File under “It’s About Time”: American Idol Jumps the Shark

Filed in Gather Writing Essential by on November 27, 2010 0 Comments

File under “It’s About Time”: American Idol Jumps the Shark

The thrill of American Idol has been gone for a few years now. American Idol is less about singing talent and more about getting us to drink Coca Cola and drive Fords to the mall where we can renew our AT&T phone service so we can buy all our audio and video from Apple iTunes. American Idol is more focused on the personalities and interpersonal relationships of the judges, and the guest mentors, than actually discovering a new ‘Pop’ idol. The personal lives of the contestants more often than not take a back seat to their ability to carry a tune or move an audience.

As someone disillusioned with the popularity contest American Idol has become, I found this article on Yahoo! Music interesting.

Does Winning ‘American Idol’ Even Matter Anymore?

…”Idol’s” NINTH champ, Lee DeWyze, selling approximately 40,000 copies of his album Live It Up in its disappointing first week and premiering at only number 19 on the Billboard chart…

American Idol isn’t a new phenomenon for the United States; we have a long history with talent shows. As a nation, we’ve been falling in love with talent show performers and winners dating back to the 1930’s and Frank Sinatra and the Hoboken Four’s appearances on the Major Bowes’ Amateur Hour. Our love affair continued after the show changed its name to the Original Amateur Hour with Ted Mack taking over hosting duties after Major Bowes’ left the show in 1945, through the second half of the 1940′s to 1970. In 1992 the show resurfaced briefly on cable television hosted by Willard Scott.

It’s obvious we love talent shows and talent show winners. In addition to Frank Sinatra, just a few of the artists we were introduced to on the Original Amateur Hour included Pat Boone, Gladys Knight, Ann-Margaret and Connie Francis. The list goes on, but I think that short list is enough to demonstrate that there was a time when we had a television talent show that gave us legitimate talent, people we fell in love with and people we remained in love with for decades.

Why don’t we love the American Idol winners?  Maybe it’s because American Idol doesn’t give us the caliber of talent that can stand the test of time? Maybe it’s because American Idol doesn’t really give us talent, but just attractive space fillers until it’s time for the next commercial? For a couple of years American Idol gave us some of that same type of talent, but I think those days are gone and the show now relies on the belief that given enough glitz and glitter, an indiscriminating audience will watch regardless of the lack of talent.

Season 10 of American Idol begins January 19th on Fox.


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Empathetic and a little nervous.

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