The Daily Ping

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September 5th, 2002

American Idol

Everyone has guilty pleasures. Perhaps my guiltiest of the summer was American Idol. Since this is the Ping and we have a knack for cynicism, I’ll refrain from saying what I liked about the show and instead focus on the many things I still managed to find wrong with it.

  • The Hosts… Ryan Seacrest and Brian Dunkleman have good chemistry as hosts, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re gigantic tools. But what do you expect from a show whose theme is to “find” the next pop star.
  • Excess… The weeks leading up to the final 10 contestants were well done, but the final widdling-down took entirely too long. Instead of only booting one person a week off, they should have done two. By the last few weeks, it was starting to drag a bit. In addition, the Wednesday night “result shows” were nothing more than a 20-second moment stretched to a 30-minute show. Lastly, the final episode could have been cut down by 30 minutes by getting rid of the extraneous crap that ruined the flow.
  • Voting… The phone voting had no system in place to avoid fraud. While there are only so many votes that phreakers could fix in a two-hour period, how hard would it have been to disallow more than five votes from the same telephone number? At least they were smart enough to avoid online voting without a good system in place.
  • Fire the songwriters… The two “American Idol songs” that were written for the final competition between Justin and Kelly were beyond atrocious, seemingly crafted by picking up Roget’s Clich?s and randomly picking lines. They made Burt Bacharach look like a lyrical genius.
  • End the Shameless Shilling… If the endless shilling for Ford and Coke on American Idol are any example of what’s to come in the world of product placement, I might as well turn off the television forever (well, except for Card Sharks reruns). My television was the recipient of at least one middle finger a week courtesy of the stupid vignettes based around promoting the show’s sponsors.
  • Replace 2 of the 3 Judges… Randy Jackson has a vocabulary of about ten words and Paula Abdul’s lines were so scripted and painfully delivered that I stopped taking her seriously after the initial try-outs. Simon Cowell was the show’s sole “real critic” who wasn’t afraid to tell someone they sucked any more than he was afraid to praise someone who actually had talent.

As I said, I actually liked most of the show. The contestants displayed some great talent and I think that five of them will walk away with record deals (how many of them will be around a year from now is another story). But hey, everyone’s a critic.

And I’m the Ping’s version of Simon Cowell.

Posted in Television, Movies, and Music

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