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The Success of Failure (Posted: May 31)
It staggers me recently at the amount of bullsh*t that has arisen when we think in regard to TV shows American Idol & its Australian counterpart that have amazed and befuddled the viewing public over the last couple of years.
First of all, we, the average TV viewer, are basically sitting and watching for the first part of this show, a procession of talentless and, as you will soon see, brain-dead schmoes attempting to make a career out of what could only be described as "bad karaoke".
Now don't get me wrong here, I'm all for having a good time while I listen to friends and acquaintances amuse me by trying to sing a song they have not rehearsed, while I'm drinking a skin full and singing a song that I hate while I'm imagining that the cacophony exiting my lips is within the general vicinity of acceptable.
But I am certainly not stupid enough to think that the rattling drones rushing headlong to oblivion from my voice box is going to win me fame & fortune other than a rough smattering of languid applause from a drunken karaoke crowd.
But here is the irony of this type of reality TV show.... this show actually needs someone like me for it to be successful. People like me are deliberately filmed making a goose of themselves showing the world that our personal levels of musical competence will only ever rise to that of a "bit of a giggle" at a party or some such social gathering.
People like me are pranced in front of a camera to show the world that there are people in the TV viewing world who can actually carry a tune. Think about it.... you wouldn't know if the person next to you is actually singing in tune unless you stand him/her next to someone who can't
Another thing about the "Idol" programs is that these "musical throwbacks" whom we laugh at mercilessly every week are the ones who find themselves rejected by the judges have the UTTER GAUL to stare at the judges incredulously and wonder why they've been rejected and that the judges have just rejected the musical equivalent of the "second coming"
How do these people actually think that the noise reverberating from their pristine larynx's is anything other than a screech vaguely more appealing than the sound of a dozen tin cans being kicked down a cobble stone road!
I suppose the mirth we feel watching these sad sacks really does have a lot to do with "It's funny cause it's not me"
Years from now we'll open our medical lexicons and we'll come to the title... "William Hung Syndrome" or "The inability to understand just how atrocious one's vocal talent comes across to other people
William Hung, as you may or may not remember, is the young Singapore engineering student who presented himself on the most recent edition of American Idol with self professed lack of talent, produced a horrendous (if energetic) rendering of Ricky Martin's dance hit "She-Bang"
"rendering" in the truest sense of the word
Poor William is no raging god of manhood, male model or male icon in any sense of the word so singing a song like that would not have favoured the judges even if William could actually carry a tune... horses for courses , as they say.
As a hot smoldering pile of male manhood, William certainly is a great engineering student
Another bizarre point about "Idol" and the success of, every time you hear or see a member of the public or a celebrity asked "what do you like about "Idol"... The inevitable and probably diplomatic answer that usually comes is that "it gives a member of the public a chance to be an overnight star"
That's all well and good but that's simply not the truth, that's not the reason why people watch this show if people are honest about it
First reason in two parts is:
1/ Watching William Hung (and the seemingly infinite array of talentless people in front of and behind him) and seeing the hope welling in his expectant eyes seconds before the judges give their opinions
2/ Watching the last infinitesimal pieces of hope drain from their eyes in the seconds after the judges stop laughing and begin to speak
Ironically William Hung doesn't actually fit into this category because after judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul (American Idol) summarily dismissed poor William attempt at stardom with gales of laughter, not a thought or sense of crushing defeat could be spotted on William's forever smiling face. He was thankful without being apologetic.
William took his shot at fame like a man with every once of energy he could muster, he also took the fits of laughter like a man and now is the biggest thing in the music industry. William is now taking singing lessons (much to no avail I hasten to add, he still can't carry a tune) and has actually recorded a C.D. and is touring the US
One wonders if the tour might be called "The Success Of Failure"
The other reason and sure-fire money maker in this era of reality TV is the brutal honesty of the two bad-boy judges of Australian/American Idol, the afore mentioned black tee-shirt wearing Simon Cowell (USA) and the our very own Ian "Dicko" Dickson
Every single set of eyes focuses on Simon & "Dicko" when their turn arises to state opinions of the proceedings. I haven't availed myself of a viewing from other countries versions of A.I. but I'm quite sure that clones of Simon & Dicko are being nurtured and observed
I wonder just how successful this show would be without these gentlemen deadpanning to young hopefuls about their lack of discernible talent. I would even go as far to say that
I don't think the identity of the other two judges one either Aust or US panel would or should be at all relevant except that they should be a good foil for the likes of Simon & Dicko.
A personality of genuine caring for the young hopefuls and a small amount of musical appreciation may help. Enough of a help that the young hopeful isn't going to rush of and commit suicide after being berated for sounding like the musical equivalent of Tasmanian devils mating.
This years American Idol had a couple of interesting ideas about our new hopefuls. During the weekly culling, we (the viewing public) were told by the announcer that song writing skills and their ability to show that they only have one left foot in the "duo, trio or quartet " dept. will be looked into as part of their overall skills.
I found it curious that these abilities of our young hopefuls were only touched on for the briefest of moments. Song writing is a talent , yes? Not all song writers can sing, yes?
Elton John's partner-in-rhyme Bernie Taupin is not known for having a "great set of pipes" but where would Elton be without him? If the A.I. judges are looking for talent, then they should be looking for the next Bernie Taupin as well as the next Elton John.
The point here is that "song writing A.I." doesn't make for good TV. Can you imagine sitting down to watch an hour of A.I. song writers? A room full of potential songwriters sitting down strumming guitars and scribbling ideas and musical notes and arguing over a "G" or a B-Flat
If memory serves, this idea was attempted back in 1970. in the form of a movie called Let It Be starring the Beatles.
But would we have cared about this idea if it was filmed way back in 1956 when the Beatles were just starting out to become British Idols?
I suppose that makes Let It Be the very first reality TV show (albeit a movie)
The final words of Let It Be ..... John Lennon said " I'd like to say thank you very much on behalf of the band and myself and I hope we passed the audition...."
Wednesday, June 02, 2004 10:37:20 PM