.

    At least a couple of past Idol contestants have made it in the Christian market (Chris Sligh and Madesa). Maybe Danny will go that way too. But he'd have to lose to get there. 19 Entertainment wants the winner to be mainstream. Contemporary Christian music isn't big enough for them. Yet.

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  3. i'm a danny fan too...but anoop melted my heart tonight...so much so that i HAD to vote for him...and the precious blind guy touches me so much - his vocals aren't the best - but man, his piano skills are "dope" to quote randy jackson...
    yep, i'm a fan...always have been...always will be!

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  4. Lori,

    I couldn't agree with you more...on everything! I generally only buy music that encourages us spiritually, and I don't do that often! I am most interested in the story the song/singer tells, and in how well they tell it. And I love a voice that makes me sigh.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  5. It's funny- I've been an AI fan since Season 2, but some seasons draw me in WAY more than others. I wasn't sure about this season, but I'm totally getting drawn in now.

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  6. I do the same thing...close my eyes while someone's singing and really listen. I cringe when the judges talk about marketability and such...

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  7. So ... we have this in common! Love AI!

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