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An Open Letter to the American Idol Producers and Judges

First let me say that a simple search of the archives here will show I've been a fan of the show for years. I've often blogged about it even though I took some heat from people who where only here for politics and news.

And I'm a pretty good judge of talent. I picked Carrie Underwood out the group instantly. I also picked Kathryn Mcphee last year. (Who should have won but for the Tayor fad.) While I'm not in the music business, I understand what you are looking for.

But having shown my loyalty to your program, this year you've just gone too far. I like a good slow motion train wreck as much as the next guy but criticizing people for their looks and obvious developmental problems is just taking it too far. We all love to see the guy or gal who thinks they are too sexy for his or her own good being humbled. But to pick on people who look as though they are at least partially developmentally disabled is uncalled for.

We all learned in grade school not to pick on these children, they have a tough enough lot in life without you idiots humiliating them in front of 30 million people.

The most egregious part of this year's freak show is that you have set these people up. They just don't walk in to see the judges. You people hand pick them. You lie to them in the early rounds and tell them they are being sent thru to the next round based on merit. And they believe you. -- In reality you're only sending along like lambs to slaughter. You're hand picking these people to subject them to ridicule and humiliation. That's unconscionable.

As Simon would say, "You're a bit over the top."

Dial back the "freak show" and let's hear from a few contestants who "almost made it." If you want to turn a talent show into a freak show, OK... but that's not why this one fan tunes in.

Update: I am apparently not the only one to notice.


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» Right Thoughts...not right wing, just right. linked with American Idol Week 1 - Auditions in Seattle *UPDATED*

Comments (25)

My sentiments exactly. The... (Below threshold)

My sentiments exactly. The judges (particularly Simon) were unnecessarily cruel to unattractive or unknowing contestants. American Idol is turning into the Howard Stern show.

I have to wonder, however, if some of those contestants were comic actors presenting over the top bizarre performances to get their 15 minutes of fame. I am still wondering about that Seattle software programmer with the eerie stare.

After watching this week's ... (Below threshold)

After watching this week's episodes I am convinced that this whole series of first-round auditions is mostly a set-up. Too many people already know how the show works - about how the first-round auditions showcase total non-talent, along with the accompanying insults and barbs. And America gets a good laugh out of it. Since everyone knows what is going on I am therefore completely convinced that those non-talented "losers" are ACTING! They are doing it for fun, publicity, opportunity, etc. I'll admit there are some true disappointments, but those extreme cases where the singing is more like screeching and the person cries in disappointment are just not real.

There was a teenage boy who came out of the room cursing and crying, convinced that he really had singing talent. Give me a break. Are you telling me that his parents and friends convinced him that he was good enough, and spent hours and hours to go through the auditions with him - knowing he would fail miserably. I don't buy it for a second. Most people in America are falling for this ruse. I like a good "authentic" reality program, and this is not it, at least not this phase of the show.

And that software developer guy from Salt Lake City - they spent a lot of time previewing him and interviewing him. He said he had a great range. And of couse he sucked (what a shocker). I don't believe it for a minute. He knew he sucked and did the best sucky job he could. His dorky looks just added to the effect.

Don't feel sorry for these people. They got their few minutes of fame - just what they wanted. (Even so I'm agree that I'm really tired of this phase - actually getting very boring and predictable).

Mat hit the nail on the hea... (Below threshold)

Mat hit the nail on the head. My wife spent 26 years working for NBC in NY and she laughs out loud when the bad contestants come on the show. They are there so the audience can laugh when the camera pans to Simon and he has that phony expression of amazement on his face. It is entertainment with a capital E. Not a contest.

After the first two episode... (Below threshold)

After the first two episodes I had to post a rant very much like yours on my own blog. You're dead on regarding the auditions - the past few years it was some talentless people that had high regard for themselves getting slammed along with some of the good people, but this year they really seem to be showing dozens of honest-to-goodness mentally handicapped people. There are people that can barely communicate, dress themselves, or perform routine hygiene upon themselves...forget about singing! And there are the ones that think they're hot stuff but after being laughed at they first storm off in a tempest of fury before breaking down into the worst sort of 3-year-old-girl 'my brother took my lollipop!' weeping. I also used the word freakshow because its so accurate. One question you failed to ask...are they hiding the real talent...or is the best they've got? So far I've only seen about 2 or 3 people that don't make me cringe...they're passing people through to the next round that have no business getting through, simply because the rest are so bad. Unless they're hiding serious talent to unveil during or after the next round of cuts, this is the end of AI, although the freak show may continue. I just wish they'd filter out this nightmare into a separate show so we'd know we could watch an actual competition or watch amateur night at the mental hospital if we chose.

re: Matt - in some ways I agree with you, there's a lot of people that know they suck and 'play along'. But c'mon, a lot of these people don't look smart enough to pull off a hoax, they look like they can barely put on a pair of button fly jeans without a map.

I dont come here to read ab... (Below threshold)

I dont come here to read about TV shows-Ive never seen a minute of that stupid show. This is a waste

But to pick on people wh... (Below threshold)

But to pick on people who look as though they are at least partially developmentally disabled is uncalled for.

What? We can't make Paula Abdul jokes any more?

Paul,I think I know ... (Below threshold)

I think I know of one contestant of this past week to whom you are referring. When I have the show on I don't give it my undivided attention but I cringed when Simon made a very tasteless comment about one young man's less than attractive appearance. Completely inappropriate. Frankly, I enjoy these early rounds the best when I see contestants who are actually marginally good and the judges take the time to actually the time for some constructive comments while saying "sorry".

