The Season Begins

The most fun to be had in American Idol comes at the beginning of the season. Really, the best of the thing—if “best” is a measure of entertainment value rather than actual talent—is the absolute worst that the show has to offer.

The deluded, painfully untalented true believers in skills they don’t possess are matched by the attention-seeking dolts who simply can’t have imagined that they ever had a chance of advancing. These folks have nothing to offer the world except for the hilarity of their post-critique breakdowns and tantrums. They leave the viewer breathless, wondering just how the hell these people devoted so much of their self-worth to the likes of Simon, Randy, and Paula that their rejection could cause public displays of passionate lunacy.

These early shows represent a hilariously pointless affair.

Still, it was hard to not feel a twinge of pity when the first wannabe fell into racking sobs and despair when she embarrassed herself in front of her favorite singer (the guest judge, Jewel) by performing a terrible impression of the famous singer. But, after that moment of pity, the question remains: why?

Why imagine a talent that doesn’t exist? Why should it make such a big difference that Simon says mean things? And why the hell didn’t her friends tell her “no”?

The questions are repeated even more emphatically when faced with the flat, droning voice of the Amish impersonator and the hordes of warbling fools who soon followed. How many of them were there as a joke? Because, for every one of them who honestly believed that they had a shot, there are probably dozens of people who should acted prophylactically to save their friends from public embarrassment.

From a talent perspective, the best that can be hoped for from American Idol tryouts is a sort of inspired mediocrity. The best moments are pale imitations of other peoples’ music and a feeling that, hey, that wasn’t so bad. That’s a long way from inspiration.

The car crashes are more interesting than the rest, anyway. Once the wrecks have cleared and Idol goes into the contest proper, all that remain are the bland and the boring. Instead of the delightfully weird, opera singing Apollo Creed, the audience will be watching the spectacularly average (but cute and perky) Columbian transplant. Neither was a special talent, but at least one of them was entertaining.

Over ten thousand people auditioned; only seventeen passed through to Hollywood. The deluded masses are more numerous than anyone had imagined.

Which brings me to an announcement: within the next few days, a new American Idol blog will be starting up. Because as bad as these singers are, I’ll still be watching the damned thing and feeling like a hypocrite. What you’ll get at that new site is one marginally talented blogger taking easy shots are the marginally talented singers who dream of the fame and big bucks that come with being named the American Idol.