Capital Entertainment // 2002 // 360 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Bromley // March 1st, 2006
Dare to dream.
Just between you and me, I don't think American Idol is going away. I thought it might, two or three seasons ago. Like most reality TV trends, I thought it would die out as the incomprehensibly fickle American public lost interest in what's essentially a glammed-up Star Search. That hasn't happened yet, and I'm beginning to lose hope that it's going to. The country doesn't seem to care that the show is the exact same from week to week, season to season. They don't seem to care that it doesn't really produce the Next Big Thing in music (Kelly Clarkson, the show's biggest breakout star, really only became one after severing all ties -- and I tend to think that she was going to make it with or without this show). In fact, the outcome doesn't seem to matter at all. The show is the star. It's grown bigger than all of us, and there's not an end in sight.
I'm not going to organize my thoughts on American Idol into neat, cohesive little paragraphs. I can't. There's nothing neat or cohesive about this stupid phenomenon. All I can do, then, is attempt to describe my state of mind as I wade through Capital Entertainment's release of The Best and Worst of American Idol.
That's right! It's time for another "notes-only" review!
* :45 seconds in and I already can't write fast enough.
* Producer Ken Winick has the secret to American Idol's success: "America is in control." I'm reminded that more people vote for this show than for the President. This explains so much.
* 2:30: The first appearance of "Scooter Girl." Something tells me it won't be the last.
* Paula Abdul looks different in every shot. Simon Cowell, on the other hand, is remarkably consistent. Randy Jackson is melting.
* Keith, the guy doing the horrible rendition of "Like a Virgin," might be the first contestant on the show to realize that coming through as a goof will get him on TV. It worked, and now the rest of us are paying for it.
* What is it about this show that attracts psychotics?
* I know everyone thinks the "auditions" are the best part of the show, but this audition montage confirms what the wife has been suggesting -- now in its fifth season, can we conclude that one bad singer is the same as the next?
* 8:50 -- The first appearance of William Hung, a nice young man that the nation felt good about ridiculing for a while. Because we're so much better.
* Josh Grayson, the military guy/country singer, bores me. He is not alone.
* Watching some of this footage after hearing the stories about Paula Abdul and former contestant Corey Clark (which was, to be fair, never proven true) makes it look as though she wants to do at least half of the boy contestants. Straight up.
* Are people buying the DVD for real? Like, no irony or anything?
* I like Simon Cowell. I do. I just wish he would expand his vocabulary beyond "awful," "dreadful," and "worst." He could be the funniest guy on TV if he could just be a little more creative.
* 14:00 -- I don't know if this contestant is a boy or a girl. I'm not being funny.
* Paula Abdul threatening to quit the show makes me smile. This is the best thing to happen to her since dancing with a cartoon cat.
* Compiled together like this, American Idol is actually beginning to look a lot like a show that exists to display Paula Abdul's never-ending supply of bad hats. The singing is just incidental.
* Look! The original auditions of the finalists! Now we can look back at a time when household names like Justin Guarini and Diana DeGarmo were still obscure!
* Kelly Clarkson was once incredibly cute and charming. Now she's not as charming. And sometimes I hate myself for really liking that "Since You Been Gone" song. I'm not being funny.
* I'm serious. Paula Abdul never looks the same.
* Kelly Clarkson's quote following her audition: "I was so happy the British man didn't make me cry." I'm back in love with her. Let's never fight again, KC.
* Clay Aiken's audition confirms that homosexuality is not a choice.
* This DVD has all of my favorite performances! Like "Get Here" by Justin Guarini! You know, the guy from From Justin to Kelly! His name is in the title!
* Kicking off the lovely and talented Tamyra Gray was a good call, USA. Although, she'll probably succeed without the show, so maybe she is better off. I need to stop caring even a little.
* Kelly Clarkson's winning moment and subsequent performance of the disgusting "A Moment Like This." The last genuinely sweet moment this show would know is interrupted by a shot of the cast of MAD TV in the audience. Crying. I can't make this stuff up.
* All kidding aside -- what's up with Paula Abdul?
* Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken, and Kimberly Locke do a medley of "Up Where We Belong" and "Solid as a Rock." This is a bad show, and hearing "Rock" makes me want to watch my DVDs of Arrested Development. Which reminds me, the girl from that bit used to be on MAD TV. She wasn't in the audience crying, though.
* There is far too much FOX in my life.
* How are these people supposed to succeed professionally when they're forced to release some of the worst singles in the history of pop music? "Fly Without Wings"? What the hell is that? And what's so special about flying without wings? Superman does it all the time. And isn't Smallville on in half an hour?
* Fantasia Barrino's performance of "Summertime" is pretty outstanding, making it only the second noteworthy moment in the series' five-year run. Is anyone surprised when she defeats the 16 year-old?
* Paula's orgasmic faces during an otherwise cute video segment with Simon frighten and repulse me, all but undoing any of the adolescent pants-stirring caused by her "Cold Hearted Snake" video.
* The first appearance of Brian Dunkleman! A name more obscure than Diana DeGarmo! Oscar to Seacrest's Felix! Riggs to his Murtaugh! He's the Pete Best of American Idol!
* Paula declares her perspective is unique because "she's an artist." She does this with a straight face, conveniently forgetting that period where she danced with the cartoon cat.
* My head is going to explode.
* In some respects, the show has come a long way. Production value, for one. And talent, I guess.
* Contestant R.J. Reynolds confirms that homosexuality is not a choice.
* Tamyra Gray is eliminated in favor of throaty-shouty white trash/punk chick Nikki McKibben. In other news, Bush is re-elected.
* I can't believe I'm not yet one-third of the way through.
