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Wednesday, July 17, 2002

 

The It Would Be Better if Losing Contestants Were Summarily Executed, But I'll Settle For This Section



Have you taken any time to treat yourself to American Idol the summer TV sensation? It's half Star Search, half cockfight. Wannabe singers strut their often very limited stuff in front of a panel of three judges: there's Randy, who is a producer; Paula Abdul, once a talent-starved pop singer herself; and Simon, a catty-enough-to-be-a-day-player-on-Sex-in-the-City-but-somehow-still-British-and-straight-type.
Simon's the star of the show. He dismantles the wannabes that don't have the goods, and we [ok, I] hoot and holler and fall off the couch.

There's something exhilarating about watching the marginal talents of teenagers in funny pants and elaborate haircuts being eviscerated in front of the viewers they so desperate want to impress. When Simon lashes out, you can't help feeling like you're vicariously getting revenge on every talent-devoid exhibitionist that's subjected you to their utterly heartfelt karaoke rendition of "I Will Survive" [women] or "When a Man Loves a Woman" [men]. The only thing that could possibly make the show better (other than the torture of those two dinks who host the show and hand out hugs and high-fives to dissed contestants like cups of Gatorade at a 5k finish line) would be a TRL-style crawl on the bottom of the screen that would let viewers (like me! like me!) get in their own creative digs. They should let the home audience do their part in stomping on the misguided dreams of every Whitney, Mariah, and Britney clone that dares stand up and reveal her vocal shortcomings.

Or pit the losers against each other in a sissy-slapfighting bloodsport that would let them remain on the show for another week, when we'd get to take another crack at 'em. Watching this show and playing along in your living room ain't great for your karma in the long term, but it sure makes your soul feel new and shiny.

At least it does for me. Bring on the next fool singing a Billy Ocean song. I've got your "Carribean Queen" right here!



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This is the internet home of Mark Lisanti, a Los Angeles writer sometimes known as Bunsen. He is the founding editor of Defamer, a weblog about Hollywood, where he now serves in the nebulous capacity of "editor-at-large."
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