Friday, March 23, 2007

American Idol, a popularity contest?!

I've been back to watching American Idol again. I'd missed the last season due to some upheavals in my life, but since everything has settled down I get to start this year's season with no qualms.

So far, I've been pretty disappointed with who has been kicked off the show. Antonella has lasted far longer than she should have, and everyone pretty much agrees that she probably got this far mostly on her looks. (She has been offered a contract from the creator of Girls Gone Wild to host the show.) Personally, I really hated to see her get one of the coveted spots over another girl who had been praised on her final audition as "the best we've seen today." Those final auditions are the ones right before they make the last round of cuts before voters start getting a say in who gets to stay.

Now, we are confronted with yet another anomaly who still exists in the remaining contestants. Not just that, but he has made the top ten, which means he will be part of the official American Idol tour. You've guessed it, I'm talking about Sanjaya Malakar.

I'll admit, the kid seems really cute and nice. He does have a nice voice, but he just isn't in the same league as a performer compared to most of the other contestants. Unlike the rest of Washington, I don't feel obligated to root for him just because he's from Federal Way. I have no problems backing Blake, since he's a fairly polished performer. Since he's from Washington as well, I'll be putting my money on him instead of Sanjaya.

Yesterday I was listening to the radio going over the results show, where the hosts were discussing the fact that Stephanie was kicked off. She has proven herself to be a fairly solid performer, definitely possessing a good all-around quality. The radio host said, "This proves it, American Idol is based not on talent, but on popularity."

Well, no freaking duh! The very first season of American Idol has already proved that -- Justin Guarini made it all the way to #2 probably on the merits of his bouncy curls and winsome smile. The guy was nowhere in the same league as Kelly and some of the other singers, but he made it all the way to the runner-up position.

I'm not really sure what it is about Sanjaya that has gotten him this far. Perhaps, it is as someone on the radio said: he's like a cute puppy that you keep encouraging with "you can do it!" Maybe he is also getting some support from Indians, since he's pretty much the only non-white/black to be on the show ever. We don't count Paul Kim, who was the first to get voted off this season. My brother thinks it was due to his bad idea of performing without shoes. Who knows.

I think A has it right, that they should change the voting system from voting for your favorite, to voting for who should get kicked off. This way, the contestants who figure as second or third choices for a lot of voters won't get the boot simply because they didn't get enough voting preference. Of course, they probably wouldn't want to condone that sort of attitude, since that would have a fairly negative association. It's more acceptable for a show like Survivor, where the whole premise is that the people are pitted against each other in a literally cutthroat competition.