The American Idol phenomenon swept the nation when it first began. Americans seemed to be consumed with it, jumping at the chance to vote and be a major part of the decision of who would be the next American Idol. As the years have gone on, people’s interest in the show are shifting. Talent was the focal point of the show, as judges such as Simon Cowell critiqued the Idols. The show was designed to choose an Idol that has a great voice and presence and that represents “American-ness”. During the latest season of American Idol, the show has been going in a very different direction, which is changing the essence of what an American Idol is.
Sanjaya Malakar has been winning many votes this year, beating out a lot of his competitors. He has been stirring up a lot of controversy with his success and it’s not because of talent. Malakar is being endorsed by Howard Stern’s Sirius Radio Show. Although the competition is based on votes, this campaign is making the competition unfair and at the same time altering the nature of an Idol. The show originally was intended for idols to win based on merit and votes, but now it is because Howard Stern has major influence.
Although many disapprove of the quality of criticism that the judges give, at the end of the day, the vote is still up to Americans. With this new outside influence, the playing field for American Idol is changed, and therefore, ruining the chances of Malakar‘s opponents. This makes me wonder about the society and culture in which we live. This show is sending the message that it is okay not to vote based on one’s own thoughts, but to do so by listening to Howard Stern or a character of American culture.
Furthermore, as a nation that prides itself on the foundation of democracy, this situation worries me about the message we are sending about how we perceive democracy and want others to perceive it.
If we base our American Idol votes on Howard Stern’s influence, what’s next? Determining the 2008 Presidential election on what Kendra from “The Girls Next Door” says?