American Idol: entertainment or evil?

Detractors tell you American Idol is ruining pop music. Alarmists go even further, reminding us that American Idol is pop music evil incarnate, having secretly replaced the rich taste of The Beatles, Elton John, Michael Jackson, and U2 that we used to enjoy with the sound of Davids Cook and Archuleta covering them. Who is right? And are we really safer now than when we were voting Sanjaya Malakar off the face of the Earth a year ago?

Hard to argue with these Smithsonian-worthy facts.

1. Minus William Hung ringtones, Idol by-product has placed 85 songs in the U.S. Top 100 in six years, less time than it took Al-Qaeda to figure out the wrong way and the right way to blow up the World Trade Center.

Idol worship: Brooke White
Idol worship: Brooke White
David Cook
David Cook

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Gila River Arena (formerly Jobing.com Arena)

9400 W. Maryland Ave.
Glendale, AZ 85305

Category: Music Venues

Region: Glendale

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The American Idols Live Tour!, featuring Brooke White, Carly Smithson, Chikezie Eze, David Archuleta, David Cook, Jason Castro, and more is scheduled to take place Tuesday, July 1.
Jobing.com Arena in Glendale.

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2. Idol ruined us as a nation by giving us winners, winners who turn out to be losers, and losers that wind up better off than winners. The whole winning/losing paradigm is screwed when you award record deals as though it's the non-competitive Olympics and everyone gets the gold. Wouldn't it be more American to leave for dead all of the runners-up on the same island on which they ditched all the former Menudo members?

3. Idol made a better star out of Paula Abdul. Every season, she makes news for slurring and darting in and out of consciousness on some morning talk show. Abdul prepared years for this role — when she was a choreographer, she instructed Val Kilmer on how to move around like a drunk and stoned Jim Morrison for The Doors movie.

4. The "in your face" shelf life of most Idol grads is two years after the show. That's all we tolerated of Taylor Hicks, Ruben Studdard, Mario Vazquez, and Katherine McPhee even without the ability to vote them off with anything but our indifference.

5. The big exceptions have been Clay Aiken, whose Claymates still won't listen to reason after five years, Carrie Underwood (the first country Idol), and Kelly Clarkson, whose singles always charted high until last year, when mentor Clive Davis rejected her goth-rock My December album because he didn't hear any hits. Underwhelming sales vindicated him, and with a canceled tour and no bargaining position, Clarkson wound up making a country duet with Reba McEntire, like Uncle Clive probably wanted all along. Rock on, grrrl!

6. Biggest question for Season 7? Will former Phoenix male stripper David Hernandez bare his wares for a Glendale homecoming? Suggested number? "Do I Make You Proud?," of course!

 
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9 comments
spikeymom
spikeymom

"Claymates still won't listen to reason after five years"

You didn't quite get it right. Clay's fans listen to their hearts and minds. They appreciate a stellar voice, and a good man, who this week has been on his UNICEF fact-finding trip to Somalia, one of the most dangerous places in the world. Clay doesn't just talk the talk, he walks the walk. He is also a great entertainer. If you had ever been to one of his concerts, you might not be so swift to diss him or his fans.

Sam
Sam

I'd say the well deserved demotion of Clive Davis vindicated Kelly Clarkson.

cg
cg

My December is not goth rock.

Gale
Gale

I agree with Matt...fix radio and you will somewhat fix the music scene. Get rid of pay for play or at least do it so everyone gets a chance.

If Clay Aiken's label would support his stuff to radio like they manage to do for almost all the others, nobody could touch his sale totals imo. As it is he is doing quite fine considering the meager PR he has gotten.

I also agree that some of the people coming off of American Idol have saved us a little bit from the Ashlee Simpson-type wannabe singers.At least most are above average singers.

Dana
Dana

Daughtry is a tool. He is not a star like Clay Aiken is. He sold a bunch of shitty Nickelback rip offs. So what. He still hasn't caught Clay's sales and he's a one off deal. Next year it will be Cookie and you'll be saying Daughtry who?

darci
darci

You must mean DAUGHTRY instead of Clay Aiken. Apparently the Claymates have listened to reason and his new CD is bombing bigtime - only 140,000 sold and it's of the Billboard's Top 200 in less than six weeks.

Just another Idol 'failure' with no shelf life.

Matt
Matt

"having secretly replaced the rich taste of The Beatles, Elton John, Michael Jackson, and U2 that we used to enjoy "

Ah, but you are wrong. They are replacing Ashlee Simpson, Hilary Duff, Britney,along with a host of rappers. None of them can sing and I, for one, am delighted at the shift to singers and musicians who can deliver the goods.

The artists you named don't fit the narrow radio formats and couldn't get radio to play them. The Eagles, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Elton John etc all put out albums in the last 5 years. None of them got radiopplay. That's where we're going wrong. Fix radio and let the singers who can sing have their shot.

stacee
stacee

I don't understand why everyone makes negative comments about Clay. He ACTUALLY has talen and can sing. Furthermore, he is very caring and doesn't hurt anyone. The person writing this piece is such a duche.

 
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