Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Comments On American Idol 4th Season Premiere

Another year, another season of American Idol for us to laugh at, get mad at, and enjoy. It's another year of wondering why Ryan Seacrest still hosts this show. It's another year of Simon Cowell pissing people off, Paula Abdul being the Queen Nice of Reality TV, and Randy Jackson just being butt-ugly. It's the only respectable reality show FOX has.

After seeing the season premiere, I can't help but be reminded of daytime talk shows. These poor people have no idea that people like myself will be laughing at them for even bothering to try out. There was the guy whose cousin was Toni Braxton. Out of all the names you could use to attempt to coast your way to the next level, Toni Braxton isn't exactly one of the best. At least Justin Guarini had Samuel L. Jackson. With no talent, this guy didn't have a chance. Then there was the one person (Mary Roach, was it?) who really thought she could sing and get to the top. She kept repeating how "all her friends told her she could sing." Friends and family aren't always the best judge of ability. They will tell you what you want to hear so as to not hurt your feelings. This is why I am always skittish about my actual writing ability. That poor girl didn't understand that. Then, there was that rock singer who auditioned for American Idol without telling his bandmates. Hmm, what does this say about him? I wish American Idol had been around a few years ago. Maybe Scott Stapp could have auditioned and saved us from years of crappy Creed records.

There is one change to the show that I think is a direct result of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition...the stories of various contestants. Before, you didn't get a life story about these contestants until later in the show. Now, we see video of a contestant boxing before she auditions and we see video of the rock band as the lead singer tries out. In other words, they are trying to have the audience make emotional connections with contestants earlier on. I'm guessing that they think that this will make people want to watch more of the early rounds of competition. If you liked a contestant from the very first show and learned a lot about them from the beginning, you'd be more likely to root for them, vote for them, and watch them perform week after week. Given that these shows are taped so much earlier than they air, I think the contestants that they profile now will probably be around for a while.

I like how they changed the way guest judges are used. Mark McGrath was a surprisingly good judge. He at least seemed like he knew what he was doing. He was a nice balance between Simon/Randy and Paula. I can't wait to see how Brandy, Kenny Loggins (Loggins!) and LL Cool J do.

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