The instrument has yet to be invented that can measure my indifference to American Idol, although while enduring the millionth promo for tonight’s premiere during the football game last weekend, I found myself wondering what sort of silver bullet it might take to kill the show at some distant day. Newark Star-Ledger TV critic Alan Sepinwall thinks that the day might be nearer than anyone yet realizes, and that the bullet might be found in yesterday’s announcement of Simon Cowell’s departure from the show after this season to do an American edition of his British X Factor show for Fox.
Since I’ve started doing adult-contemporary radio again, I’ve been exposed to several Idol winners and runners-up in the radio environment. Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood (more precisely, whoever produces them) have got a gift for finding hooks, and Daughtry is a lot more interesting than your average Idol contestant. But recent Idol hits from Jordin Sparks (the interminable “No Air”) and David Cook (the derivative power ballad “The Time of My Life”) are forgettable, and the most recent winner, Kris Allen, can’t buy a hit of any sort. Even Adam Lambert, who’s gotten more publicity than any recent Idol contestant, hasn’t turned it into anything but TV time yet. It seems clear that Idol‘s record of making stars is spotty at best, and it ain’t what it used to be.
As I understand it, X Factor, which replaced the original British Idol show on which American Idol is based, is not qualitatively different from Idol, and Sepinwall wonders whether Fox is watering down the Idol franchise by putting it on while Idol lives. Another question is whether Idol will still be Idol without Cowell. As Sepinwall rightly notes, it will be tough for Fox to find another designated asshole (my term, not Sepinwall’s) to be mean to contestants the way Cowell is. But since American TV networks never kill a goose while it’s still laying eggs that are remotely golden, it’s unlikely that Fox would dump Idol in favor of X Factor, even if there are perfectly justifiable reasons for doing so.
(And there’s 300+ words about a show I’ve never watched and don’t care about. Welcome to a blogger’s thought process, everybody.)
Other News: The blog police have claimed another victim. Any Major Dude With Half a Heart disappeared from the Intertubes this morning, “archived or suspended for a violation” of the WordPress terms of service, although it’s back up here as of right now. AMD speculates that his recent rant about Bono had something to do with it, although I’m skeptical of that myself. Anybody who posts a large volume of music—be it entire albums or large collections of tracks—is likely to attract attention from artists, labels, or their agents. Which is why I stick to single tracks out here in this dusty corner of the web. Nevertheless, I’m making sure I’ve got my blog files backed up to an offline location.
Recommended Reading: With a couple of child advocacy groups arguing that the NFL should dump the Who from this year’s Super Bowl halftime because of Pete Townshend’s 2003 child porn arrest, I decided to look into the details of the case at WNEW.com.