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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Looks Good on Paper

  Eventually everyone does an Ameri.can I.dol post, this is mine. In the early episodes of each season, Simon is critiquing how the auditioning performers look and act, yet he also claims that talent is the most important part. The talented heavy girl is gone, the tiny pretty girl is gone, now the shaved head rocker is gone and you have what? Two crooners and an entry from the 'Barbie's less pretty friend' collection, all of which have less personal charisma than Carson Daly's shadow.

  Not that Katherine isn't quite nice to look at, but she is a bland singer. She is what vanilla would be if it weren't flavored. I know Jessica Simpson is reportedly a great singer, but I don't know anyone that intentionally listens to her music, and Katherine doesn't look like a Maxim girl. Like most men, my idea of handsome begins and ends in the nearest mirror, so the last one of these guys that might make it on his looks would have to have been the guy with the hair, whose name I've already forgotten. Bucky, I remembered. The other guy with the hair, whatever his name was, maybe him too. Taylor's act is schtick, not 'pop idol' material, so of the three only Elliot might be able to move a few records, yet I kind of doubt he will be all that successful.

  Sure, they might sell it for $9.99 or less to boost sales like say Bo or Gwen Stefani, and they (Simon Cowell and Co.) have plenty of money for buying radio/video airplay, but that is not what we have been lead to believe this competition is about. I'm not saying the thing is rigged, although there is definitely a stacked deck when you are basing things on the whim of only those willing to continually hit redial for a few hours one night a week. It would almost be a relief to find out that it is rigged, then they could revamp the show and have you vote against those you want removed, which just makes more sense anyway. It just doesn't sound nice.

Duty freebie: I don't remember how I got to Electricvenom , but I enjoyed this particular post especially. She writes long posts when necessary, which I enjoy but you should consider yourself warned if you prefer the soundbite drive-by style weblog.

A bit more about AI winners and country music follows ...

  What ever happens to the winners and runners-up anyway? I know Kelly Clarkson is genuinely famous and successful now, but who else? Unfortunately, both my carpool and ambient music at work are top 40 country, so I know Carrie from last season is still famous currently, but that is as far as she will go, no pop idol there. Reuben and Fantasia may be selling records, but I don't have to hear them, at least not yet. Clay? Nope, not since that one song went away have I endured that guy. Which brings up the rigging question again. First season, Kelly and Justin are the final two, and whomever actually made the decision decided to go with the talent rather than the comedy choice; and Justin was never heard from again. (Not true, he was heard/read whining in a multitude of interviews for years.) Reuben is a walrus, but male, so he won but disappeared. Mandisa has more talent than any two of those that outlasted her, but she is a heavy woman, and that's not allowed. Fantasia is talented, but incredibly hard to look at, she won and disappeared. As I mentioned, Carrie won and is continuing to flog the New country airwaves, whining about Jesus, which is her right, of course. White girl, black guy, black girl, blonde white girl = white guy. I'm not saying I know it is rigged, but it doesn't have to be at this point; would you buy a record from Katherine? I didn't pay much attention last year, but I think the favorite white guy had too much hair is why they didn't follow Fantasia's win with him. They even made William Hung a rich man so they can safely leave out any Asian winner for years to come, with him to fall back on.

  Back to Carrie, whom I despise as I do most country singers, for one simple reason: she's fake. Have you ever heard the Beatles? Elton John? Roger Daltry, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, any other British singer? Okay now, have you heard them speak? They have British accents when they speak, yet the fundamental difference between the spoken word and the same word sung is that one doesn't have dialectical nuances in their singing voice. Oh, Paul may pronounce 'writer' the more correct British way in "Paperback Writer", but for the most part you don't hear accents in a person's singing voice. Add Celine Dion, for that matter. She has an annoying accent that you never pick up from her English recordings. Klaus Meine, German singer of the Scorpions? No accent. (For a few cheap laughs check out their early recordings for some nonsensical broken English lyrics, still no accent though.)

   American 'country' music is decidedly different on this matter. Since singing removes accent, one would have to intentionally put forth effort to insert an accent into their singing. Why? Because those who lap up this pablum have grown to expect it, and don't think it is authentic without it. This is your example for irony class, btw. They choose country-sounding names, they wear country clothes, they mistune chalkboard scratching intensity twanging into their instruments - and they sing lahk thay tawwlk. Even if they don't really talk that way. It's fake and insulting to all of my friends and relatives that can't help but speak that way, and the fans should be insulted by it.


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