In my somewhat shameful past (in direct contrast to my extravagantly and illegally shameful present) I used to watch a little known tv show called American Idol. I was drawn in by morbid curiosity and my disdain for modern pop culture more than anything else. I loved watching the egos of the future mall entertainers and fry clerks of America (FMEAFCOA) grow to wildly unwieldy proportions like vines on Kong Island, threatening to entangle, smother, and ultimately pulverize everything in their path.
I marvelled at (most of) the would-be idols' abilities of self-delusion as they convinced themselves that anyone would care about them 8.4 seconds after they fled the stage, let alone purchase large numbers of CD's filled with their overwrought bleating. I had a perverse desire to watch these no-talent hacks have their dreams dashed to pieces week after week. Slowly, steadily, I watched them march toward their inexorable fate of elimination followed by abysmal album sales . If their careers didn't founder right away, I knew it would happen eventually, if only because the greedy producers had over-saturated the market. The contestants reminded me of movie-goers filing into the latest Adam Sandler or Vince Vaughn vehicle on opening weekend. OH how quickly the looks of glee and delight turn to sheer terror as the metaphorical slaughter begins en masse!!!
However, it cannot be said that I have not learned some valuable lessons from my time spent watching American Idol, and even lurking about the American Idol message boards (before I had to stop for fear of a self-induced aneurysm). As the new season approaches, I thought I would share some of these valuable lessons with you all.
Things I Learned from American Idol and AI message boards, Part One:
1) If you don't like someone (especially an Idol), no matter what reasons you give, no matter how sound your logic, you must be jealous of them.
2) Artists who made a million dollars last year and scored one of the most high-profile record deals in the country need defending on a message board they will never read, and care even less about, by someone who had to save two months’ salary just to go to one show by said artist.
3) If someone posts anything against your favorite Idol, even if it is less profane than the average ABC FAMILY special, be sure to report it immediately (usually for reason number 2 given above). Such a post could cause the media empire of said Idol to crumble, and scorch the eyes of all who behold it.
4) Mean-spirited posts or disguised bad language are not tolerated on AI message boards, despite the fact that mean-spirited judges and disguised bad language run rampant on every audition show since season one of AI.
5) A guy who played bass on tour with Journey way past their heyday, produced a bunch of schlocky dance records, and fell hindquarters-backwards into a hit tv show is better equipped than most to recognize true talent.
6) You can be completely 90 sheets to the wind and people around you won't even notice or comment.
7) If you run into the audience enough times, people will actually believe you're doing something exciting.
8) If an Idol contestant comes out with a bold, fresh style that the public immediately responds to and embraces and votes for every week, the best way to reward them is by releasing a sub-par pop album devoted to the worst trends of the day and sounding nothing like what people were voting for in the first place.
9) One year is not nearly long enough to come up with songs better than "My Destiny" or "Tatoo," even when the best songwriters in the country would kill to have a song on the show, and even though acts like the Beatles used to crank out 10 killer songs in one week.
10) Middle-aged housewives have no lives. Ever.
11) The 2 words "Soul Patrol" can actually control minds and force people to dial phones against their will.
12) If you suggest a revealing photo of an Idol may be in questionable taste, you are against the United States.
13) If you sing a standard that has been around for almost 70 years, you must be copying off the person who sang it most recently.
14) If you are a finalist on AI, don't bother to keep your ego in check while the world falls at your feet for 6 months. Your star will surely continue to shine even once the NEXT season rolls around. That guy who was 8th runner up in season 2 and pumping gas for Simon Cowell's limo when he drives through Arkansas isn't going to be YOU.
15) Dressing in leather, throwing your hair around, and looking "hot" is the equivalent of "ROCKING" if you're female on AI. Sometimes, just dressing in "hot" clothes makes you "ROCK."
More lessons to come.