Monday, March 22, 2010


Let me state for the record- I absolutely loathe American Idol. Except for Kelly Clarkson. And I absolutely detest Britain's Got Talent except for the one moment where Susan Boyle was discovered.
The very word 'Idol' is a little insulting. To christen someone 'Indian Idol' or 'American Idol' smacks a little of a smug belief that we have no other choice but to accept these people as our 'idols'. Because if the TV honchos had their way, we wouldn't want idols who weren't from the mess of Reality TV.
Yes- that does sound like commie propoganda. And I was just being nasty- I don't even mean it. So I'll stop that.

Clarkson's Addicted from her in my opinion soon-to-be-iconic Breakaway album reconfirmed what I'd long believed- that real music is good old ROCK. Dark, addictive and thrilling. And although the-well 'chick' song Breakaway is obscenely popular, it is Addicted where you here the full vocal range of Ms. Clarkson. And it is stunning.

To any fan of Retro rock - and we seem to be a dying breed- shows like American Idol are like being force fed Norbit or Ram Gopal Varma ki Aag. Nauseatingly sweet with cherubic people converting all genres into bland imitations of Whitney Houston or Celine Dion- this monstrously popular show goes above our heads. 'Where's character?' we snobbishly ask, revelling in the halo of the (insufferable) know-it-alls that we think we are. 'Why isnt there more emphasis on vocals rather than making it into a fashion show where everyone has to look good?'

Reality TV is- in the words of Simon Cowell- complete and utter rubbish. Any self respecting person methinks would find something else to see, or smoke.

Note- the word 'methinks'. If only 90% of the TV viewing public thought so too. Ah the joy....

Anyway- all these problems I have with what is REALLY wrong with the world notwithstanding, I caught the repeat telecast of the top 12 of American Idol Season 9 today. And if you're wondering how I know such details despite claiming to hate Idol and never follow it- well I did read up a little for this post so I'm going to pretend I'm the only authority on music I know and say what I think. Not about everyone, but some which I'll remember.

Why you may ask. Why did I see it? The answer is quite simple really- The Rolling Stones.

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards may be overhyped to the point of hysteria, but there is no denying that they were probably one of the greatest (although such sweeping statements make little sense) if not the greatest rock bands ever. And I read somewhere online about it being 'ROLLING STONES NIGHT' instead of just 'Rolling Stones Night' and I thought- How bad could it really get?

Turned out- it could and it did. They murdered The Rolling Stones. Except for two of them.

Michael Lynch- the 'Big Mike' of reality (cf The Blind Side) Sang Miss You. But not before we had a mandatory faux emotional clip- easily one of the most detestable things about Idol. I mean come on. There is no need to concoct a 'story' about every participant- in a pompous cynical attempt to sell the American dream. I mean isn't it remotely possible that every singer does not have some tale of woe and unbearable struggle behind him? And from what I hear from people who are devoted Idol followers, he was auditioning when his wife was in labour. Now how that is admirable escapes me, it really does. I just don't get it.

Anyway- He actually began Miss You pretty decently with the almost falsetto tone- and then it ended up being some amateurish copy of Jagger. He made it into an R&B song. WHY? And not in a nice way. And the dancing- oh the dancing. It was so bad that you actually wanted to put him out of his misery. Or in a Medical College Hostel to rag.

It went on and on- an endless parade of mediocrity with the cold murders of classics like Play With Fire, It's All Over Now, Ruby Tuesday, and Gimme Shelter. I know it is a reality show- but these guys are so shudderingly mediocre I don't think I would buy an album of theirs even if they paid me to do it. And one among these is supposed to be the next big thing in music? Well- figures. If Taylor Swift can sweep the Grammys, anything's possible.

But then came this girl Siobhan Magnus with Paint it Black. One of those songs I can fall down and worship you know. And that girl did something with it that was truly stunning. An incredible performance- with the drama, the acting and an incredible voice with the kind of vocal acrobatics only great singers can do. I think I can actually see her doing any type of song with the range she has. Including the scream. While not perfect, it was still pretty darned impressive. Hers is an album I might actually buy.

Wild Horses was blah, Under my Thumb- grotesque as a reggae number (again- WHY?).

Angie was interestingly good. Almost achingly so. Aaron Kelly was spot on with this song.

You Can't Always Get What You Want was actually pretty solid. That's all. No more, no less.

Oh and the judges. Randy Jackson seems to have precisely three words in his oh-so-proud-of-it-it's-ghetto!! vocabulary- Dawg, Hot, Pitchy. And he seems to use them with grating regularity.

I mean this in the nicest possible way- Kara Dioguardi should be given to Sauron or Lord Voldemort as a chew toy. The woman's crazy. No two ways about it. Talking about 'feeling' the song and 'You are too young to know what the Vietnam war's about'. It's a song for crying out loud. She cannot judge it on its merits- she's always looking for subtext. Which even if the singer has, she is too dense to detect. All you get is a condescending nod. Somebody fix her antennas and put her out to pasture.

To be fair, Ellen Degeneres was hilarious. Her 'People like me- Blondes- don't like good looking guys' bit was really funny if only in an obvious kind of way.

Simon and Siobhan Magnus were the only good things about the show. You get a sneaky feeling that Simon is really a 70's rock person too. And he didn't like this death march of that genre.

I do not mention Ryan Seacrest because we talk only of people who count. Not those lucky people who earn millions being silly and forgettable.

No comments: