Thursday, April 24, 2008

America Has Voted...And, Seriously, What Were You THINKING??

I am living up to my name today, kiddos. I am cranky as hell.

What's the reason? Is it something with my job? Did I get cut off in traffic? Did my kid keep me up all night, did my husband leave dirty clothes in the floor, did my mother just pack my bags and send me on a guilt trip? No. I am cranky because of a TV show.

You may remember that last year I let myself get attached to American Idol contestant Melinda Doolittle. When she got voted off before the finale, I got a little miffed. And swore I would never watch Idol again. And shamed other voting viewers who didn't see her tremendous vocal talent and instead voted for two contestants who couldn't hold a candle to her just because some people thought she bore a scary likeness to Shrek (oh, you shallow, shallow people; yet the comparison still made me laugh a little on the inside.) I did not watch the finale last year in protest, but I let myself get sucked in this year. There was so much talent! So much promise! And an Irish barmaid with a spectacular set of pipes who was shown one night putting a perfect little shamrock in the foam atop a draft Guiness! She had me at "Hello." (Actually, David Cook had me at his version of Lionel Ritchie's "Hello", so technically Carly had me at "Alone.")

And then, as Ryan Seacrest says, America voted...and totally got it wrong.

Jason reminded me, while I huffed and puffed around the living room like a spoiled child, that I wrote a blog entry not too long ago called, "I Heart David Archuleta." Oh, that I could take that back. Because while I did love little David's performance of "Imagine", he has lost a lot of his shine since then. I haven't liked his song choices, I haven't liked his penchant for botching lyrics on any song he hasn't been caught performing somewhere before his Idol selection (I do so love the You Tube; you can run, but you can't hide from the camera phones.) Seriously, if you're going to be a singer, learn how to memorize lyrics on new songs. I especially haven't liked how he can do no wrong in the judges' eyes. They don't call him out for things they call the other contestants out for, like flubbing lyrics and losing strength and pitch in his lower register. I am not much of a conspiracy theorist (as far as TV shows go, anyway) but I am kinda in agreement with those who think the producers have pegged David A. as the heir apparent and are twisting the bolts of the machine to work in his favor.

I had no delusions that my girl Carly was going to win. I have gone on fan sites and read that people do not like her because she seems "desperate" and "makes weird faces when she hits high notes" and "has too many tattoos." But good Lord, can that girl sing. She chose a couple of songs that didn't work for her through the competition, yet even on a bad song she could hit those notes. Beautifully. I thought she would probably make it to the top 4, if not the top 3 like Melinda. I did NOT think she would go at the number 6 spot.

Now, I also love Jason Castro. I will probably buy his first CD. He's got that relaxed, acoustic thing going that I do so love. And he's ten kinds of gorgeous. But I don't think he could (or should) win what's supposed to be a singing competition.

I also love Brooke White, in my own way. She's all rainbows and kittens and sunshine. I could see me listening to her on a rare Saturday afternoon to myself, with summer breezes coming in through the window, while I prepare a lovely meal while padding around the kitchen barefoot in a sundress. But she completely and totally screwed up Tuesday night. She broke a cardinal rule of performing: if you screw up, keep going, don't break the 4th wall, and whatever you do, DON'T START OVER. She created some of the most awkward moments of live TV I've seen since Kanye riffed on the President. She left Paula speechless, and silenced the crowd, so that there were about ten seconds of dead air during the judges' critiques. This wasn't her first screwup, either. It was time for her to go.

But that's not who America chose.

Jason reminds me that this, like so many things, is a popularity contest. It's not just about who can sing, but about who is adored enough to sell millions of records. He gave me a little speech about demographics, and about how just about everyone that's left fits into some niche in the music market. Carly doesn't. True, true. There unfortunately isn't much of a market in today's pop music for people who can sing really, really well. How sad.

I will still keep watching, because I do like Jason Castro, and love David Cook (he's been my pick to win for weeks, even over Carly, though I almost don't want it because I don't know what kind of record he would be forced to make if he won the whole shebang.)

I can't help but worry, folks. I've been thinking a lot about voting in general. When we have to pick one person over another, for anything, our decisions are influenced by so many things. There's the whole popularity and likeability thing. There's (hopefully) the issue of competency. Then there are all the smaller personal, subjective things. Maybe you don't like the way the person looks. Or talks. Maybe there are some personal prejudices you have (I had no idea how many people are repulsed by large tattoos until I read Carly's message boards.) Maybe you just got up that morning and thought, "You know, I think I will cast my vote for A because the sun is out and that person wears yellow a lot."

And then there are people who, deep down, have strong feelings but just don't vote at all. I know one of those people.


The worst part of this whole Carly thing? I didn't pick up the phone Tuesday night. I was tired. I had been at school for twelve hours that day working and grading porfolios. I figured she was safe; she had given her strongest performance in weeks, and the crowd had gone wild.

How many others like me were there? People who thought she deserved to stay, but just didn't pick up a phone? And then complained about it in a blog later, covering up the fact that the vote not going the way they thought it should by pointing a finger at others when that finger really should be pointed at themselves.

If you think I take Idol seriously, you should hear me get going on politics. Or maybe not. I have pretty strong feelings about the 2008 presidential elections, too. Don't worry, I won't talk about that here. I am tolerant of others' differing opinions, but pretty passionate about my own political views, and I take it personally and don't like to get in arguments about it. I have a candidate picked out, and like with Carly, I have gotten attached and inspired and think this person is immensely talented. And like with Carly, I am bracing myself for the very real possibility that my person won't come out on top. That America will, at least in my mind, get it wrong.

In that case, though, I will most certainly vote.

And if (when?) it doesn't go my way, I will keep my big mouth (figuratively speaking) shut and keep my moaning to myself.

Maybe. If my blood pressure gets high over a stupid reality show, what's it going to be like in November 08?

1 comment:

Robert K. said...

Deb posted an almost identical blog on her MySpace page this morning. She was a huge Carly fan, and actually did vote last night. Yeah, America totally got it wrong. I thought Syesha and Carly had the best performances of the night, and that Jason and Brooke being in the bottom 2 was a no-brainer.

If you want to be charitable, you could say that America votes not just on the performances that night, but also throughout the season. And Carly and Syesha have both picked some duds the last couple weeks, lets be honest.

I was even hoping that Carly would stay on and Syesha would leave, because I think Syesha showed last night that she doesn't belong in a recording studio--she belongs on a stage, and the faster she gets voted off, the sooner she can start her career in theater.

I'm still rooting for Jason Castro to get the boot next week, and for David Cook to win the whole thing, though it seems the public (and the judges) have already annointed David Archuleta as the inevitable winner. *grump*

Jeez, I remember telling Karen a couple years ago that I didn't watch AI because I wasn't a fan of reality tv or pop music. Damn writers' strike! See what you reduced me to?! ;)