Why American Idol Season 8 is already the worst

5 03 2009

NewsQuite simply, this is the worst American Idol thus far. I had expected so much, since this format had saved one of the best competitors ever, Clay Aiken, when they used it in Season 2. I have been let down, and not just by the judges, whose weird bias toward each contestant really had nothing to do with singing at all. I have been let down by the American people, who, more than any season ever before, have voted for inspirational stories over actual singing skills. This is not a choose-you-own-adventure TV drama. These are the people who will be selling CDs in your local Best Buy. No one ever buys music because the person was a stay-at-home mom or had a rough childhood.

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My top three women of the entire competition – we’re talking I may have wanted them all in the final six – did not even make the Wild Card round. That means they didn’t make the Top 17 (Nine are already in the Top 12, plus eight made it to the Wild Card round). In other words, cutting the Top 36 in half, my top three, Mishavonna Henson, Felicia Barton, and Kristen McNamara, were dropped.

On the semi-bright side, most of my top picks after them are still in it or being considered: Allison Iraheta, Lil Rounds, Megan Corkrey, Jesse Langseth, and Tatiana Del Toro (No one actually hates her for her voice). This season has already been dubbed a men’s season, but it was a self-fulfilling prophesy with no basis in actual talent. Vote out great female singers in favor of mediocre male singers like Michael Sarver and Scott McIntyre and you have a mediocre male-dominated season. Congratulations.

:::EDIT:::  Six of the now Top Thirteen were in my dream Top Twelve. That’s less than 50%. Fantabulous.

:::EDIT::: Matt Giraud, Ricky Braddy, Jasmine Murray, and Tatiana Del Toro annihilated the other four in the wild card round. Apparently, this performance had absolutely no bearing on the selection of the four moving on. I suppose the problem was that they couldn’t pick three more guys (having already picked six), so they left the arguably superior Ricky Braddy out in the cold, in favor of the Coldplay-destroying Matt and producer-favorite Anoop. Of course, they wouldn’t have run into this problem if Michael Sarver hadn’t been voted through for no apparent reason, so the blame still lies with voters, not the judges. Fantabulous squared.

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You can’t handle the truth

1 03 2008

NewsRecently, the Belgian author, Misha Defonseca, admitted that her best-selling auto-biographical work, Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years, is actually not auto-biographical at all. The story tells of her orphanhood during World War II, her adoption by a pack of wolves, and her slaying of a Nazi soldier in self defense. Many people had questioned the validity of the tale long before now, but anyone who had seen her in person and heard the tale as she told couldn’t do anything but believe.

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“This story is mine. It is not actually reality, but my reality, my way of surviving,” she has said. It is true that her parents will taken and killed by Nazis when she was a young child. She was forced to live with her adoptive uncle and grandfather, who treated her as the daughter of traitors. Her memoire is meant to recount her real story, perhaps in a metaphorical manner. “There were moments when I found it difficult to differentiate between what was real and what was part of my imagination.”

Her story reminds me of the acclaimed fantasy movie, Pan’s Labyrinth, about a mistreated girl in war-ravaged Spain escaping via her own imagination.

Personally, I think more people should write fictional works under the guise that they are non-fiction. For many people, this book was inspirational, poignant, and captivating. Why would we want to rob people of those? The only failing here was letting the guise fall. Misha had a rare chance to completely change the reality in which we all live. She had the power to change history as we know it and get away with it, for the good of all.

I truly believe that her determination to make this book auto-biographical deserves commendation. The dedication it must have taken to live your life as you wish it had been is unbelievable.

Unfortunately, now the only word that will continue to be used with this book is “fake.” I linked to the book on Amazon.com earlier in the post. Notice the first review reads “Too bad it’s not true,” and gives one star out of five. That is probably the worst reason to dislike a book I have heard in my entire life. Last time I checked, fictional does not equal worthless. Furthermore, the book can still be read as somewhat metaphorical non-fiction, although clearly most people can’t handle that. So the author made a mistake. Why can’t it be seen as a good mistake?

The most important thing is that the story comes from the author’s heart. Why can’t people find value in that?





Danny Noriega the real dark horse?

26 02 2008

NewsMany people have labeled the smiling and embarassingly humble David Archuleta as American Idol 7’s dark horse to win. What these people don’t seem to realize is that he is the front runner. Front runners can’t be dark horses. Furthermore, David Archuleta and the word “dark” can hardly be used in the same sentence without a negation somewhere.

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Danny Noriega, on the other hand, plays perfectly as a dark horse, perhaps not to go all the way to the end, but to last much longer than people expect him to. VoteForTheWorst.com has already started encouraging votes for Danny, labeling him as this season’s Sanjaya Malakar. We all know how well Sanjaya did after bombing performances week after week.

However, I think that Danny has the upper hand against Sanjaya. Though “Jailhouse Rock” didn’t show off his vocal skills, his previous auditions proved he has a voice with way more potential than Sanjaya ever had. He also has the bonus of being memorable for reasons other than just his hair. His remarks to the judges felt much more like amused banter than the result of spitfire attitude that some have labeled to him. In that way he’s oddly likable, albeit in a completely different way than David.

Personalities aside, David and Danny are alarmingly similar. Their names have similar rings to them and the same distributions of syllables: David Archuleta, Danny Noriega. They both auditioned in San Diego. They both have green eyes, dark brown hair, thin body frames, and somewhat childish faces. They are only a year apart in age.

It should be fairly obvious by now what I’m driving at. They are clearly the same person, separated into two halves: the light and the dark. David Archuleta has the smooth voice, the ever-smiling face, the innocent reactions to praise, and the vote of probably every pre-teen girl across the country. Danny, the “evil” twin, has the solid voice, the witty remarks, the audacity to retort to Simon, and probably the most femininity of the ten guys left.

I suppose this all makes David the “light horse” to win the competition, and perhaps rightfully so. It’s interesting to wonder what would have happened had someone with the un-separated personalities of Danny and David auditioned for American Idol, some Davy Archiega. It’s possible he would have been rejected for being far too normal. Year after year, we’ve seen the judges go for the polar opposites, the ones who stand out among the rest, not just with their voices, but with their personalities as well. Against all the odds, we managed to get two polar opposites of the same person in the same season, and both of them will go far.