Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

About as interesting and eccentric as Ashlee Simpson

Tonight is the big American Idol showdown. The music critic at Slate breathlessly extols Idol for rejuvenating pop music and introducing the world to "interesting," "eccentric" pop stars who exemplify "regional peculiarity, lyrical realism, and the jolt of a well-struck power chord."

Uh, if you think Carrie Underwood is an interesting country singer, then you haven't been listening to much country or roots music.

Ditto for Kelly Clarkson (who, I agree, is a fun pop star-- but not so interesting and certainly not eccentric). "Since U Been Gone" stole the guitar line from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' minor hit from a mere three years ago, "Maps" (the YYYs were even publicly considering suing Kelly and/or her production company for royalties). Since when does a pop star stealing from a good band (in a watered down version) make her interesting or exciting? Maybe the way my klepto ex Iggy was interesting and exciting. If you're looking for a dynamic pop icon to write about, why not go directly to Karen O, the woman being stolen from?

Chris Daughtry

What I think is interesting about AI is the way bad examples of out-of-fashion genres are foisted upon so many millions of teenyboppers. I personally loathe the mediocre 1995 alt-rock style of Chris Daughtry, but it's sort of amusing that AI viewers are so ignorant of rock music that in some relativistic shrug they begrudgingly accept his post-grunge dirges as what "Rockers" do (btw, nobody who actually listens to any kind of rock would ever use that word, yet AI has singlehandedly reintroduced it into the national lexicon).

The most outrageous example of a bad, fake Rocker was probably Constantine Maroulis last year. This was a flamboyant Broadway singer who barely rocked hard enough to star in a regional theater production of Grease, yet he grew his hair out and sort of squealed a bit as he mugged for the cameras, so the judges and fans unironically discusssed him as a Rocker.

Same goes for Taylor Hicks' godawful 80s bar singer shtick being accepted as blues rock. The thing is, these bad impersonations of unpopular styles don't make Taylor or Chris interesting or eccentric. They make them canny exploiters of the ignorance of millions of Americans who have been deprived of exposure to good rock or blues.

Tags: american idol, culture, constantine maroulis, taylor hicks, katharine mcphee


  • At 4:55 PM, Blogger Neda Cole said…

    Couldn't agree more - that article is preposterous! I was completely shocked (even more than by Chris Daughtry's gentrified-grunge version of a Barry Mannilow song) at the apparently genuine enthusiasm for Idol as a bonafide musician-hunt until right at the very end when I read that the writer is a man named Jody...

    I don't know what is worse: The thought of Katherine McPhee continuing to stare condescendingly through my screen with her over-taught toothy smile (Classy? Come ON) or Taylor Hicks cold-heartedly employing his premature greyness to manipulate the sympathies of audiences who one would hope would never accept such poor roadside-inn-singer mimicry from a man not yet due his pension.

    What can I say? I can't say it better than the British TV presenter who explained American Idol as being 'something like Pop Idol (the British version) but for people who need to be reminded where they live'.

  • At 10:12 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Heh. I didn't realize they were broadcasting it in the UK. I can't explain why I watched it this season... Elliott had a nice sound, and I enjoyed the vocal coaching/critiques. Barry Manilow was a surprisingly observant vocal coach, for instance.

    Tonight's showdown was a total snooze...

  • At 7:21 AM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    Lisa de Moraes watched so I didn't have to.


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