Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Simon Cowell, I like your pecs

Sometimes I feel downright un-American. Sure, I pay my taxes and I vote. I celebrate the fourth of July and I support our troops. I rarely pretend I’m Canadian when I’m overseas. But the thing is, I don’t like "American Idol." I never have and I doubt I ever will. And given that the entire country seems to watch and love this show, my lack of affection for it is making me feel, well, like a non-citizen, a reality TV “commie,” if you will.

I’ve tried to watch this show many, many times. I enjoy looking at Simon Cowell’s pecs but that’s about it. It’s not that I don’t like competition shows either. I sat on the couch and watched “Dancing with the Stars” the other night. And I got completely sucked into that “Next Great American Band” show. (Woo, Clark Brothers!) But "American Idol?" It leaves me colder than an overturned Ben and Jerry’s truck stuck in a Nor’Dakotan snowbank.

I used to get a mild kick out of watching all the nutjobs and no-talents in the first few episodes, but the shine quickly wore off that penny as the whole “look at all these crazies” thing became so obviously staged.

I have even less interest in the good singers. Is it the songs they cover...or rather, the things they do to the songs they cover? I flipped by the other night and grew a little slack-jawed over what was happening to the entire Beatles catalog. Some of the singers did a nice job, but even that wasn’t enough to keep my attention so I went back to watching Tim Gunn dress the newly svelte people on “The Biggest Loser.”

I’ve narrowed down my non-Idol love to three possible causes. One, I don’t enjoy just plain, old singing. This is entirely possible since even the National Anthem makes me antsy and I want to change the channel...even when I’m standing there at the actual game. Two, I’m missing the “American Idol” chromosome and therefore am genetically unable to derive pleasure from it. I probably should be given some sort of government dispensation for this, but that seems unlikely. Or three, it’s all Ryan Seacrest’s fault.

I’m betting it’s Number Three. He looks shifty.

So tell me, do you like “American Idol?”

23 comments:

grimsaburger said...

American Idol makes me feel stabby at all of the contestants, plus every other human being involved in making the show. They're not just ruining music, they're ruining culture, and they must be stopped.

The Hubby said...

Nope. I hate it. And I am lucky to have married a woman (you actually) who doesn't buy into the whole process of watching no-talent hacks ruin songs from talented people and then have 3 no-talent hacks critique their no-talent performance as if they themselves had any right to evaluate anyone's performance. And then it is all proceeded by 12 yr old girls running up their texting fees by voting for 2 hours. Maybe the show is really just some elaborate plan made up by the cellular companies to make evil amounts of money $.99 at a time?

But I also hate the dancing show as well.

And Ryan Seacrest.

Anna van Schurman said...

No. My sister lived with us one season and we had to watch. Longest four months of my life.

Jessica said...

I love American Idol, but only after a good three and a half years of vehemently loathing it. I did the whole refusing to watch it thing. Then I accidentally got hooked onto it at the end of season four, and now, it's the only television I watch.

I'm not entirely sure what I find appealing about it. I couldn't explain it to you for the life of me. I do love Simon, though. I think I started to warm up to the show when I learned that Simon isn't just a dick for the sake of being a dick (most nights, as long as he's in a good mood), he actually gives good criticism and it makes compliments from him a very cherished thing.

I've been puzzling over my AI love recently, because I can't stand other reality TV. My mom watches reality TV like nobody's business, and I've watched several other shows and have bonded with none like I've bonded with AI. Maybe it's because I could actually see myself on the show, being a lover of singing and a singer myself. I've dreamed about auditioning (but I've yet to try it), even though being on the show would probably crush my fragile, camera-shy heart.

I also love Ryan Seacrest. I'm sorry if I'm banned from the Park Bench forever for this, but he's adorable to me, and I can't figure out why. I kind of want to kidnap him and keep him in my closet so that every so often I can open it and go, "Say it!" and he will say, in complete earnest, "This...is A-MER-ican Idol!"

And I will squee a little and throw him a cookie and close the door until next time.

Nicole said...

Loathe American Idol. In past seasons I tried to fake it in order to hang out with the cool kids in the breakroom but meh would rather waste my time watching the paint peel. I can get into other performance reality shows (like So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars) but that one... no, not even, nuh uh.

SFG said...

America sucks. It's far more anti-intellectual than most European countries. In Europe, you get into college just on grades--none of this sports crap.

Nerds should hate America.

Liz said...

Jessica, you will never be banned from the Park Bench. You will, however, be made some sort of high-ranking Park Bench official if I ever find out you have Ryan Seacrest in your closet and are feeding him cookies. That whole idea just cracks me up.

Liz said...

SFG, "nerds should hate America" would make an intriguing bumper sticker, I think. I'm tempted to try it out, but a little afraid about how long it would be before an SUV driver crushed me and my little clown car.

Scrap Irony said...

Coming from a music background, the only good thing I can say about American Idol is that Simon Cowell is consistently capable of telling the truth.

I personally just have a really hard time listening to people butcher songs. Someone goes flat and I cringe, someone misses a line and I cringe. There's a reason that the record industry waits a long time before releasing an artist's album. They teach them to fix things.
Ahh! Hate the show.

Anybody remember when shows had scripts? and plots? remember shows with plots?

