Thursday, February 01, 2007

Is Paula Being Replaced? (American Idol 6 review)

Face it, the Birmingham and LA auditions were duller than Becker reruns from a contestant standpoint. Who's really going to get excited about Kellie Pickler 2.0, the young lady with the t-shirt that said "blue-eyed blonde bombshell" right around the place where male eyes were most likely to arc and the backstory that seemed lifted from Queen for a Day. It went something like, "I just want to buy my grandmother a one story house because my father shot my lying-cheating stepmother then shot himself."
It also turns out that Jamie Lee had tried out previously without the back story.Apparently the story is quite true though and it is very sad, but if she wasn't good enough without the back story then...

They did dig up an interesting contestant in Chris Sligh. He had non-Idol looks,joked about David Hasselhoff, and could sing just enough to sell the package. He's also a blogger and had you Googled him just after the Tuesday show, you might have had a chanceto read about this being his third attempt at Idol, his ambitions to be a Christian rock star,etc. One of the great past times of Idol fandom is to try to track down myspace pages and websites for contestants before the show makes them shut it down. Chris Sligh's now closed blog on his AI experiences pre-last week detailed how he'd been working on a "persona" and even suggested nicknames for himself to get himself noticed. I got a glimpse of the man behind the curtain and have to say "Sorry Mr. Al Franken lookalike."

Still, contrived or not, it was just nice to see someone in the auditions who could be funny without playing the fool.

The Los Angeles auditions were even worse. The only thing I'll remember was Sherman Pore,the sixty four year old man with the petition and the barbershop quartet voice. Funny, how Idol slipped in this "kinder-gentler" interlude after their failed Seattle parody of the Ringer .

Otherwise, after about the five millionth crazy tone deaf person, the differences stop mattering. You've seen one middle-aged lady in a yellow bird suit, you've seen them all.

The single most interesting thing about Idol this week had little to do with any of the contestants. If the show had any pulse it came from the subtext about Paula Abdul. They spent half the Birmingham audition doing extra closeups of Paula making odd faces, wandering the room, and dropping in loopy comments. In the second half, she abruptly disappears to go home to LA to take care of unspecified family matters. In the meantime, a story comes through via Courtney Love's publicist that the show has approached his client about possibly replacing Paula Abdul as a judge. Yeah, that makes sense. Paula Abdul is acting unstable so we're bringing in Courtney Love. Not only does the widow Cobain have a better documented history of substance abuse, she's also one of the few well known singing celebrities who maybe sings worse than Paula Abdul.

A couple days later, Nigel Lythgoe denied the story and Courtney Love's publicist apparently admitted that it might have been a hoax. Talk about CIA disinformation campaigns. They managed to damage both Paula and Courtney's reputation with one story, get the show even more publicity, and seemingly endorse Paula all at once. Of course, whenever sports team owners say they back their coach or manager a hundred percent, we all know what happens next.

Last year, rumor had it that Paula was going to be replaced by Brittney Spears or Jessica Simpson. The year before that, it was Corey Clark's claim that Paula had dresesd him for private judging sessions. Wasn't this the plot of the movie Network? The crazier Peter Finch behaved, the more the ratings jumped. At some point, you just know they're going to interrupt maybe one of the Wednesday night results shows to stage a full on intervention with Paula. Maybe they could have the doctor from House lead the intervention for the ultimate tie in.

I've personally avoided the tv interview footage where Paula had to tell the press "Ive never been drunk in my life." I rather like following tabloid stories, but if Paula's actually sick in some way even if self-induced, I find watching it in youtubed glory too ghoulish. If she really has some condition that's either medical or self-medicated, the producers need to step forward and handle it in humane fashion by giving her a leave of absence, making sure she gets treatment, etc. Otherwise, we're in full-on Circus Maximus mode. I don't find watching someone self-destruct entertaining unless it's Rush Limbaugh who I understand was putting together a boy band in the Dominican a few months ago.

btw, Did Olivia Newton John say anything interesting the other night? "Let's get critical, critical." Do I remember any pieces of Jewel's commentary from the first week? I could argue that Paula seems like Roger Ebert compared to those two guest judges.

It did strike me that auditioning for judges might be far more fun than more hours of auditioning singers. Should they replace Paula (come to think of it why not trade her to Dancing with the Stars?) most people think it needs to be another woman. I'd argue that at the rate Simon's boobs are growing, if they wait a season or two that might not be so necessary. He is, after all, the guy who keeps making drag queen comments. Is Simon trying to tell us something? Anyway, let's restrict the possibilities to the definite females. Sorry Ru Paul, you would have been terrific. Here are some candidates.

1) Oprah- unbelievable synergy from the Harpo productions and 19E. Oprah music club, AI magazine, Oprah hour long specials with the last four finalists.

2)Cher- she once had the number one show on television. She could match toughness with Simon. During auditions, they could have endless variations on Cher impersonators. Who better to talk about performing attitude, etc?

3)Madonna-you know I was going to make some jokes about this one, but might actually be really interesting. Her last tour did a bit too well though for this to actually happen.

4)Condaleeza Rice- knows music very well. would give the show an air of class and to be honest, I'd rather have her in this job than her current one.

5)Faith Hill- no one on the panel knows country. She could tell stories about her family to make the judges seem a bit more wholesome.

6) Alanis Morissette-would give the judging panel a more contemporary edge. Capable of the ironic commentary in this context that could be genuinely fascinating with all these jagged little pills thrown Simon's way.

I'm sure there are even better possibilities out there. I should say that I'm perfectly happy having Paula Abdul as one of the judges as long as she's healthy and I won't speculate about that. What I would say is that the sad thing is that far more people will talk about Paula leaving the show than will talk about the loss of one of the best judges of our culture we'll ever know, Molly Ivins. Now you want to talk about a real American Idol.

Other Chancelucky Idol Reviews

Sir Linksalot American Idol articles



At 2/02/2007 01:52:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe Molly can haunt GB2, the Hallucinator, & DC, the Darthinator.

One has the appalling feeling that if we could spend some of the $820,000 per minute we're spending on the Military-Industrial Budget and the additional $216,000 per minute we spend on the platinum-plated rubble in Iraq on cancer research, we might not have to lose the Mollys so long before their time. Stinks.

At 2/02/2007 09:51:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

I'd meant to write something about Molly Ivins passing, but she haunted the Shrub in life, I imagine it'll continue.

I remember reading Bushwhacked and how clearly she broke down the dismantling of the ergonomic regulations by the Bush administration and the mysteries of the meat inspection standards. Clear, concise, simple anecdotes that anyone who wanted to understand could. I wish I could do that.

At 2/02/2007 11:44:00 AM, Blogger None said...

omg.. that photo.. talk about a wardrobe malfunction.

At least with Irvins passing, her writting has been all over the news. I, for one, have enjoyed hearing and reading about her life and times.

At 2/02/2007 11:50:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

I think Cher probably has some sort of lifetime achievement award when it comes to wardrobe malfunctions.

As I understand it, Molly Ivins last public act was to rally opposition to the escalation in Iraq.


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