Has anyone besides me (and Colin Powers) been watching the hot mess that is American Idol this season? And if you have been watching, do your eyes and ears also regularly revolt against you by spontaneously catching fire?
Granted, it’s not the worst piece of entertainment that ever existed, but it’s so much worse than it used to be that it’s become almost unwatchable. It’s like the difference between seeing Madonna perform today versus seeing her perform in her heyday. Sure, you can still catch a glimmer of her former fabulous self, but even more noticeable are the tell-tale signs that you’re seeing a has-been clawing at her forever-gone former glory. In other words, it’s sad, sad, and sad.
And sad-sad-sadly, American Idol has reached the same past-its-prime status, where its best work is decidedly behind it. Anyone who has doubts about this needs only to consult the Knower of All Things, the oracle Simon Cowell, who appears unashamedly bored this season, his final season with the show.
Meanwhile, Ryan Seacrest appears more belligerent and overcoiffed than ever in a desperate attempt to keep things interesting, while Randy “You Know You’re My Dawg” Jackson is still missing a pulse. Shockingly, Paula Abdul, in a rare flash of brilliance, could see that the Idol ship was sinking and called it quits last year, leaving Simon without a sidekick this season — and us without our favorite nonsense-spewing, drunk aunt.
In her place we got comic Ellen Degeneres, who has been an epic disappointment with her rarely funny Paula-like words of encouragement. And let’s not forget the forgettable Kara DiaGuardi, who must have inherited Paula’s old stylist given that she looks and dresses more like Paula with each passing week. If Kara could take 10 Valium and begin to slur her words more, the trick might actually work.
Let’s face it, after nine seasons the talent pool of viable aspiring singers has been exhausted, leaving only the dregs, rejects and wannabes. Auditions have mostly devolved into a freak parade — which, admittedly, are one of the few things keeping the show interesting — while the wannabe Idols bore us with yet another rendition of “Unchained Melody,” Simon’s favorite song.
That’s not to say there weren’t a few decent singers this season, but anyone could have picked out the final five in the first week of competition, meaning there was no competition. From the start, we could all see that the white Tracy Chapman (and likely winner), Crystal Bowersox, would make it out of the coffee house and into the finals. Dark horse Lee DeWyze might have had a surprise ascent, but the guy is more Kris Allen than Adam Lambert, meaning that he’s forgettable, bagpipes and all.
Speaking of Adam Lambert, Idol’s greatest find in its nine years on the air, he and his amazing vocals set the bar so high that every “pitchy” performance we’ve had to endure since has just reinforced the show’s loser status. He is the accidental orchestrator of Idol’s demise. And the fact that Kris what’s-his-name beat Adam in the finale only added to the whispers that the voting was rigged or, worse yet, entirely irrelevant — like the show itself had become.
Now with Paula gone, Simon leaving and no one around to match Adam’s singular stage presence, Idol is left with lackluster talent, sleepy judges and the lowest ratings it’s ever had. This leaves only one logical thing for the producers of the show to do: Cancel the f*cker.