For such a disappointing season, the post-finale time is proving to have a lot of… entertainment value. Of course, it’s the same kind of entertainment a trainwreck provides, so your mileage may vary.
An awful lot of ink and bandwidth has been spent discussing just how Kris won over the “favorite” Adam. I’ll be blunt: an awful lot of it is absurd nonsense.
The nonsense generally comes in two flavors. The first one is this whole idea that the only reason that Kris won was due to… homophobia. Milder versions of this will not say it’s homophobia, but blame it on the broader “Culture Wars” idea.
Let me be blunt about this. Suggesting that Adam lost due to homophobia is the most ridiculous idea I have ever heard. It tells a lot more about those who would say such a stupid thing. It tells the rest of us decent folk that they cannot imagine a situation where others can be wrong for reasons other than hatred and groupthink. In short, they are some sort of Cultural Elite who decide What Is Right And Proper. That, in turn, is an utterly despicable idea.
Those who blame Adam’s loss on the Culture Wars may not be that wrong-headed, but it’s a revealing moment as well. Being truly objective in news reporting is hard, but people should at least try. The people blaming the loss on the “Culture Wars” know, deep-down, they got blind-sided. The part of America they never paid real attention to, as it turned out, was pretty damn big. Blaming the loss on the “Culture Wars” betrays either the intellectual blinders too many people have, or the laziness that, in effect, made them to be little more than 19E stooges.
Adam Lambert didn’t lose much, if anything, this past Wednesday. One of the big losers was the big media, who all bought into the hype and ignored all evidence to the contrary. At the very least, people who pay attention will have… doubts. At worst, they’ll be regarded as complete and utter fools who don’t know what they’re talking about.
The other big loser was… the Idol producers. Yes, they may have found themselves two legitimate top-quality artists who will make them millions, but it came at an extreme cost: their credibility.
I’m not going to recap the whole tortured season here. You can read what I’ve written before for that, or the brilliant season review our friends at What Not to Sing put out here. Suffice to say that Season Eight saw unprecedented levels of producer manipulation – yet, in the end, all that power utterly, and completely, failed.
All that manipulation did was antagonize the long-suffering Idol fans. As a rule, we already aren’t predisposed to like 19E and Fox, based entirely on past behavior. Right now, though, Bernie Madoff could run Idol from his jail cell and be better trusted than the current crop.
In fact, you can argue that the manipulation made the show significantly worse – not just in angering fans, but making the singing significantly worse. Consider what was pointed out to me by my friends at WNTS: the bottom half of the finalists – Lil, Scott, Megan, Michael, Alexis, Jasmine, and Jorge – had a total of 23 performances in the finals. How many scored over 50? Two. One from Lil, another from Alexis. That’s it.
What that means is that the top thirteen – with the exception of Allison and Kris, the Accidental Finalists – had largely turned out to be busts. Consider, too, that there was a lot of good talent left in the group round. The end result was a top 13 that was anything but the best singers of Season Eight – and everyone knew it.
Then came two months of the typical overpraise of the pimped. Adam was a fine singer, true, but the judges made excuses for those that they did like. *ahem*Danny*ahem*
Meanwhile, the Accidental Finalists were singing pretty well. Despite the lack of pimpage, they stayed in. And they got their own fanbases. They tried to run over Kris in the top four, and utterly failed.
In the end, the manipulation not only made the show considerably worse, it failed, completely. Kris won, and by all accounts the hype machine that was Adam Lambert got flatenned. Not only that, when the iTunes numbers came out, it turned out that Kris was winning there too. Things were not as the producers had said they were.
Can anyone really believe anything they say now? As it stands, if you appended a not to anything 19E and Fox say, it’d be closer to the truth. Not only that, all the manipulation is antagonizing the fanbase.
There are shows that have loyal fanbases that worship the ground their creators and producers walk on. What’s rare, however, is a show with the polar opposite. Idol fans may love the show, but the producers? No. Just no.
How long until the fans take out their anger at the producers on the show itself? Maybe we’re already seeing that. The ratings are already off from last year. No show can survive for long without angry and disaffected fans – who eventually stop being fans. Yet that is exactly what Idol’s PTB are in the process of doing.
Indeed, for acts that were all their doing, the biggest losers of the season were the producers. Some people are wondering if this is the year Idol jumped the shark. It may well be worse. This may be the year the golden goose started dying.
Later this week: Our Season Post-Mortem, Part 3: Where We Go From Here.