Thursday, January 07, 2010
Will I like American Idol this season?
My family will attest to the fact that I don't actually watch a lot of television. I have a select few shows that have traditionally been my favorites: Lost, Biggest Loser and American Idol.
I've enjoyed watching AI because, as with other "reality" shows, I would find my favorites early on, and take pleasure in watching their progress.
I used to really look forward to a new AI season, because it's one of the things that breaks up the monotony of the long, cold Northern Illinois winter.
So American Idol is back next week...and I'm not at all sure at this point if I'm even going to like it.
My favorite last season was Danny Gokey. As someone who also frequents online blogs and the like, I quickly found out that a Danny Gokey fan was NOT the most popular thing to be (at least not online. In real life, most people I encountered seemed to love the guy.)
Almost as soon as Danny showed up with the backstory of his young wife dying suddenly and tragically--combined with the fact that he was marked as a Christian early on--a cadre of highly vocal online entertainment writers and bloggers launched what could only be characterized as a hate campaign against him.
The reasons for this were initially mystifying--why would anyone possibly fault someone who had recently lost a loved one for mentioning it?--it soon became clear that Danny was being slammed because he had the innate raw talent to pose a major threat to one or two of the other front-runners on the show.
The whole experience had the effect of somewhat souring me on the show itself. If fans could be that vicious--and believe me, MANY of the comments were both vicious and cruel--I don't know, it was just really disheartening.
Frankly, my faith in basic human kindness--what little I had left--plummeted after reading those comments. I soon learned to avoid the blogs and sites that boasted such toxic ugliness.
Interestingly, despite the fact that AI season 8 is history and Season 9 is launching, the nasty comments about Danny continue on some sites. Makes you wonder about people who have so little of a life that they simply can't let it rest.
A show that did it right
Meantime, a few weeks ago, we were treated to a reality music show that did what American Idol fails to do--judge contestants without humiliation and hatefulness.
"The Sing-off" was a short-lived, few-episode show that featured a cappella singing groups. Granted, the no-talents were winnowed out ahead of time, so there was little need for snarky comments.
But the judges? Wow, they actually gave constructive criticism, couched in encouraging praise. They actually KNEW something about music theory and presentation.
So I'm just not sure...
I'll give it a chance, of course. And I'll probably have favorites early on.
But God forbid they should have a tragic backstory and actually have the audacity to talk about it, because the haters will be on them like white on rice. (Unless it's just Danny Gokey they've determined to hate.)