Why They Let Kelly
Some guy at The
Onion wrote "A shattered nation longs to care about stupid
and while The Onion induces a short-lived chuckle only once in
a great while nowadays, sometimes they get it right (while not
being particularly funny).
At long last,
we do, we really really do care about the smelliest, stickiest
bullshit again, and it's all due to American
that altar to the worst kind of pop-music consumerism, to which
we'll sacrifice our first-born sons and daughters in utmost thanksgiving.
on analyzing this (for lack of a better word) "shit,"
harping on and on about the decline of originality in popular
it did over the course of this show, for who didn't recognize
the implications when millions of viewers watched as the so-called
"rocker girls" were forced by Top 40 Darwinism to attempt
to become pop divas, thinking "change or die" all the
while (with the judges rah-rahing their conversion at every step).
Talk about your public declarations of the death of Rock n' Roll...
and snot all over the place about American Idol's "hosts,"
radio d00d Ryan Seacrest (an all too desperate TV personality
with an all too SoCal handle) and would-be funnyman Brian Dunkelman,
who refused to cluck like a chicken but didn't care that
he embarrassed himself on this show week after week, so that
even the worst try-outs by the sickest of singers took second
place to his biweekly presence on my television, thereby inching
out his co-host to win the not-coveted "Worst TV Personality
of the Year" award...
I, hanging from my consumer cross and bleeding taste
and expletives, begin my harangue about the utter cynicism of
the judges, who often pointed to their sacrificial lambs (doing
their oh-so best to be their most generic popular selves) as
"examples" to which all would-be sellout singers should
aspire. Of course they're saying such shit -- two of the judges
are music industry executives who need to control the sounds we hear on the
radio in order to make a profit for their respective companies...
one person attempted to put Simon in his place, wondering aloud
about this guy who had no musical talent of his own but had the
wherewithal to "judge" performances so harshly. Simon
simply shrugged and said it was "his job," never letting
us know that his job consisted of being an executive at BMG -- the same corporation,
by the way, that awards the winner of American Idol with
a recording contract. Simon's protecting his employer's investment.
Duh! But it's not good mojo if you know that, because
you might wonder about the whole wicked process that creates
bulk pop music, so instead he takes the abuse.
the revelation of the Perpetual Marketing Machine, that holy
grail of marketing agencies and departments, long sought after:
the product that sells another product which then pushes the
original product, ad infinitum...
Let me just say,
thank god Kelly won tonight.
No, really. I
was nervous Justin would take it. Sure, the kid's an alright guy
-- a little cocky, but for all that he was the decent sort, and
as much as I, by very nature, want to rip on him, I can't. Justin
was earnest and really did what he could to win without being
too much of an ass. But despite his stage presence, he couldn't
match the strength or range of Kelly's voice (who, by the way,
is hot and thus my girlfriend now).
But Justin had
the preteen girl vote, the #1 target market of bulk pop music
nowadays. And no matter what FOX says about the "public's
vote," we all know that, had BMG simply wanted that preteen
market, Justin would have won hands down.
happened over the summer, and American Idol became the
#1 show of the summer, drawing millions of viewers and voters
from all kinds of markets, er... backgrounds.
Why was Kelly
allowed to win?
BMG, FOX and
all the other players involved saw an opportunity to reach beyond
their initial target market -- a fleeting, vacuous, one-hit wonder
(and therefore hard to develop) market at best. They saw an opportunity
to establish their Perpetual Marketing Machine upon a nation
of people desperate to care for stupid bullshit again.
So here comes
American Idol II, which will probably be here midwinter
of this year. Then look out for American Idol: Hawaiian Adventure
Luau, followed by American Idol: Boston Punk and American
Idol: Christian Rock and American Idol in Space. This
stuff will be around for at least three, maybe four years, AKA
"forever" in TV Land.
(You know, BMG
will probably snap up Justin and make big bucks off all those
preteen girls' parents anyway. But I like my theory.)
September 4, 2002
PS: Like pop? Check out
PARTING GLANCE, an up and coming group out of San Francisco
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