Arment Dietrich

What is the Definition of an American idol?

By: Arment Dietrich | May 22, 2009 | 
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Since Wednesday night there has been much said and written about the so-called upset in this season’s American Idol contest. Just for the record, in my opinion, Adam was certainly the better vocalist and stage performer but Kris suits my mainstream music tastes. Which leads me to the following points.

What is the purpose of the American Idol show? To find the absolute best talent available and make them commercial stars?  Or, to get the American public involved in listening to, judging and ultimately, choosing their favorite singer?  If it was the former, then why do we need a TV show? Why involve the public at all? Can’t the many talent scouts take care of that all on their own? No, this is about Hollywood creating a sensation and engaging millions of Americans, making us all feel empowered to decide who the next young singing star (note I don’t put “super” before the word star) will be.

The show’s creators brilliantly created this hit sensation where anyone who can dial a phone becomes judge and jury on the fate of the young performers. Admittedly, there are a few glitches in the system, some likely put there for a reason. One of the changes this season is when the producers/creators added a new element where the panel of four judges had the opportunity for a “save” if they felt the public voted out a candidate too early and deserved a second chance.  They did use it this year but maybe too early in the process—that’s just a matter of opinion.  The thing I’m mulling over right now is if multiple votes per phone line are a good thing or a bad thing.  For the show’s sake, the more calls, the higher the number of votes and thus, the more they can rave about continually setting records. But what if one candidate, be him/her a better singer or not, gets the more passionate voters—the ones who will dial, and redial, and redial.  This season’s 100 million votes could easily be from 10 million people who each voted ten times.  But, does it really matter?  This is about Americans doing what we luckily can do: watch an entertaining show, make a choice and act on it.  It’s good entertainment and I, for one, will be there watching next season.