Thursday, May 21, 2009

Idol's Last Hurrah

I will freely confess that I'm an American Idol fan. I don't really get into the audition freak show and I'm less than lukewarm about the elimination rounds, but once you get down into single digit players, I'm there every week.

Last night's finale was the best TV I've seen in years. There wasn't much suspense. The clear winner, Adam Lambert, only needed to fill the time until the crown and sceptor were his. During the two hour lead-up to the announcement, however, Idol's producers trotted out the most impressive line-up of major entertainment names that has been seen since anyone watched a full season of Ed Sullivan.

Queen Latifah on one side of the sandwich that contained Keith Urban, Fergie & the Black Eyed Peas, Carlos Santana, Rod Stewart, Lionel Ritchie, Kiss and topped off with Queen. It was power TV and it provided a duet showcase format for the new crop of finalists. If you didn't recognize the re-incarnation of Freddie Mercury in the final number, you weren't awake.

Then the announcement. OOooops! It's the cuddle-baby crooner from mid-America with no rough edges, Kris Allen. Safe, smooth, no danger, no controversy.

Here's a great take on the let-down:

Know Your Demographics

Is Adam gay? I'll give him the benefit of reasonable doubt--don't ask/don't tell for rock stars. I never held the vampire thing against Alice Cooper either. He was theatrical. He was showmanship and talent with a knife edge. He wasn't someone you would leave alone to babysit your thirteen year old daughter with unlimited texting on her cell phone. He'd be playing all our Black Sabbath records while she was redressing her Barbie doll collection.

The point is that the phrase used was "one hundred million votes were cast," not one hundred million people voted! Do the math. There are 300 million folks in America. Only around 25 million watch the show. Only a small percentage of them vote. But take it to the bank that of those that voted, the greatest group were those "tweeners" with texting adept fingers and little or no musical discernment.

What all of this means is that the future demographic for AI is going to be recognized even more firmly as the Sanjaya fans. We're going to see more bubble-gum and white bread doing Kara DioGuardia songs about hurricanes and mountains. The folks who are old enough to drive will probably go out to dinner on Idol night next season. Game over.

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