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It's the visual equivalent of a roadkill squirrel

Updated: Momish, just for you:

I'm telling you, it not only looked like a dead squirrel on his head, but he sounded a bit like the visual equivalent of roadkill.
God Bless Him.
And God Forgive Me.

One of the more entertaining or bizarre moments on the show; I haven't decided.

To speak, or not to speak: therein lies the dilemma

Oy oy oy. I faced this same ethical dilemma last year when I felt very compelled to write about Kevin Covais.

It's Sanjaya, on American Idol. I have something to say about him, about the show.

Before leaping into the pool of cess, I have a caveat:

I like to think of myself not per se as nice, but as kind: kind, courteous and respectful.

Sanjay is a kid, a real kid with feelings. He's a person who deserves common courtesy, not unconstructive criticism.

I think that's the really, really bad downside to reality TV: it fosters a common perception that we all get to be critics.

Put something up in front of me, it's mine to critique and I have the right to tell you---or better yet, vote and affect the outcome---of whether you are worthy.

What a false sense of power and importance; yet, how very seductive.

I admit it. I watch American Idol. I watched Grease: You're the one that I want.

I feel my inner critic shining during each and every episode. I cover my eyes, I cover my ears, I jiggle in my chair, I clap at the end, and most of all: I have a very definite opinion about whether that person was up to (my) par (which is pretty picky). My husband and I trade quirky and witty comments in a strange sort of bonding ritual. We're invested.

It's better than a martini as a destressor. Plus, you get the bonus of feeling so dirty afterwards.

And that's how I feel right now, after watching American Idol. Dirty. Dirty and mean. Because the line between constructive criticism and unconstructive criticism is a little murky sometimes...isn't it necessary sometimes to be cruel to be kind?

But if I am just talking about someone...isn't that just plain old mocking?

So be it, I will be...I will be forthcoming in my mocking and unconstructive gossip.

I think Sanjaya's performances have been dreadful. I question why it is that people continue to vote for him. Really, why? Whatever is your justification? He might have talent, he probably does...but it's certainly not evident in his performances, which have devolved into being more about his fashionista side (so to speak).

The hair tonight? And the singing? Oh. Oh. It was like the visual equivalent of a roadkill squirrel. I kept peeking and then quickly looking away. My ears wished they could do the same.

So that's what I really question: the sincerity in the motive for voting to keep him on the show.

But it gets even more sinister than that...

I have completely fallen into believing my husband's theory that the show is rigged. I have it on good authority that the auditions are rigged. So, eh, carrying that over into the show is just one small step, yes?

His theory is that they are ensuring that the middle of the pack get cut first, thereby leaving the two extremes: the two most likely groups to generate talk, publicity and interest.

Look at me! I'm falling into their nefarious plan!

On the chopping block tonight: Chris Sligh and Haley Scarnato---clear out one more joe or jane from the middle rather than chopping out, mercifully, one who deserves it.

But I do have good things to say too

Blake didn't wow me tonight, but is it just me, or is he so very cool?

Melinda, however, did.

And ummm...Paula, such a pretty girl.

On that note...

I was a little surprised to see Blake singing his song so sincerely. Is it just me? I think I might be the only person in the world who took Love Song by The Cure to be a little ironic. Honestly, I didn't take it at all seriously. It sort of reeked of "guy in the doghouse for serious wrong begging with words desiged to melt the heart of a woman who ought to know better."

Or am I just projecting?

Speaking of projecting and Kevin Covais...

Grease. Really? REALLY? Max Crumm is America's idea of superhot, supercool stud Danny Zuko?

I think this might be evidence of my old fogey status: I feel no stud vibe. Or urge to call Ticketmaster. Sorry Jim, David and Kathleen. Oh, and in the words of the fabulous Gwen Stefani when asked about Sanjaya on AI: Yaaaaaa uhhh good luck. (insert lip quirk, eyebrow raise and slight eye roll here).

Max is a very talented young man. He should be cast as a lead, you know, maybe as Harold Hill in the Music Man. But...Danny Zuko?

Am I alone here?

I have to hope this is just an age gap thing, and people really liked him best for this part. That the modern Danny Zuko is a skater/slacker and that's who is most believable as the king of a '50s high school to today's audience.

Still, it begs the that age group who is the majority of Broadway show ticket buyers?

Have they missed the demographic between reality TV show watching American public and expensive live show ticket buying public?

That's it...I promise. For now...

copyright 2007 Julie Pippert

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Rachel Briggs said…
I can so relate to your post. Never watched American (or any other type of) Idol before. One night, my 7 year old and I were on our own, and we watched it. (I think we get it a week later over here).