Thank the gods that Battlestar is coming back soon.

Anjuli said...

I've never been interested in watching AI during any of the past seasons, until this one I accidentally started watching since it happened to be on while I was eating dinner a few Tuesdays. Part of my interest in watching is because a lot of the male contestants are good-looking, and I am also attracted to musicians... But I am definitely annoyed by the way their song choices are limited to some silly theme each night (like the Beatles?? way to confine everyone to the same box!) and they're basically all expected to conform to the same kind of singing style if they expect to win. Blah. And Paula's comments are annoying beyond belief. Yet I'm still interested in who is kicked off each week (I'm almost embarrassed to say)...

SFG said...

I'm tempted to try it out, but a little afraid about how long it would be before an SUV driver crushed me and my little clown car.
I wouldn't dare outside of San Francisco or Cambridge, MA. Even NYC would be pushing it.

Shan said...

Sadly, Liz, I do watch Idol. At my core, I loathe and despise reality TV in virtually every form. I started following Idol out of a conversational necessity with my Wednesday night trivia team and friends, and fell prey to its “charms.” I only start watching with the Top 12 Finals, and if I didn’t have a Tivo, it would become completely unwatchable. I’ve been blogging about Idol for the past couple of years, and you can read more about my introduction to the show and feelings on it, on my first Idol blog of the season on March 11.

Part of the fascination is that it’s a competition. Part is the niche it occupies in the pop culture zeitgeist and the easy conversation it makes with friends and in the workplace (I’d much rather chat about the significance of four toed statues, smoke monsters and time dilation bubbles; or about who is the final cylon, but the Nielsen ratings bear out that those discussion options will be more limited than those about who made John Lennon spin in his grave on Tuesdays). Part of it is that you recognize the songs, and everyone can be a critic.

So, at the end of the day, would I rather watch Lost, or BSG, or Torchwood, or In Treatment, or Dexter, or The Office, or…..virtually anything else? Yep. But my palate is broad enough to appreciate fine red wine, yet still enjoy a cold, watery draught beer once a week, too.

Ashley said...

I do hate American Idol. But I also find it hard to say why exactly. I mean for every reason that I can think of to hate American Idol, I [secretly] love other shows [America's Next Top Model is my #1 guilty pleasure.]

I think that I'm gonna have to play the Ryan Seacrest card .. and back it up with Paula Abdul.

Quilt Monkey said...

I've found my people! I knew you were out there... My husband and I seem to be the only people I know who are not into American Idol. Nice to know I'm not alone.

Dana said...

hate it. have never been able to get into it. And I make fun of those who do.

Shanna Swendson said...

I haven't watched enough American Idol to truly be able to say I loathe it, but from the bits I have seen (the last minute or so before House came on, or the clips that show up on the news), I'm sure I would loathe it. I do like singing. I even sing, myself, and I hate the Idol style of singing -- the "loud=good" thing, the emphasis on big notes wailed loudly, the running up and down the whole scale on each syllable. In general, the showboating.

Then the idea of theme weeks seems silly to me. You'd think the best thing would be to find someone with his/her unique style, who does one thing really, really well, and the themes keep that from happening. The person who wins is likely to be the one who doesn't have a unique personal style and who therefore can be equally okay (but not really spectacular) at country, pop, rock, big band, jazz, 80s, 70s, 60s, the Beatles, etc. Someone who's really good at one of those is likely to suck at the others.

Plus, I like my TV to have scripts and actors. And, preferably, spaceships and aliens.

The Modern Gal said...

Hate it, though I do love Simon's accent.

My former (note former) roommate forced me to watch it last season, and the conclusion I drew was that America hates talented singers, which is why I hate American Idol.

qtilla said...

I also hate American Idol. I can't understand who wins and why they are not... good at singing.
I also don't understand Ryan Seacrest. How the hell is he everywhere now? Pact with the devil?
And Clay Aikin. I inexplicably hate him. I could squish him with the pinky of my left hand.

Diamond Joe said...

I remember a few years ago, trying to watch the new restoration of "Metropolis" on DVD with my brother during the AI finale. My other siblings would periodically come rushing in with breathless updates until I finally had to say, "Look, if we cared about American Idol, we'd be watching it."

UnderCoverElizabeth said...

I was a music major in college. I hate American Idol. People I know who are phenomenally talented and have worked their butts of to be so are working at Starbucks and Barnes and Noble for peanuts while these flash-in-a-pan nutjobs get all the glory. Music is hard, and making it in the industry needs to be treated that way. The idea that people can float on through and win on a show like this bugs the crap outta me.
Plus, it's all the people in my office talk about, so I refuse to watch on principle, so that I spend as little time interacting with them as humanly possible for a receptionist. Heh...

Jennu said...

Hate it. It isn't regular singing you dislike. It's bombastic, overblown singing.

Anonymous said...

I hate idol. I can tolerate (even enjoy) other reality shows...mostly because I don't think they try to be anything other than trash. American Idol seems like its trying to hard to be a "legitimate" show when in reality its just just trash like any other reality show. plus, its on sometimes three freaking nights a week! argh!

Kathy said...

Fellow non fan here. I just can't get past the karaoke aspect of it. Have you seen that there is now a show that was created to discuss the show? What am I missing? Can someone explain this to me??