Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Our very long national nightmare is over

I think every year at some point during American Idol, I use the line "our long national nightmare is over" after a results show--but the nightmare was never as big as it was this year. Sanjaya should have been eliminated during the round of 24, and yet ended up lasting until the final seven. But as I've said a number of times in the last few weeks, every year there is a contestant that inexplicably stays around much longer than they should--usually because of their appeal to young girls--but eventually is voted out well before the competition really gets serious. And that happened once again tonight.

Ironically, Sanjaya became the most discussed person on the show because he had a little charisma among a group of contestants that are mostly charisma-challenged. And of course because of the Vote for the Worst/Howard Stern "Vote for Sanjaya" campaign.I've been a Howard fan for 15 years, but I thought this whole crusade he was on was just stupid. He had started to say in recent weeks that he wanted to ruin the show, and I wasn't exactly sure why. He's been a fan of it since the first season and talked about it incessantly for years, and Simon, Randy and Paula have appeared on his show multiple times. It seemed like it was just some kind of stunt to get Howard some publicity now that he's on satellite radio--and it certainly worked--but I'm glad it's over. I'm sure he did have an effect--certainly more of an effect than Vote for the Worst did on its own, but in the end, it probably motivated more people to vote for everyone else this week. The ratings are down somewhat this year from last year, and yet Ryan said they had the highest ever vote totals for the round of seven. That can't be a coincidence.

I'm sure tomorrow morning Howard and the guy from Vote for the Worst will be accusing the Idol producers of disregarding the vote and just getting rid of Sanjaya because they felt like it. This puts Idol producers in a catch-22. Howard would say this whenever Sanjaya would have been voted off, and Howard probably wouldn't believe the numbers if they provided them. But I will say this--Idol could probably only be helped by releasing the actual vote totals and being transparent. If somehow that's a result of this whole Sanjaya thing, it actually might have helped the show.

I doubt AI producers will do that, though, because they're too arrogant. They don't care. And the whole show can take itself too seriously at times (Idol Gives Back, anyone?) But when it comes right down to it, in the long run that's not as important as the fact that American Idol, for all its faults and cheesiness at times, is just an entertaining, enjoyable show that millions of people enjoy because they can come home after a tough day at work and just enjoy without thinking too hard. And what's so wrong with that? That's why the threats to "ruin" the show left me so cold. (And looking back at this last paragraph, I'm probably taking all this too seriously and need to lighten up--but I just wanted to say that.)

As for the rest of the show: I'm willing to believe that Simon really didn't hear what Chris said about Virginia Tech, but that video they showed (with Chris in the inset and Simon in the foreground) raised more questions for me than it answered. Anyone else have the same reaction?

That song Fergie sang wasn't very good, but at least she didn't sing "Fergilicious" or "Glamorous" (which we did hear in the commercial immediately following her song). I find those songs incredibly annoying, and yet every time I hear them I can't get them out of my head for days.

Can they stop pulling that "pick which group is the top 3 and go stand by it" trick? It's cruel to the person that they make do it, and like Bo two years ago, for the second time someone has refused to act as their trained monkey and pick a side. Good for Melinda. I wish the producers could be punished for their idiocy, though.

And I'm willing to put up with a lot of filler on the results show--group sings, Martina McBride's daughter being interviewed (Martina's song was pretty boring, too), etc. But basically doing a five minute commercial for Shrek using the Idols--that's where I draw the line. And I couldn't really understand what Antonio Banderas was saying, but didn't he say the movie was coming out in June, after they put up something on the screen that said May?

But I shouldn't be so angry--it's been a good night. We don't have Sanjaya to kick around anymore.



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