Anyway, we watched some of the auditions initially. I didn't know how to feel. Some desperately untalented kids begging for the chance to sing again... humiliation...awful dress sense... yes, we watched the one shot in Seattle! I found myself dealing with different emotions. The grown-up I-am-entitled-to-be-entertained bit wanted to hoot with laughter at the lack of telent and weirdness of some of them. The Mummy wanted to tell my son not to laugh or joke about people who clearly didn't understand they were hopelessly inept, and praise their bravery and courage to try.

Inevitably, my son told my husbnad to watch it - so the next week, we find ourselves watching again. You're right - they're up there, and we feel we have the right to make pretty personal comments about their looks, dress, weight, ability etc - in ways we'd never do to people we met in "real life". As we sit smugly in our house in England, safe from anyone criticing us for our talents, it feels very easy to pass judgements about people, all of whom have more singing talent than our entire household put together!

By the way, we also have conversations about the "fixing" of the show! We're all cynics now.

So - it is a good test of our humanity. It is also a good test of the way we project our values onto our kids. Or is it just a good laugh, no harm done? I mean, they're asking for it... aren't they???
Christina said…
We watch Idol. It's our little secret that we don't tell many friends.

Sanjaya really has been the worst of the bunch, but is still there. He's like a young, just-out-on-his-own Michael Jackson to me. I think he stays because the younger set thinks he's cute and likes that he takes all the criticism with a smile.

Let's face it - Idol is not to determine the best singer, it's to determine the best Idol, with all that encompasses. They have to connect with the audience to be likeable in some way in order to win the competition. Voice is a part of it, but not all.

And yeah, Max as Danny? I won't be going to see that production of Grease. He seems like a nice guy, but it's kind of an upside down interpretation of Grease, with the school nerd as the big shot.
Kyla said…
You know about this, right? It really is a conspiracy. Poor Sanjaya. The hair. *shudder*
Mad said…
Sorry. No help on this one. I used to be an Idol devotee. Now my kid goes to bed too late.
Julie Pippert said…

Kyla, I did NOT know about that. I mean, WTF? Why? AAARRRGGGHHH rips at hair LOL. But I am glad now to know and possibly better understand.

The REALLY TRULY vicious thing about the VFTW deal is that now this kid thinks people like him and think he's good. It's not enough to be cruel, oh no, must get hopes up...the farther to fall.

It was like a dead squirrel on his head---that hair---wasn't it?
Julie Pippert said…
Rachel, they have American Idol in England? Isn't there a British Idol one?

I am just so proud of some things we export! LOL!

Yep, I go back and forth just like that, be nice ~ bwahahaha ~ be NICE ~ bwahahahaha

I'd like to take it lightly---to answer your question---and say, "Eh, it's all voluntary, and they get some success, the good ones...and what a marketing success..." and so forth.

But you know? I don't really think it adds a good value to the culture. In fact, I think it's a little of the opposite, actually. And the mroe we see it, the more we think it's okay and are desensitized.

This doesn't mean I think it needs to go.

I just think the public needs to be very, very conscious.
Julie Pippert said…
Christina, WOW! I swear last night I said to my husband, "Chris missed out on his chance to Van Morrison, and I don't know what Sanjaya could do other than Michael Jackson."

My husband smirked but I could tell he was thinking, "Michael, ah HA! That's who that kid reminds me of!"

Hey click that link Kyla has in her comment. It explained EVERYTHING.

Thanks for the Max validation. I can't wait to see how that goes. word:TIVO ;)
Bones said…
Have you heard about the Howard Stern Conspiracy? Stern HATES Idol, for some reason, so he has been urging his listeners to vote for Sinjaya over and over again. Stern has a veritable army of disciples at his disposal, so it’s quite conceivable to think that he could tilt the votes my making this suggestion. Google it, you can read all about it.
thailandchani said…
I like to watch AI occasionally (if I don't like what's on "House" that week. LOL) and just enjoy the singing so I don't have any impulse really to criticize them. Mostly, I watch to listen to Simon Cowell make an ass of himself.

In general, I don't like reality TV much or the recent proliferation of talent competitions. They're harmless enough. Just not very interesting for the most part.

They exported AI to Thailand in the fourth season. Gawd!



Her Bad Mother said…
DUDE. I'm not the only one who watched Grease: The Search For Yadda Yadda?

Am so gratified that I've forgotten what I was going to say about the rest of your post.

And, yes, Max. Please. He wouldn't get me into tight pants.

And, am currently wondering hwy I keep failing to summon words for your spectacular thinky posts but get all chatty when you say the magic words: REALITY TV.
Julie Pippert said…
HBM, AH HA! Another Grease watcher! WOO HOO! know I have to report you to Julie, mothergoosemouse Julie, for your vacuous superficial ways.

