Friday, February 23, 2007

At Top are the Women the Idol Judges Loved. Below Them are the Women the Idol Judges Hated.

I'm just saying.


Dec said...

WOW.. was it that obvious? I watched most of the show, but didn't notice such a stark contrast.

Inferred racial biases aside, I find it interesting that the judges (loopy-ass Paula aside) can so scathingly revile singers who, in earlier rounds, they themselves selected! Makes one wonder just how qualified they are to evaluate vocal talent in the first place.

Thanks for making such an insightful observation.

Michael Markowitz said...

You're right on. Their outrage at the singers before them is hilarious. Like Judge Seidlin moaning that he hopes Anna Nicole is buried next to her son. (Gee, if only there were some way he could have made that happen)

I think the judges are very talented (loopy-ass Paula aside), and that they are anything but racist. But there is a subtle bias built into the competition. Obviously someone who sings a quiet Sarah McLachlan or Bonnie Raitt song, especially in the beginning of the season when they're unpolished, is taking a huge chance, and will find it difficult to "wow" the judges.

Especially since a Fauxretha like Fantasia or Lakisha can come out and sing a money-in-the-bank, flash-and-sizzle showstopper that is 100% in their wheelhouse. (And I am telling you that Lakisha has undoubtedly performed "And I Am Telling You" MANY times before in her career.)

By the time you get to the final weeks the performers are so good that a Katherine McPhee, for example, can sing "Over the Rainbow" and knock 'em dead. But she was no match for the big soul sound that kicks a crowd. (And sales have told the tale: Kelly Clarkson and Katherine McPhee have done well, while Fantasia and Taylor Hicks have done notso-hotso.) What impresses the Idol judges (and Verizon's down-south base) might be out of touch with the public-at-large.

There's another layer of bias that's more insidious. Ryan hit on it when he asked the judges why they tell some contestants to "take a chance" and others to "stick to what they do well." I was astonished they denied it... that inconsistency is as much a trademark of theirs as the word "dawg."

But the thing that gets to me is the way contestants who sing country-style every week are always criticized for "always sounding the same, staying in their comfort zone"... but gospel divas who make every song sound the same are congratulated for "taking the song and making it your own." Huh?

peeky said...

does randy still use the expression "dog" quite often, i.e., with please-commit-me-to-the-nearest-maximum-security-loony-
bin-asap regularity? thx.

Michael Markowitz said...

I believe you mean "dawg" and the answer is yes. Sometimes he uses it almost exclusively: "Dawg, dawg, dawg, know what I'm sayin'? Just keepin' it real, Dawg." Randy, use your words!

Also, if the first thing he or Paula says to you after your song is "How do you think it went?" you might as well kill yourself right then and there.