The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Let's Talk About the Rejects

By Antonios Maltezos

Anyone catch American Idol last night? Is it just me, or are the rejects getting scarier and scarier each year? What the hell was that? There were a couple interesting performances, but mostly it felt like I’d taken a wrong turn on an empty gas tank, a big bowl of chippies in my lap as I headed straight for the abandoned mining town the old crud at the gas station almost warned me about. By the end of the two hour special, the so-called normal people seemed out of place, their potential shine tarnished for having waited for hours among the Bubbas and the Mahailias. What the hell?!? I forget which town, but one of them had thousands of participants. Don’t tell me Simon, Paula, and the Dawg sat through each and every audition. However accomplished I was musically; I’d have come out of there a tone deaf had I been a judge. How bad were they? It was shameful. A few years ago, there was a show for these numbskulls, where they seemed oblivious to the fact that they were the worst of the worst, and the audience was laughing at them and not with them. That wasn’t so bad. It was like a special Olympics for them. People started rooting for them. I started rooting for them. I had my favorites, but last night, I was expecting something else. I wanted to be entertained, but I also wanted to be moved, where you try not to blink so the tear never spills, dries right there on the eyeball. Instead… instead, I busted a gut laughing for two hours straight if you take out the thousand or so commercials in between. And it felt wrong, afterwards, thinking back on the hapless souls that were exploited for their entertainment value. “There’s something seriously cockeyed with a lot of these people,” I said to my wife when they played a recap at the end. I was trying to put things right. Yes, I’d laughed, but it was improper, and I know why. “Oh, you love it,” she said. I loved it? I did. I did. And I never got to finish what I’d wanted to say. That’s why I’m writing about it this morning. I shake my head 'til I hear the cow bells, and still, all I can remember are those rejects staring back at my face full of potato chips.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you wrote about this Tony. I watched on and off last night and kept asking the TV, "Are these people for real?" If they are, the show is becoming nasty and foolish, if they're props, we're the fools. ~Jen

Thu Jan 18, 10:58:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Andrew Tibbetts said...

I enjoy the Idol shows. Am and Can! It's the democratization of the pop music machine and I appreciate that. But I can't watch these early shows, when they are routing out the bad singers. I don't find them funny. I find them skin crawling. I get unbelievably anxious. Physical pain. I notice they've been getting worse and worse over the years- giving us more of it, and making fun of the performers more. It's sick and shameful. I'll start watching when they focus on narrowing down the golden ticket contestents.

Thu Jan 18, 11:01:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that the talent sucks, but it is absolutely disgusting how the judges behave toward these people. They are people, after all, however deluded. I do not find any of it entertaining or funny. Truth or cruelty? I'd say way cruel. I won't tune in again until they get to finals.

Bev Jackson

Thu Jan 18, 01:03:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

I can't stand to watch anything where people set themselves up for ridicule. They can't be so dense that they don't know people are laughing at them. It makes me think of "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?"

Thu Jan 18, 01:21:00 pm GMT-5  
Anonymous CJ said...

There is something simultaneously repellant and attractive about such reality shows. I spend a lot of time pondering why someone would do it, what they get out of it, what does it mean. It's hard to believe there's anything for them to gain. At the same time, I empathize with their motivation to try to create something as an artist (even if others don't get it). I approve of taking such risks. this one just seems rather hollow.

Thu Jan 18, 02:48:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Patricia said...

it was awful wasn't it??? we only watched the first hour and got the kids to bed, it was tooo painful, really, however, I do have to say in all honesty, we laughed as well and then it just got worse and I couldn't bare it!! it seems very contrived to me now, you know? I don't get it, however, I will, like most of the responses you've received, tune in when the competition is truly competitive.

Fri Jan 19, 06:31:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Antonios Maltezos said...

Unfortunately, I think the producers knew exactly what they were doing. Simon seems to have been given carte blanche to run his mouth as he sees fit. Nothing we can do about it now. The show is a hit. Hopefully the talent will shine through, and these first couple of episodes will fade away. See, even my present attitude is all wrong.

Fri Jan 19, 06:46:00 pm GMT-5  

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