Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Not Just No, but HAY-ULL No!

Can I just say right now that I've never watched American Idol? Sure, a glimpse here and there while channel surfing or re-runs of Kelly Clarkson's winning performance, but I've never deliberately sat down with the specific intent of watching.

You see, I lived through the era of The Gong Show, and though the talent that shakes down--eventually--is really good, wiretap sources indicate that viewers gotta suffer through a lot of appallingly awful caterwauling to get to the chewy center of that Tootsie Roll Pop, if you know what I mean.

Still, the other day I was reading a blog that featured an audio sample of the dude who besmirched Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff". It was like a hideous carwreck and yet I could not look away. My sister confirmed her own confusion over enjoying something that was so stupendously bad, but I guess if you categorize it--or anything else for that matter-- as an experiment in human anthropology, you can give yourself permission to press on. And so I did.

Admittedly, there is some talent to be had in San Francisco. The girl whose mother gave her voice lessons as well as the guy named "Sway" who sang a ballad, the title of which escapes me at the moment. I saw about 7 seconds from the girl who sang the Dixie Chicks' "Sin Wagon", which is one hella ferocious tune to pull off if you're an amateur...and having to sing it a cappella at that. But I didn't come for the talent. I came for the Freak Show.

There's only one thing worse than someone with no talent and that is the person with no talent who THINKS he or she is the next Luther Vandross or Gladys Knight. These individuals are just so sincerely awful that they transcend the normal parameters of bad performances typically categorized as sounding like "cats in heat" or "a donkey call".

The guy who liked wolves was a sad case. He looked like someone's chemistry lab partner and he was truly convinced that he sounded like Clay Aiken. Ditto for the really big guy who sang Gladys Knight's "Neither One of Us Wants to be the First to Say Goodbye". The expressions of nausea that were so clear on the faces of the judges seemed not to register with them. Neither did the words "stop"....or "please"...or even "shoot me now". The guy singing the songs by Stevie Wonder just kept throwing out one after another in the desperate hope that Paula, Simon and Randy would see his genius and give him a green light. Even after earning a veritable hat trick of "NOs" from the judges, each performer seemed genuinely shocked...really.....just....speechless that they hadn't been whisked off to sign a recording contract THAT. VERY. INSTANT.

And the chick who thought she was a poet and who had only recently discovered that she was also (gasp!) a singer? A big blue flower in her big ol' head of hair and some eyeshadow from Mr. Spock's "Star Trek" line of cosmetics and she was convinced that she was all that and a Jello-O Pudding Pack. Can somebody tell me what was up with her nails? Why does any woman of any color think that she got it goin' on with nails that are so long and curved that her hands resemble the paws of a giant Sun Bear? Why? Why?

It should be against the law to be this delusional, and arrests definitely should have been made tonight. Don't these people have family or friends who would tip them off against purchasing a plane ticket to this arena of public humiliation...this seventh circle of Hell? What about a neighbor? A pet chimp who speaks ASL? It's cruel, I tell you! Cruel...and yet...I must laugh a little into my sleeve. **ahem** Confidence is one thing. Misplaced confidence is something else entirely and it does nothing to disguise the stink waves of BAD emanating from anyone who calls himself "Mr. All Terrain".

And who among these sad sacks doesn't own a mirror or a tape recorder? LOOK IN ANY SHINY/REFLECTIVE HOUSEHOLD SURFACE...A TOASTER, IF YOU HAVE ONE, WOULD BE A GOOD START. But the voices are the worst. I mean, we all think we sound better than we do. That's the mistake one makes regarding how you think your voice sounds inside your own head. I have to listen to my recorded voice all the time when I transcribe interview tapes for articles I'm writing and, let me tell you, I am OFFENDED by the hideous nature of the sound of my voice. The nasal twang I've tried hard to straighten's like trying to straighten out barbed wire. I liken it to the smell of cauliflower boiling in a school cafeteria. It's that unpleasant! In the words of the Grinch's narrator, "Stink. Stank. Stunk". But do you see me begging---no---DARING a panel of judges to snatch away my dream? No, internet, you don't.

As for those poor misguided souls on tonight's stage whose odious and inelegant efforts reminded me of a public swimming pool and the painful bellyflop that comes right after the ill- fated last words, "HEY!!! WATCH ME DO THIS!!!" ---I say, "Get another dream...preferably one that is based in reality". True, "American Idol" wouldn't be nearly as interesting without these dolts, but at least it would give my ears a chance to stop bleeding.


