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American Idol Fixed?

I just haven't been watching "American Idol". Not this season. Not last season. Not ever. A karaoke gong show where the Brit dude who invented it gets 50% of the winner's checks for life just didn't fit into my viewing habits. Until last week. Last Wednesday, there was a spare half-hour between the end of one of the funniest shows on TV -- "Corner Gas" (only available in Canada, I'm sure) -- and the start of a new episode of "West Wing". Not having any urgent chores to fill the time, I chose to stay affixed to the couch and thus was subjected to a special half-hour episode of "Idol".

This particular episode has already become notorious, with the black girl who was generally agreed to be the most talented of the six finalists, being voted off the show by the telephone electorate. The surprise to the show regulars -- Ryan, Paula, Simon, et al -- was obvious even to a virgin viewer like myself. And the story is all over the media. My favourite article so far is from "MediaLife".

"First came the cries of vote fixing. Then came accusations of racism. That’s not surprising, considering the show’s history. In season one, Tamyra Gray, who is black, was voted off before the final in an upset that ranked just behind Hudson’s on the surprise scale. And last season producers booted fan favorite Frenchie Davis, also black, for posing topless for pictures for an internet site called “Daddy’s Little Girls” despite her mentioning the pictures on her application. In season one, producers let a white former stripper nonetheless stay on.

Fox’s accusers worried that the network did not want all three black women making the final, perhaps worried a fickle white audience would tune out, though again, they have no evidence. Of course, a greater percentage of black households than white actually watch “Idol.” “I knew once they let [Ruben Studdard] win the last show they will not let another black person win," a fan said on the “Idol” web site. “They are intimidated by the talent and skills of the black singers.”

Will the viewers stay if the junk gets a free pass? Has the "Idol" phenomenon reached its flood? What's next?

April 25, 2004 in Media | Permalink


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never fear.
no matter how awful idol, or its derivatives get, they'll never get as morally horrendous as the one in moscow.
That took place in a prison, all the contestants were prisoners who were up for parole.
Each week the audience voted on who would leave the show, and go back into main prison block. The tension at the end was palpable because, as well as a record contract, the winner won early release.

Now THATS entertainment (runs off stage left to puke)

Posted by: kellan | May 26, 2004 1:01:42 PM

I might have been tempted to watch that! Kidding of course. One of my many many beefs against the show is that the Brit who invented it keeps the winners in a bondage contract situation. I wonder how much the Russian winner had to pay him!

Posted by: Jak King | May 26, 2004 8:24:21 PM