Thursday, May 7, 2009

An AI Outrage

If I wasn't convinced that the producers of Americn Idol were trying to manipulate this year's results in favor of the new "chosen one," this this did it. We're down to Top 3 and the hometown visits, and look what graces the cover of EW. They might as well just call it already. It is an outrage and I have my theories about what's behind this.
The original "Chosen One" was Danny Gokey. I have to admit during Hollywood week, I had the nerve to call it for him. The judges went nuts and the producers even played up the tragic backstory: a widower in his late 20s who lost his wife a month before his audition. The backlash came quickly, with many people noting how last year, David Cook never allowed the backstory of his brother's brain cancer to be exploited. When Cook's pre-Idol solo album, Analog Heart started selling suddenly on Amazon.com MP3 (it was #1 for a short time, ahead of Mariah Carey's new album), he had it pulled quickly. All out of fairness.

Flash forward to season 8. As the Top 12 progressed, Lambert came on strong week after week and never faultered in his performance, while Gokey became kind of boring. With Lambert, the producers found a new "Chosen One" who is much more likely to sell records and generate buzz. Gokey has plenty of fans - and they are a visible and voting bunch - and he will most certainly face Lambert in the finale - but if he wins, I think we're looking at another Taylor Hicks. I just don't see Danny igniting record sales, singles sales, or much of a buzz in general. The Powers That Be must agree with my assessment because they are clearly doing what they can to hand Lambert a win. The person really getting screwed here is Kris Allen, who is now almost certain to go home next week. I think he could have had a fighting chance if Gokey and Lambert weren't so heavily promoted. Allen happens to have the pop quality and boyish good looks and charm to make it as a pop idol. I hope he finds runner-up success a la David Archuleta.

The shame of it is that Lambert, at this point, probably deserves to win anyway. He is a skilled and experienced peformer and has an amazing vocal range. Not everyone likes his voice - and I must say I want to like his voice more than I do - but you can't deny his charisma, perfect pitch and power. My previous post goes over the huge challenges he faces if he goes the rock route - the genre that most people (including the judges and me) feel suits him best.

Back to this cover story. It's not easy getting a cover on EW. There's plenty of competition out there right now, especially with the new Star Trek and X-Men movies and the rest of all the summer blockbusters opening. I don't think this is a case of American Idol's producers "allowing" this to happen. They rallied hard with EW to make this happen. No matter how much you like Adam Lambert, this kind of coverage during the competition is unprecidented and in my book, unfair. Unfair to Gokey & Allen, and to the millions of faithful viewers who like to make up their own mind and then cast their votes.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Such an obvious nod towards what might only be considered a foregone conclusion can't help "Idol" feel like a real competition. Seems certainly like a lot of unfair publicity -- save the covers for AFTER somebody wins the show, for pete's sake! Great rant, Scott!