Sunday, January 21, 2007

Cruel, But Defnitely Not Unusual Punishment

The big talk after the first week of American Idol auditions is how more cruel the judges seem to be, as simon told one guy he looked like a busy baby, and as Randy told another he shouldn't be a vocal coach. It's cruel, for sure, but is it that unusual? Is it any different than it's been the past few years? My own opinion on this issue has gone back and forth and all over the place, as someone that not only writes American Idol recaps, but also provides commentary, I try not to be too mean with my snarkiness, but it's entirely possible I've crossed the line a time or two myself.

The judges have been defending themselves, saying their actions during this year's auditions are no different than they were in the past, and being rejected, sometimes cruelly, is just part of the business. 'Idol' Judges Say They're No Crueler Now

I do, for the most part, agree with this. This is season six, and people know the type of criticisms they could face. And, as they've said on there time and time before, it's the same thing these people would hear if they walked into a real audition with a music exec. So why are these people not knocking on the doors of music execs waiting to get signed to a contract? Because the ones that truly are that horrible know they aren't "that" good, but are hoping in some way with a televised version of the show, they can make it through.

Hey, I've auditioned for something before, and I learned a lot. I auditioned for a local production of Grease twenty years ago, and I knew I wasn't the best singer, but knew I could hold my own dancing, and knew I could act circles around some. Sitting there waiting for the singing portion of the audition, I listened to those around me, and thought wow, they all deserve this so much more than me. These people are really good, and you can tell they've spent their life training for it. No one was turned away, so i, and a few others, found a spot as "chorus," but I was thankful for that opportunity and experience seeing the talent around me.

And as far as knocking people's physical attributes, and the fairness of that, it's again, part of the business. People are marketed, and it's not just their voice, but their personality and looks as well. That's what has come out of the age of videos. And again, people have been told cruel things about their looks on this show since the very beginning. Kelly Clarkson heard her butt was too big and she was heavy. But, who was saying that, the judges? No, the fans. So, the same people that want to say the judges are too cruel, want to sit around on message boards and forums and talk about the contestants' looks, but the judges aren't allowed to do the same to the person's face, because for some reason them reading people think they're fat or ugly on a message board is better than them hearing it face to face.

The bottom line is 21 million people turned on the show Tuesday night to watch. They didn't do so because they thought the judges were going to be nice. And that's what makes this show. It's a business, both the TV business and the music business. As long as 21 million people are watching, there's no reason for the judges to change their ways.

The following are two interviews with people that tried out for American Idol, but were turned awayl. One, never even made it in front of Simon, Paula, and Randy, and the other made it through to the big three, but was made fun of not by Simon, not by Randy, but by Paula.



For more American Idol information, see SirLinksalot: American Idol


Anonymous said...

You're right, people should know what they're walking into. And honestly, how can some people be that clueless about their talent, or lack thereof? You can't tell me that half of those singers honestly thought they were comparable to Carrie Underwood, or Taylor Hicks, or Kelly Clarkson, etc etc.

Anyway, great blog so far, LB! :-)


Chancelucky said...

I think the issue is not about those who know what they're getting into, but those who clearly are mentally or emotionally compromised in some clear fashion. Unless they're acting, some of these people are clearly disabled.

LauraBelle said...

Yet, disabled or not, they tried out for the show. If we are to show true equality, then they should receive the same treatment. If the judges would criticize the look of a non-disabled person, then they should do the same for a disabled person.

And this is coming from a parent of someone with a learning disability. I'm raising her to be a person, the same as others, instead of raising her to believe she deserves different treatment. And because of that, she doesn't begrudge the fact that she spends longer on her homework than others. It's her lot in life, and she accepts it.

If she were to audition for something such as this, I would expect her to receive the same treatment as every other person that is auditioning. She won't be coddled when she goes out in the real world, so I won't allow it now.

As far as the issues you brought up in your own blog post about people in the service being on the show, it's simply following a trend. Just as the hairdresser showed up thinking he could be the next Taylor Hicks, and just as Michael Sandecki showed up last year thinking he could be the next Clay Aiken, these two guys showed up thinking they could be the next Josh Gracin. And last year, they showed two people that were in the service. One made it; one didn't, so I'm reasonably sure there isn't some political motive involved here.

Regardless of any of it, this is a business. They're rewarding someone with a $1 million dollar contract. They know they won't make as much of a return on that investment if the person doesn't have the right look or sound. People that have made it pretty far in the competiton have been criticized over their looks, but they persevered, leading the producers to know they are worthy of that investment, as they're in it for the long haul. Jennifer Hudson was made fun of, and look where she is today.