American Idle

I’ve gone over this before, but two things happened recently that made me sad.

First, Levon Helm died.  One of the true great voices in popular music.  No frills.  No posing.  Just pure.

Then somebody told me they were watching American Idol and so and so got kicked off the show but in a dramatic scene the judges voted her back on.

I have said this before…

I do not watch American Idol.  It’s like pinkeye.  I know it’s out there, but I really don’t want to think about it.

And folks you can argue with me all you want, but American Idol is bad for you.  It is the pinkeye of television.  And it’s a symptom of what everybody gripes about in music.  “It’s so hard to find good music and bands nowadays!”.

Well, if you are one of the gazillion watching American Idol, or ‘The Voice’, or ‘America’s got a lack of talent’ whatever the hell is on now, you are part of the problem.  Sorry.

Levon Helm would not have made it through the audition.

They also would have been rude to him.

That should be enough for you, but here are just a few others:

Neil Young would have been laughed at.

John Lennon would have been told he looked to arrogant when singing and his voice was too nasally.

Tom Petty? Are you kidding?

Mick Jagger?  I could just see that audition, “Are you okay?”

The list goes on and on.

But American Idol is NOT about music or singing as much as you might disagree with me.

It’s about America’s obseesion with being famous.

There is nothing wrong with being famous by making a real contribution to something, but this is only one step up from eating bugs on ‘Fear Factor’.

We are now trying to get pop stars from a game show.  Really?

Why didn’t that Ed McMahon show “Star Search” or the Chuck Barris’s “Gong Show” have the same impact as ‘American idol’?  Because we knew they were a joke back then?  (Okay, ‘The Gong Show’ was strangely entertaining at least…..)

And you are wondering why there will never be another Beatles, Stones or Pink Floyd?

The bottom line is this.  If Levon Helm, one of the world’s most honest and greatest voices in music couldn’t make it past an audition, turn the damn show off.

It’s for your own good.


7 responses

  1. BEST (or one of the best) post yet. TOTALLY agree! American Idol is a farce. I can truly say I’ve never been a fan of anyone that’s ever been on that show. Give me real band (or artist) that’s paid it’s dues by touring in a van, selling t-shirts and CDs for gas money, and playing rooms the size of a kitchen.

    April 26, 2012 at 7:19 pm

  2. Eddie Robinson

    It’s a format,or should I say floormat.Curt said it,great post.GOD BLESS LEVON.

    April 27, 2012 at 1:13 am

  3. Janie Behr

    This article expresses my sentiments exactly. I watched American Idol only a few times, unfortunately, just out of curiosity. I told my kids how third-rate the “talent” was and they said I was being overly critical. But I remember- and still almost exclusively listen to- the great bands of days gone by… what were the cultural forces that produced them and how can we get them back?

    April 27, 2012 at 2:58 pm

  4. Tres

    You need to lighten up. None of those all-time greats you mentioned were pure pop singers. They all had something else going for them. You never would have heard of many of them if they did not write their own material (except for Jagger – the Stones were pretty popular as a blues cover band). Different breed altogether. It’s not a songwriting contest, its just a pop singer / performer contest. If your issue is that it lacks artistic integrity or whatever, then y’all need to stop covering such artistically questionable acts as the Eagles and Buckingham / Nicks era Fleetwood Mac to maintain yours. I used to be a music snob (Deadheads such as myself are among the worst sort of music snobs), but life’s too short. The show makes them do cheesy stuff such as singning songs that are not right for them (like Queen), but the kids left on the show have undeniable talent (even to some degree the lame Dave Mathews wannabee). I say good for them. Getting off my soapbox now.

    April 27, 2012 at 3:50 pm

  5. Elizabeth

    American Idol may be “a pink eye,” but I have been pleasantly surprised by Phillip Phillips. Give him a listen.

    April 27, 2012 at 6:00 pm

  6. Susan Doyle is probably the best example of what these shows have to offer. Any vinue which brings to light talent , which otherwise would have never been seen, has some merit. I
    don’t care for the popularity voting, but then again the public buys the music, and pays the .99 cents to vote don’t they? If there was a show which showcased singer / songwriters I would be more interested.

    April 30, 2012 at 9:36 pm

  7. I think it is pretty ironic that one of the people who would have NEVER made it past the first cut (Stephen Tyler) is participating in this inane quest for the next big thing. This is the kind of thinking that has given us the likes of Justin Beiber. Popular equals good. It isn’t pinkeye–it’s leprosy eating away the chance for inovative, talented people who don’t fit the cookie cutter ideal.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:11 pm

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