Choose Your Poison - American Idol or MTV
06.12.2006 08:10 | DISPATCHES
Sure, it's an easy target, but nevertheless it's distressing to learn that more Americans voted for American Idol contestants this season than voted in the recent American presidential election. (Though at least the chances of your ballot counting are higher.)
However, there's another even more troubling angle to the show. Almost none of those aspiring to stardom sings as well as any vocalist on almost any CD or downloaded song in any viewer's collection. In fact, many garage bands (definitely not karaoke bars though) feature better singers. Why does the public accept music on TV that's way more lame than on their MP3 players?
My interpretation is that, aside from the drama, most people watch American Idol because they want to see pop music performed live. The recent trend in prime time specials by mainstream singers would support that. There are few shows whose passing was more lamented than The Ed Sullivan Show.
In other words, the American Idol phenomenon can be viewed as a backlash against the music video form, which always struck me as glorified lip synching. In fact, even if it is a bastion of mediocrity, three cheers for American Idol if it portends the beginning of the end for music videos as MTV celebrates its twenty-fifth execrable year.