How Do You Feel About American Idol?

 Seriously, do you think the judges have the expertise in judging? Do you feel that restricting contestants to singing only cover songs is fair? What about age discrimination? Yeah, you heard me right. All of the judges are 40-50+, yet, contestants over 40 or 45 are not allowed. Why? In one of the segments of try-outs, a black guy, did his famous, "pants down" rap piece. It was quite popular on YouTube, in fact, all of the judges told the man, "they liked it". The song's hook was very good and with a real professional recording, could have been a hit. Yet, after the man performed, Simon asked him his age, he said 55 or 60. He was disqualified.

What is American Idol telling us? That, only ages 16-30 can make big hits, that record execs only want "young blood" to spend their advertising dollars on? That, people the judges ages cannot make it with their talent?

That is exactly what they are saying. Who created the show? Simon Cowell. He, himself, is close to 50 yrs. The youngest is Kara at 40 yrs. Kara DioGuardi and Randy Jackson are two judges that really have music expertise. Kara has written or co-written many top 10 songs for Cyrus, Spears and many others. She knows a hit song when she hears it much better than Simon or Ellen, who many feel should not even be on the panel. Musically, Ellen's opinion is no more valid than any other person's. Her only qualification is comedy and she is famous. Jackson is a skilled musician and has been performing with numerous famous bands since the 80s, yet his only solo effort was a CD than simply was not well received. Simon is a producer and a promoter, a money maker. He has found several groups, helped with numerous hit singles that never made it big in the US; only in the UK, is where Simon was truly successful. He was also producer of similar shows in England.

American Idol is Fox networks big watched show and thus, seems to carry weight. But as I watch some acts or singers, I find myself questioning some of the judging. I know I am not the only one, Patti Labelle, recently expressed the same opinion and hinted that Ellen should not even be on the show.

Many think, being discovered on the show is the only way. That is so not true. If you truly are good, you will shine wherever you perform. Taylor Swift sang in a few clubs a year or so before someone, someone who could see the potential, signed her. Look at Elvis, he simply walked into a small studio to cut a record, paid for it himself. Look at The Beatles, their producer tried one last time to get EMI to listen. Finally, a guy named, George Martin, did. At the time, his boss told him to find a new act to sign. So, reluctantly, Martin listened. Musically, he did not like rock or their sound (listen to "Hello Little Girl"). However, he thought as young men (Martin was 35 yrs then) they were keen, interesting, funny. He found himself drawn to them. He saw potential star quality (The Beatles had been rejected by several other labels). He felt John and Paul were good vocalists yet played bad material except when then played their own song, "Love Me Do". That is when he decided to take a chance and sign them.

So, like on American Idol, the vocals are many times excellent, yet the material chosen to display it does not fit, and creates a bad opinion. How many times have you heard a singer sing a song that you do not like, even though, performed flawlessly? Countless. Whoever wins American Idol still has not "made" it. They have only had the door opened for them.

 

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Comments 5 comments

Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin

I think it's just one format. Hey look, I agree with you that the show should probably be open to a more diverse bit of talent. There are probably very many great songwriters out there, and I'd be interested to hear, for example, a Bowersox original. But then again, I think you said it right that if you have it you have it. If you have it you will be heard eventually. Good talent seems to almost always find itself an audience, and that will happen with or without a boost from a show like American Idol.

One other point is this. What is Idol really looking for? Lasting artists or money-making fadders? How many of the Idol stars will have lasting power through the generations? How many will rock into their late years like Billy Joel has or Mick Jagger or Bruce Springsteen?

I think Idol is looking for fadders. How they go about that is their business.

Great hub, BTW. I was glad to be able to agree with you on something. :)


perrya profile image

perrya 6 years ago Author

I agree with what you said. But, look at Carrie Underwood, that is how she got fame. How do you feel about the age limits?


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin

I think Susan Boyle is a shining example of older talents. Bonnie Raitt would be another one. I think Idol is going for a certain look. They say repeatedly, "we want the whole package." I think that means young, good-looking, can at least carry a tune, and has that 'star-quality.'


perrya profile image

perrya 6 years ago Author

You are probably right.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin

But it does rightly beg the question, what ARE we missing? BTW, that "Pants on the Ground" guy should be signed by someone. The song is ridiculous, but I think it has already become a hit even if a record has never been made. The guy should at least be able to capitalize on his creation. We've even got a local car dealership doing the rant, "Credit going down, credit going down, looking like a fool with your credit going down."

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