Blogger Ditsy Chick said...

I have to wonder how these people can be so deluded. And their families think the kids are awesome...blind parenting.

So, if you were an Idol judge, it sounds like you would be Simon. Actually, I like that he is blunt, why try to make someone feel good, when they really need to look elsewhere for a career.

10:12 PM  
Anonymous V-Grrrl said...

I've never seen American Idol, but this was hellacious (as in good) writing. Who cares about your voice? Wordgirl, you rock.

4:24 AM  
Blogger The Gradual Gardener said...

I don't watch American Idol because the judges are so mean! You know they got the really awful people on the show by initially telling them they were good. Sure, their parents' should have put a stop to it long ago, but it doesn't help when studio executives give them false hope!

4:59 AM  
Blogger Brooke said...

Hey you stole my blog topic! Well, it was going to be. Now I'll have to talk about Project Runway or something.

Oh well, you're far more adept at adequately describing Ms. Blue Eyeshadow 1985 than I ever could have been.

5:31 AM  
Blogger Katherine said...

Ack, thanks for the laughs! I watched the auditions last night, too, and was seriously scared by the guy who was OCD about wolves - WTF? I think the show is SO stupid yet I am so entertained by it - very messed up. I got here from your comments yesterday at Gradual Gardener - very funny!

6:36 AM  
Blogger Arabella said...

Maybe I should start watching American Idol. Your description was hilarious.

7:04 AM  
Anonymous TB said...

I always believed it was cruel of the producers to let the freaks and the really bad singers through just for the entertainment value. But then I remembered that these morons are more than happy to make asses of themselves for two minutes of air time on national television, so they deserve what they get.
Sorry to be a such and AI hater, but even the WINNERS of the show are so heinously bad, they give pop musica a bad name, not that I am a big fan of top 40 to begin with. Gah.

8:20 AM  
Blogger Tink said...

I hate American Idol. *Looks down guiltily* But I watch the first few episodes just for the thrill of seeing the rejects. The last guy they showed last night was my favorite... Praying to his saint and that God-awful jiggle he kept doing with his jaw while he sang? Oooh. He must have no friends. Friend don't let friends sing badly on public television.

Great post as usual!!

8:23 AM  
Blogger mama_tulip said...

OMG, Tink, Dave and I were crying last night watching that guy. Just. So. Painful.

10:38 AM  
Blogger mrtl said...

Brilliant! So does this mean you're going to be a regular watcher now?

11:38 AM  
Anonymous Hänni said...

Yeah Word Girl, come on, join me, mrtl and co in the Cult of Idol. You know you wanna.

We all knew Wolf Boy would suck before he even opened his pie hole. Anyone who aspires to be Clay Aiken, well they're likely a few fries short of a happy meal, if you know what I'm saying. If you don't I would illustrate it this way:

It's like the kid who picks up a cauliflower floret and goes "what's with the white broccoli?"

Your only response is to drop your jaw, take a big, deep breath and start screaming "YOU! Outta the gene pool!"

12:06 PM  
Blogger Nilbo said...

Yeah, I ... uh .. never watch American Idol either. It's just ... you know .. something that's kinda on when I'm channel suring and I sorta notice it but sure would never ummm watch it.

Just .. you know .. don't call me on Tuesday or Wednesday nights. I'm .. umm .. busy. Doing, like, laundry and stuff.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Are you serious about your voice? Didn't Stevie Nicks have a nasal sound? Don't try to change your voice. Just develop it. Remember Sinatra lost his beautiful voice after the forties, and he kept singing until the eighties or nineties, and what about Bob Dylan he never learned to sing though I think his Blood On The Tracks is one of the best albums ever made.

I do not understand the popularity of American Idol, but people loved wrestling in the 50s. It's just entertainment for people who want to relax, and do not need any kind of mental stimulation.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Mignon said...

Have you ever been to a karaoke bar where the patrons stay relatively sober and take their performances very seriously? High entertainment, there. I love watching 50-year-old men with trucker hats and greasy facial hair singing "Let's Get It On" in a bar in the middle of Montana.

3:37 PM  
Blogger Plain Jane said...

I think I watch for the sheer amusement factor of just how bad people are who truly believe they can sing! It's just sad, but so funny all at once.

5:51 PM  

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