American Idol is a television show on Fox created by Simon Fuller. The purpose of the show is to find the next sexy, marketable, 16-24 year old one hit wonder.

The judges of the show are former superstar Paula Abdul, record exec Randy Jackson, and the infamous, A&R guru Simon Cowell. Each week the performers sing live on TV in front of a studio audience. The songs must be selected from a genre chosen by the aforementioned judges. Musical themes range from motown to big band, giving the singers a true test of their style and range.

The first few weeks, the show travelled around to many large cities and held auditions. Many of the performances were so bad they had me in tears, including the most aweful rendition of silent night ever unleashed upon mankind.

The following people have made it to the final round.

  • Kelly Clarkson
  • Tamyra Gray
  • Justin Guarini
  • RJ Helton
  • Nikki McKibben
  • Christina Christian
  • Ryan Starr
  • A.J Gill
  • EJay Day
  • Jim Verraros

The winner of the show will win a record deal. When the show is over, the finalists listed above will go on tour across America to promote their CD entitled "American Idol: Greatest Hits". Simon Fuller also has plans for a movie based on American Idol.

I warn you beforehand that a pissed-off rant follows. If you don't want to hear it, or your pretty little ears feel that this is an institution where rants are a lower form of communication, akin to grunts and genital-scratching, feel free to read something else. Or downvote the writeup. Otherwise, read on.

Two nights ago a hundred million idiots worldwide watched PopStars II: Fuckheads Unleashed, which they're calling American Idol.

Yeah, I can say that--I was one of them. I watched American Idol the way a person watches a car crash: waiting, waiting, waiting to see the gore and guts, but at once realizing you haven't the stomach, and in reality, it's disgusting and you're probably going to be traumatized for life. In this day of reality television and spoofs of spoofs of spoofs of reality television, I feel the need to gouge my eyes out with a fork. Media is a huge crock of shit. If these television show bigwig motherfuckers expect me to believe that they will fulfill my dream of being a world-renowned pop artist through this thoroughly and obscenely sickening television show, they can kiss my lily-white ass. Only the X-Files stops me from gunning down a Fox television office building for designing American Idol, and subjecting me to the whirling dervish of fuckery that was Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire?

Seeing television shows like American Idols reminds me, however, that everybody has their fifteen minutes of fame--unfortunately, Kelly Clarkson is probably going to end up being quickly forgotten. I can't recall the name of the band that was spawned from the syphilitic loins of that PopStars show: it was an inane take on the Destiny's Child style of name.

During the American Idol finale, the only one I watched, Ms. Clarkson had this look on her face that said, yes, I'm damn good, and I already know that I've won. I shall henceforthly act as if I haven't won, and I will do it badly. The bile rose into my throat over the hour-long program, and by the time I watched her not-heartwarming final song, I was not moved to tears by her finale. I felt empty, sick and infinitely less intelligent for subjecting myself to the lowest form of television on earth. (I used to think that sitcoms were the lowest form of television, followed closely by the likes of Jenny Jones and Jerry Springer. American Idol makes me feel sick in my heart, as if there's no hope for humans, that we must be easily fooled into thinking that we're smarter than chimpanzees, when in fact we're slugs. I don't like feeling that way. To be clear: I feel deeply and profoundly sad because of American Idol.)

I hate to think that They believe us all to be drooling idiots, that we'll accept whatever meaningless media-gruel they put on our plates. Now, Survivor was an interesting premise: watch people survive out in the bush. But it got worse from there. Big Brother was served up next: let's all watch people live. There's more Fear Factor: let's watch people jump off stuff and eat weird shit. Then Popstars, which I've complained about. Hell, look at Dog Eat Dog: let's watch people do physical activities, to the tune of canned laughter and applause and horrific editing. Now, there's American Idol: let's watch and belittle people without musical talent, while taking people who do, and give those special someones a flash in the pan, run-of-the-mill music career in which they will be forgotten within minutes!

I hope that the world realizes that by creating and watching shows like American Idol, everyone loses. I've got ten bucks that says Ms. Clarkson is going to need some therapy down the road for how horribly she is going to be razzed, by the very same media that created her, just before she fades into the mundaneness of her former, perfectly respectable and wonderful life. So, you bastards who came up with the idea for this: thanks for nothing.

I can't say as I'm very sorry for this rant, either.

Crystal Bowersox, finalist in Fox's hit show American Idol, made the following statement yesterday minutes after losing to Lee DeWyze: "I was ready and willing ... for the outcome. We both win. It's not win or lose; it's winner and non-winner. Both of us are going to have very successful careers, and we're going to be friends for a long time."

Hm. "Winner and non-winner," eh? Surprisingly, she isn't far from the truth. Yes, yes, I know she's stupid and hideous and not at all talented, but she is useful in making a point: in American Idol, everybody wins.

Obviously, the contestants win. They get free exposure, a nice place to stay while they're doing the show and perhaps, if they're very lucky, a record deal and a nice bundle of cash. Not a bad deal for them overall.

The people judging and hosting the show win. They get paid ridiculous amounts of money to sit in a chair and squash the dreams of thousands of bright-eyed hopefuls. I would kill for that job. Take Simon Cowell for instance. He wakes up every Tuesday afternoon, still slightly hungover, in his $22 million home in Beverly Hills, pops a few Vicodin and then proceeds to drive his Bugatti Veyron to work where he gets to belittle people like Crystal Bowersox who thinks "non-winning" isn't the same thing as losing. Simon Cowell definitely wins.

The recording company that signs the winner also wins. They get to hire the one person that their very customers, the American people, have decided they like the most, thereby guaranteeing a fair amount of album sales. It's brilliant. No longer do they have to hire talent scouts or actually waste their time listening to music and evaluating it properly; they can just sit back and let the masses do their thing. Ka-ching.

The advertisers win. Companies like Ford get to have any number of the most popular contestants sing and dance around their product for a paltry price. In today's world of product associations and endorsements, this is an advertising gold mine. Subsequently, the network, Fox, makes a killing off of the advertisers. Companies like AT&T and Coca-Cola pay sums up to 35 million dollars to have their brands associated with the show. Compare this to the few million dollars the winning finalist will make and you'll start to understand just how much money Fox is really making off of this show. Cheap content and huge advertising profits make Fox a big winner in American Idol.

The biggest winner in all of this is the media conglomerate that undoubtedly owns both the network, Fox, and the recording company that will be producing the winner's music. Rupert Murdoch's News Corp is the real winner. They take a slice from everything the network makes, everything the recording company makes and ultimately, everything that the winning artist will make. This probably equates to a few hundred million dollars in the long run.

Last and least of all, the people watching this corporate gang-bang get to feel like they've won. My mother, for instance, watches this show almost religiously. I can't explain it and neither can she, but she gets something out of this show. Maybe it's the feeling that anything is possible, that despite all the obstacles life throws at you, there's always a way out. Maybe it's the feeling of achievement she gets when she votes for a contestant and they don't get voted out, maybe she feels like she helped the winner get to where they are. Whether it's living the good life vicariously through others or the idea of the "American Dream", it's obviously worth it to her and the tens of millions of other people who watch this show with such dedication.

American Idol is quite simply a money making machine that consistently does very well with ratings, and I don't see it going anywhere for a long, long time.

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