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
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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• I'm serious. Paula Abdul never looks the
• 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
• 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
• My head is going to explode.
• In some
respects, the show has come a long way. Production value, for one. And talent, I
• 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
• I can't believe I'm not yet one-third of the way
• 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.
• I'm being serious, now. Was Paula Abdul ever a crack
• 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.
• 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.
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
• 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.
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.
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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
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.