* Season Two's addition of a "confession booth," where contestants can record messages following their auditions, allows these hopefuls to demonstrate just how uninteresting they really are.
* Clay Aiken gets through on a "second chance" vote. PHEW!!
* I'm being serious, now. Was Paula Abdul ever a crack whore?
* I can't believe the people I'm looking at on my TV were ever in the public consciousness.
* The first appearance of Corey Clark, followed by the announcement that he's been kicked out for having not disclosed his criminal record. If shagging Paula Abdul is a crime, then PUT ME IN JAIL!! I've never actually shagged her, though.
* Ruben Studdard wins. Then crawls under a rock. A very large rock. Stonehenge, maybe.
* I've decided that Ryan Seacrest has the easiest job on TV -- and this is in a world where both Nancy O'Dell and Bill O'Reilly both exist.
* Unattractive people don't really seem to get far on American Idol. Thanks, Chuck Darwin.
* Simon tells the pink-haired Amy Adams (not the cute and talented one from Junebug, but the one you've never heard of before or since) that she looks like Jay Leno. He's right and it's funny.
* If I could put my finger on the one thing that seems to be missing from Season Three's lineup, I would have to say "talent."
* Simon Cowell promises the winner "fame, talent, and a lot of money." First of all, how can you promise someone "talent"? Isn't that like promising them "sincerity"? Either you have it or you don't. Besides, the last I heard, I think Fantasia Barrio was singing on a cruise ship. I'm not being funny.
* Carrie Underwood sings the National Anthem at what appears to be a county fair. All of her dreams are coming true!
* Paula also hosts the "Worst of" disc, which is strangely fitting. Because she once danced with a cartoon cat, see?
* Okay, so this disc consists entirely of people we know are bad being bad while we laugh at them for being bad. Someone call Chuck Barris -- this is nothing more than a rip-off of The Gong Show.
* Rather than sit here for an hour and watch material that's this negative, talentless, and unentertaining, I'd like to watch a Troma movie. At least there'd be some artistry to it.
* Who would possibly get all the way through The Best and Worst of American Idol if they didn't have to review it?
* Okay, don't laugh. Is something wrong with Paula Abdul? Does she have family we can contact?
* One bad singer is the same as the next.
* I continue to wish Simon Cowell was wittier, because he seems awfully impressed with the lame lines he does come up with.
* Hey! Here's a contestant that's kind of retarded. Let's laugh at him.
* I love that LL Cool J is a guest judge. Is he really a singer?
* I love that Mark McGrath, of rock band Sugar Ray, is a guest judge. Is he really a singer?
* I love that Kenny Loggins is a guest judge.
* I know it's a reality show, and I should take it for what it's worth, but I'm amazed at how dishonest the editing is at times.
* What is it about this show that attracts psychotics?
* Randy Jackson's quote to a hopeful contestant: "It's as if a ghost could sing." This is officially the funniest thing I've heard all month.
* I've seen this contestant before. He's Christopher Noll (or "Chris Wylde," as he sometimes goes by), and he appeared in Coyote Ugly and on Film Fakers. He's a professional actor, which proves that people come through as a stunt to make their friends laugh. I guess it works -- he's now immortalized on DVD.
* Look! These people are crying! This is so funny! I'm having so much fun watching them crying from the comfort of my home!
* I like how Simon Cowell consistently says "I'm being serious." Because we always assume he's kidding.
* Every time someone is asked "why are you here?" (and they're asked a lot -- Seacrest seems to have a limited bag of tricks), they answer without fail "To be the next American Idol!" Just once, I want someone to respond with "I thought you guys had hot dogs here."
* Simon Cowell tells a 5-year old he doesn't like his singing. This is why he's great.
* We don't actually get to see a number of people singing on these DVDs (I'm assuming because the rights couldn't be secured), so we're not even watching people singing badly -- we're just watching people being told that they sing badly. Great entertainment.
* I could watch Greek pretty-boy rocker Constantine Maroulis be interviewed all day. I don't want to, but I could.
* What is it about this show that attracts psychotics?
Capital Entertainment releases The Best and Worst of American Idol as a three-disc, "Limited Edition" package. Both the first two discs are nothing more than reissues of two previous releases -- The Best of American Idol and The Worst of American Idol, respectively. That means that only the third disc contains any actual new content, and that consists of nothing more than a handful of interviews with Season Four's participants and one extended sit-down with Paula Abdul (the only "cast member" of the show that seems to be involved with this release). The program is presented in its original full frame television aspect ratio, with a picture that's reasonably sharp and a more than capable stereo audio track; in the case of a disc like this, the less you can hear the better.
There are a bunch of extras listed within the disc menus, but I'm going to disagree with that title -- when there's no real feature program, isn't it all extra content? All three discs are broken up into short segments, ranging from 2 to 20 minutes. What's the difference between regular content and bonus content?
So, what's the Verdict? Who cares? This collection, like American Idol itself, is critic-proof. People who obsess over the show, who buy the lame CD compilations, who go see the "Idols on Tour" concerts, are going to buy the disc, and their interests are well served here. No one else will give a damn. You know which camp you belong to.
Review content copyright © 2006 Patrick Bromley; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Capital Entertainment
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 360 Minutes
Release Year: 2002
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Carrie Underwood Sings the National Anthem
* Kelly Clarkson Interview
* Kelly Clarkson Platinum Album Presentation
* Photo Galleries
* "Changes" Montage
* "Proud Mary" Montage
* "America the Beautiful" Montage
* "Dance, Dance, Dance" Montage
* "Fashion Faux Pas" Montage
* "Christmas Songs" Montage
* William Hung "She Bangs" Performance
* Bonus Trailers
* Official Site
* Episode Guide