I confess that I enjoy American Idol. In fact, I really look forward to the long nights and short days of January, as it brings with it the promise of an odd sort of entertainment that serves as a pleasant diversion from the generally horrid programming that resides on television. And after the first night of season 7, I am already appreciating it even more as the alternative tonight would have been to listen to the repetitive speculation on who will win the Michigan primary and its resulting impact on the 2008 Presidential race. It is strangely comforting to know that until late May, I will be able to find something other than the ceaseless blather from presidential candidates who apparently have maxed out of new things to say other than “I represent change.”
At its purest, American Idol is an interesting angle on the old-fashioned talent show. And apart from a few horrendous results over the last 6 seasons (Taylor Hicks as a prime example), Idol has been a springboard for some amazing talent. Winners like Carrie Underwood have gone on to be legitimate Superstars. And even finalists have used Idol as a launch pad for incredible careers. Chris Daughtry was one of the top performers in 2007.
The broadcasts shown early in the season which feature the auditions have been criticized as being edited and produced for cruel humor at the expense of the contestants. That argument is perhaps not without some merit. And that criticism held more weight in the first few seasons of Idol. Contestants now must surely be familiar with the way the show is produced and what the broadcasts of the auditions are like. And the most unusual characters that appear early in the season have doubtlessly come to the auditions under a couple of different states of mind. Some simply MUST know they have no chance of moving beyond the audition, and are doing it for the sake of fun, or for exhibition. The other scenario are those contestants who sadly have been deluded by family or friends into the belief that they have the kind of talent required to advance in what is a serious competition, at least in terms of the skills possessed by the finalists and ultimate winner.
So, it’s baaaack, and I for one am looking forward to seeing how the show unfolds with the hope that another talent like Carrie Underwood is “crowned” American Idol for season 7.