Thursday, February 28, 2008

Feelin' Randy

I have been known to occasionally put down the Wiimote and pay attention to Ans. If she’s not around, and I’m too tired to wander around the Galaxy, I watch TV. I live with three other people, and being the considerate roommate, I always make time for Apartment Shows. There is a short list of shows that appeal to the entire apartment: How I Met Your Mother, Mythbusters, and House. But every January, a show comes along that lifts us from our Seasonal Affective Disorder and makes us squeal with joy: American Idol.

For the most part, I despise reality television that isn’t on the Discovery Channel. I feel most shows like Real World and Ans’ favorite, America’s Top Model, are examples of what’s wrong with our society. A bunch of people preoccupied with their looks generating unnecessary drama while competing for fame and money. For the most part, reality television stars have little talent or redeeming personalities. That kind of television is like McDonald’s to me. Occasionally I find myself indulging in it and afterwards I am repulsed with myself.

Idol is different. Sort of. Yes it’s exploitive, especially the first weeks of city-to-city tryouts where you see the bizarre, delusional, and comically inept. That’s fun for a while, but then you get to the really talented top 24 and it gets really interesting. Some of these kids really have pipes. In between the cheesy group performances and the sappy personal pieces, there are some amazing performances. Every now and then someone drops a performance that gives you a tingly feeling all over, and that’s what I tune in for every week.

But don’t get me started on how much I hate the results shows. What could be done in 5 minutes gets drawn out into wasting a half hour of my life a week. All the stupid drama built up by FOX makes me want to watch fewer of their shows. They do this shit all the time, especially with that dumbass Moment of Truth show. (It’s bad enough that show is degrading, but it is excruciatingly drawn out. They must tell the contestants to look thoughtful and wait before giving their answers, even when the question is clear: “Were you anally probed by hairy, orange aliens on the planet Neekto?” <20> “False.” No shit? Christ.) Interestingly, last week I was commenting to the roommates that just once I would like to see Seacrest get right to it and say, “You, come up here. You’re done. Go home.” Then out of nowhere, C-Crest took the Peter Frampton wannabe up on stage first and booted him out. It was lovely.

The only personnel constant in the last seven years has been the judges (and Seacrest, but I don’t count him as a person). Most of the time I think the judges are spot on, and it really upsets me that they get booed so much (Paula doesn’t get booed, but her sickeningly sweet, useless feedback ought to). Simon gets booed all the time, but 98% of the time, he’s dead on with his critique. Simon’s problem is that despite being correct, no one listens to him because he’s a stuck-up ass. Paula’s problem is that everyone listens to her because she’s so nice, but what she says often has no value. Enter Randy Jackson, feedback-giver extraordinaire and legendary bassist for Journey. Randy is my dogg, and an near perfect example of how to give constructive criticism. First, Randy doesn’t hide his feelings (though he should hide this). When he’s pleased with a performance, you can see it on his face, so you know what’s coming. Secondly, he starts out by saying something positive about what he saw and heard, which puts the singer in a mental space that’s open to hearing critique. Third, he usually gives negative critique in a way that is specific and absent of attitude. Finally, he also usually gives suggestion on how to improve. The only problem I can see with Randy is that not everyone can pick up what he’s puttin down cause he throwin so much slang in there, dogg. Sometimes I gotta translate what he’s speakin to my roommates in the hizzy. Sometimes I feel like Ms. Cleaver from Airplane! You feelin’ me?

That pretty much covers why I dig Idol and why Randy Jackson is my hero. And if you’re wondering who’s my favorite idol, it’s Kelly. She was my first, and your first always has a special spot. Plus her name is one of the best exclamations ever.

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