Sometimes I get bogged down by how much work there is to do in the world. There are so many problems to be fixed — the economy, international relations, addressing the national pleated pants issue. It’s like we can only invest so many hours in the day to fixing it all.
Holy crap, you guys. Can you image the level of research that went into this? Just in terms of sheer labor in time invested. I’m not thinking that the creators of this map were deciding between this and curing cancer, but wow. Just wow.
I’ve been watching it since the first season. My sister got me hooked over a summer, then I went back to college before the first finale and made my whole house watch with me and vote for Kelly Clarkson. (Later that year, on the day of our senior formal, we had two finale parties in my house on one night. The American Idol season two party was in the living room, and the Buffy series finale party was upstairs.) So yeah, I’m well versed in the reasons American Idol is not so good. The episodes are full of filler. The contestants are train wrecks looking for publicity. The judges are one-third to two-thirds idiots. Unlike So You Think You Can Dance (which I also watch), there’s no new material, so the best you can hope for is an okay rendition of a song you don’t really like that much anyway. It celebrates the most corporate-machiney aspects of the music industry.
But, before those of you with better taste than me ask me to step outside for lowering this blog with talk of American Idol, here are the defenses I’ve prepared for myself as to why it’s okay that I support the show.
1. Remember that one time that something great came out of an American Idol alum? That was awesome. What would the world be like without “Since U Been Gone?” I don’t even want to imagine. (There certainly would not be a Ted Leo cover of “Since U Been Gone.”) Isn’t that worth eight seasons alone?
2. DVR is my friend. Through the magic of DVR, I can watch Idol without ever hearing the eager-to-please squeak of Ryan Seacrest. I also fast-forward my way through contestant interviews, group numbers, 90% of the results show, and, sometimes, half of the contestant performances. The whole thing goes from a three-hour-a-week commitment to about 45 minutes total.
3. Give me a break. Last Tuesday’s episode of Idol had more than 25 million viewers. This is probably the only show I watch where I don’t have a lurking fear that it’s going to get canceled. Why would you deny me this peace of mind?
4. Bonding. I can talk about Idol with my coworkers, with my extended family, and with strangers who’ve never watched Pushing Daisies and who wouldn’t know a Cylon from a cyclone. Beats staring and blinking in silence.
5. Every once in a while, something surprising happens.. The contestants sometimes come out of nowhere with an awesome performance. For instance, I have little use for Carrie Underwood, but she CRUSHED Heart’s “Alone” when she sang it. Take a look:
6. Clay Aiken. Without Clay Aiken, there wouldn’t be an awesome New Yorkprofile of Clay Aiken where the writer basically straight-up (and correctly) calls him a liar about his sexuality, prompting a hilarious response from the so-called “Claymates.” But, more importantly, without Clay Aiken there would be fewer “Wake Up, Wakefield” sketches on SNL.
7. This year, there’s totally a blind guy competing. And he’s totally gonna win!
Last week, Padma and company gave the boot to spicy meatball Fabio in the episode before the finale. Now that leaves bald and obnoxious Stefan, bald and desperate-to-defeat-Stefan Hosea and Carla, the spazzy underdog whose remarkable ascent has been really fun to watch. I’m completely obsessed with her and I think I want her to win more than any other Top Chef contestant ever.
In any case, here’s Fabio’s exit interview with scenery-chewer extraordinaire Andy Cohen.
Also, my posting might be spotty for a while. I just moved and have no TV or internet — two vital ingredients for running a TV blog.