Eh, I have to partly disagr... (Below threshold)

Eh, I have to partly disagree with Matt's idea on "his parents and friends convinced him that he was good enough, and spent hours and hours to go through the auditions with him".
I've seen spouses and family tell horrible auditioners "You did great, honey" without any irony. Some of these people really believe it.
Of course, it wasn't televised on national TV, but it happens in real life.

I know tastes differ, but o... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

I know tastes differ, but once the freak show is over I have no interest in the rest of the programs. The attraction for me is the "amazement factor", as in being amazed by how differently some folks view their talents vs. how the judges view their talents. While Paul alludes to fraud on the part of the producers ("you have set these people up"), it seems at least some of the contestants are perpetrating a fraud of their own in that their real goal is to get their face on TV and one way to do that is be bad, very bad, and then throw a fit.

I don't watch the show but ... (Below threshold)

I don't watch the show but I happened to be sitting near a TV when this was on. I agree with Paul. It's one thing to let the guy wearing the Uncle Sam costume through... he's an average joe who's just a little goofy. It's quite another thing to ridicule the ones who appeared to be a bit 'developmentally challenged', to use the PC euphemism. Personally, I found it repulsive.

You do realize that you hav... (Below threshold)

You do realize that you have lined up behind Rosie O'Donnell's position on this, don't you?

I only wish I could be on ... (Below threshold)

I only wish I could be on American Idol but I just suck at singing so bad. And I'm so ugly I routinely get compared to monkeys. So does my mother.

I have zits and my underarm hair is 3 inches long. They'd never let me on the show.

Matt... Don't get ... (Below threshold)


Don't get me wrong... Many people are looking for their William Hung 3 minutes of fame. Some of them have never sung before and want to be on T.V. -- I know that. I'm talking about something different.

If you missed Wednesday's show you probably don't appreciate what I'm speaking to... This year, so far, is off to a different start. And not a good one.

Mac said:

"I know tastes differ, but once the freak show is over I have no interest in the rest of the programs. "

Wow, that surprises me a bit Mac. Did you see Wed show?


Rance, don't make me ban you. ;-)

liam considering your [orig... (Below threshold)

liam considering your [original] comments, I know you'll love what I did with the edit button.

That's entertainment!

Wow, that surprise... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
Wow, that surprises me a bit Mac. Did you see Wed show?

No, I didn't. I don't condone making fun of mentally challenged people, but reality challenged people are another matter. Also, I simply have no interest in the show once the auditions are over and they move into the contest phase.

OK had you seen Wed show I ... (Below threshold)

OK had you seen Wed show I think you'd agree they crossed the time between funny and just mean.

You do realize that you ... (Below threshold)

You do realize that you have lined up behind Rosie O'Donnell's position on this, don't you?

Sometimes she is. She once went on a rant about Woody Allen being a pedophile freak. She even said that her agent had told her not to do that because so many entertainment types like Allen. She said it anyway.

Nobody should have won last... (Below threshold)

Nobody should have won last season. The best of them were one-trick ponies who have no business with any kind of a recording contract; the rest of the finalists made Constantine look talented.

That after Carrie Underwood the year before.

I agree with Paul. The fir... (Below threshold)
Mighty Dwight:

I agree with Paul. The first two shows were stupid. They're trying something different this year and it's dumb. Why not just stick to the same routine that has brought them ratings in previous years. Yes, show the people who can't sing. But just that. Don't comment on the looks or smarts, or whatever. That is going too far.

This year's show actually s... (Below threshold)

This year's show actually seems milder, at least as far as the NUMBER of insults from the judges. I do agree Simon's comments about the boy with the big eyes were very rude, though his description was dead-on. The producers should have cut Simon's remarks--(the viewers were able to "get" the boy's purpose of being featured on the show, without Simon pointing it out) However, they want Simon to be portrayed as the "bad guy", and I know many of the viewers will agree that he is one. I would be greatly surprised if any of these viewers had never verbalized about someone being fat, tall, homely, etc ever in their lives. It sounds worse on TV, but show me a human who does not criticize other's appearances (didn't Rosie make fun of Trump's hair, first in their feud?)

The best part of IDOL to me is when the competition gets down to the final 20-24 people who actually have some singing ability.

I was <a href="http://www.r... (Below threshold)

I was talking about this as the show aired...it's too much. They went too far in Seattle.

Every blogger that writes about TV - or every group blog - has a post about this same thing. I cannot see how SO many people, so many different personalities, can all be wrong about this.

here's the one thing though - the bug-eyed kid? I do not think he was mentally challenged. I think he has a thyroid problem. Big diff. His friend Johnathan, and that Nick guy...those were people who should not have been mocked for the sake of a TV show.

This is exactly why I don't... (Below threshold)

This is exactly why I don't watch the train wreck which continues until the contestants are pared down to about 30. I actually do enjoy watching it then, because there is actual talent on display. At least then the high school-ish snobbery that infects the show is tolerable.

What really bothers me, and... (Below threshold)

What really bothers me, and is the reason I will not watch, is the fact real talent is passed up in the early auditions so they have these individuals to make fun of. A family member with a lifetime of training and accolades, including a performance at Carnegie Hall and several other well known, large stages across the country, was left out after an early round so some of these individuals could be put on TV only to be made fun of.

One time to watch this show... (Below threshold)

One time to watch this show when it first came on was enough for me! Not worth my time!

Booo-hooooo the big bad man... (Below threshold)

Booo-hooooo the big bad man made fun of deluded talantless people....

Look that show is in what year now? Have the people who are trying out never seen this show? Come on, we know what was going to happen to these people.

The world is becoming to PC...... It is not the general publics job to baby people who should have the mental and emotional fortitude to deal with their short comings. Don't put yourself out there if you are that fragile.






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