When American Idol first showed up in 2002, my kids were seven and four. I remember how much they wanted to watch the show, but they rarely got to see an entire episode because of their bed times. They begged though. A lot.
The wifey and I watched the show religiously for years, but somewhere along the way, the early shows began to be more about making fun of crazy, desperate people than about actually showing the talent. I got tired of those episodes. As I stopped watching the early shows, my interest when they got to the top twelve waned as well. I’ve rarely watched it the last couple of years.
I’m watching tonight for the first time this season. I understand why I stopped watching. There is nothing about this show that is new or original anymore. The first two performers — Curtis Finch, the obligatory, hefty African-American male with a voice that is deeper than the ocean, and Janelle Arthur, the obligatory, blonde country singer. Devin Velez — the obligatory, somewhat androgynous male crooner. Seriously — identify the season where these exact same type of singers weren’t in the final dozen. And Finch’s voice was horrible. I can’t imagine him sticking around too long.
What’s even more disappointing are the judges. Maybe there has been more in prior episodes, but there is almost no interaction between them. There’s no chemistry. It’s like they’re each their on their own. Nicki Minaj? Couldn’t get there on time tonight and her first comment to Janelle Arthur (who, yes, is a woman) was “Um, yeah, King Arthur,” or something like that. Mariah Carey seemed completely disinterested and disengaged during the introductions. Couldn’t even break a smile or look at the camera, Ryan Seacrest, or the other judges.
I feel sorry for Randy Jackson. He’s been a good soldier for this show for the last ten years. Yeah, he’s probably made a ton of money doing it, but he’s gotta feel like it’s a gig that has run its course, probably a year or two ago.
On a larger scale, American Idol and my waning interest in it tracks my lack of interest in television in general these days. I used to live for TV shows like St. Elsewhere, Hill Street Blues, Cheers, Seinfeld. There was that period of time in the 80’s and 90’s when there were truly classic shows on TV, worth making plans for. But for the past ten years, I have watched less and less. To the point now where almost the only thing I watch anymore is sports.
Yes, there are all these great series on cable, but this is one of those times where all the choices completely turn me off. With 120 channels, or whatever it is, and countless channels creating new programming, I’m turned off by the whole thing. I chose to turn away from it all than allow myself to be sucked into it.
I was going to spend my evening watching the show and blogging about it. But why? I’ve got a book to read, a pillow that awaits me. And, if I had to listen to Minaj’s voice for two hours — well, it feels like fingernails on the chalkboard inside my head.