(BWAHAHAHA my amusement at my own sense of irony and jokiness has left me...the only one laughing LOL)

Anywho. I think you, Christina, me and my husband are the only people who admit to watching Grease blah blah blah. His copout (my husband's) is that it was all in support of his client (Austin's mom) and me (his beloved wife who made him do it by co-opting the big TV and sucking him in to the drama).

At least I'm honest and say I'm a total junkie. LOL


Chani you are totally freaking kidding. AI in Thailand? Anyway, don't they have an Asian one?

Like I said to Rachel, I am so proud of our exports!

Just think...soon, we can call it McEarth and everywhere you go, not only there you are, but there you are amidst everything completely familiar just like you never left the last place!

(There is actually a really interesting book written by an architect devoted to this very topic: degrading unique culture through mcbuilding. Wish I could recall the names!)

I think all three make asses out of themselves with the constant appearance comments.


Bones, okay this is a HUGE relief. I hate Howard Stern, and he hates AI, so it's okay for me to like AI.


Totally kidding (except I really can't stand Stern).

I also did not know about that (Stern's hatred and campaign). I'm sure that plus the VFTW are skewing everything.

It's almost like it MUST be rigged to counter the public rigging.

In all honesty, I do hate that. It really annoys the crap out of me, actually.

You know, in a really distant, doesn't ruin my day and after I finsih typing this I'll totally forget about it way. LOL

Between you and Kyla, though, I do have relief. It helps to know it's just jerks being jerky; there is not actually a large public that has thought his peformances worth voting for.

It kind of balances it out.

While I lose faith in humanity to know they are doing this, to know it is a joke and not real taste sort of restores my faith.
kim said…
I am a closet American Idol hater. We tried to watch it,but as you said we felt dirty. One episode had a guy named Red. Red was pathetically clueless. And the judges, the never really weres, with their over inflated egos, (are they really any different than Red?)laughed and ridiculed the man. They showed no mercy or grace when they realized that Red was hurt.

Picking on people for sport and we sit in the coliseum stands and watch.
Girlplustwo said…
i don't watch this show. i did, though, see a piece on 60 minutes about the massive marketing going on because of it - each singer who gets a contract has to go through Sony (I think) and Cowell gets a cut.

It feels pawnlike. But perhaps I am just cranky. I realize i am not speaking to what you actually wrote about, so sorry about that too!
thailandchani said…
Julie, yeah.. They exported the fourth season of American Idol over to Thailand. I don't think it really caught on.

They should have a Thai one.. but they won't.

The really shameful thing is how you can walk into any mall or large store in Thailand and find a Mickey D's or KFC. When I was over there, I turned on the radio and heard Madonna! All the young Thai kids want to look like little American thugs. Bangkok looks like a little Thai-flavored American Large City. It's grotesque!

And sickening. I'm actually more disgusted with the Thai government for allowing it than I am with American marketers pushing their trash culture over there. No sense in getting mad at a dog for barking.

Please, please, please... spare us from McWorld!



Unknown said…
I am soooo pissed I missed that show, because I would have love to have seen the road kill in action. It was all anyone could talk about today at work.

And you are right, there is a seductive draw to thinking you have the power and your opinion actually matters.
Julie Pippert said…
Kim, it's okay. I half loathe myself for watching it. :) But seriously, yes, I did actually allude a bit to that as *why* I have that iota of self-loathing. Yes, it's the modern blood sport.

Jen, no really, go there. I did touch on that point. I've wondered at times about the deals.

Are you sure it's Simon Cowell? Not Simon Fuller? Cowell is just a judge; Fuller is the emperor of this deal (and others).

Chani ack! bwahahahaha Can't get mad at a dog for barking. Oh that's priceless esp. in context. As for the rest...I really must remember the title of that book for you. That's def. the thesis.

Momish, Mother's Day around the corner. You need a DVR. Yes you do. ;) Oh ho so there is a buzz about town re. the dead squirrel. i tried to get a photo of it but no luck yet! Oh YAHOO found one now, later!
Sparky Duck said…
I watched Grease, you are the one that I want once, until the flashbacks of college and watching this movie over and over so I had the hopes of getting lucky in the dorms, came flooding back.

as for sanjaya, of course he will survive, so everyone will talk about him
Unknown said…
I caught the last minute of the Grease show and I wondered about that Zuko, myself. I'm not seein' it.

The corpse of Rocky J. Squirrel has definitely been unearthed!
The guy that didn't win the Danny Zuko part? The one that was a fabulous singer and dancer even if he did come across a little gay to be Danny? He lives right down the road from me.

I was so sad when he didn't get it.
Kyla said…
Glad to have provided you with a bit of relief as to why poor, poor Sanjaya hasn't been taken out yet. And I do appreciate the hair photo. Exactly like roadkill. *lol*

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