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Five points from an outsider:

1) Logic would surely dictate that the standard of American Idol would be much better than that of its UK equivalents, The X Factor and Pop Idol. Roughly speaking, there are 309 million people in the US and just 60 million in the UK – surely a country with five times as many people will have five times as many brilliant singers, and ergo, would be five times as likely to have a seriously world-class talent? Apparently not; we shouldn’t forget that Leona Lewis was a complete fluke, but the fact remains that AI hasn’t even come close to producing anything on her level. Not even Kelly Clarkson is comparable; she survives by having great songwriters and producers, not a great voice. Even taking the average ability of the contestants into account, the only reason the US have the upper hand on the UK is because we, as a nation of cynical, hate-filled piss-takers, are obliged to field one complete joke every year. Take them out of the equation and we stack up. We probably shouldn’t.

2) I sure am thankful to be watching a singing competition that doesn’t have Jedward in it, mind.

3) What the hell is with all the guitars? Is there some sudden obsession with a pre-conceived notion ‘authenticity’ on this show, or has it always been this way? In the UK at least, the show has always been happy to embrace its gleefully vapid nature, but the US and their contestants are much more ambiguous about what they want to be. It’s not even as if any of them can really play the thing – the big fat one, especially, can’t even seem to change from one barre chord to another without stopping and looking down to make sure he’s doing it right. Even the haircuts scream ‘take me seriously!’ – the girls are more Ani DiFranco than Britney Spears. Is this a response to the show’s critics, or is America just one big dumb college chick who’s impressed by the sight of a guitar even if the douchebag frat boy holding it can’t play a note?

4) The celebrity mentors seem to have a much more hands-on role in the US – at first. Each contestant is shown rehearsing in front of the personality in question, and is then seen on the receiving end of some very specific, in-depth advice, which they then go on stage and completely ignore. Seriously. When it was Adam Lambert, that level of disrespect and dismissal was funny. When it was Alicia Keys, you’ve got to wonder what the whole point of the exercise was.

5) Does Ellen actually ever say anything bad about anybody? The way she treats each contestant like a sick puppy is actually pretty patronizing. What’s the point in her being there? Kara DioGuardi is a gem, mind; intelligent, forthright, confident, and likeable, she puts all our talent show judges to shame.





fr33convict
04.21.10
This season is horrible. I find the guitar thing funny too.

Electric City
04.21.10
talking about this in media and society. The general theory the class came up with is that no one would watch the show if these people were "too talented." There is some level of authenticity in being an average joe living out the dream life despite not having a great voice, and this keeps america watching. We get to judge these people from our asses while not being threatened by their superiority

Eclectic
04.21.10
Lol, this was an awesome read.

I'm a little confused as to why Ellen is a judge, does she actually have any experience in the music industry? I wasn't aware that she did.

MUNGOLOID
04.21.10
Ellen never brings ANYTHING to either help or guide the contestants in becoming better singers. wtf is the point of her being a judge when she can't even judge?

Also kudos for pointing out the acoustic guitar trend that's been going on in recent episodes. every time i see someone attempt to perform a song while playing a guitar, it gives me douche chills.

dylantheairplane
04.21.10
I agree about the Ellen thing. She's funny as hell sometimes but a horrible judge

SmurkinGherkin
04.21.10
jedward brought the lols and thats the only reason why i ever watch the x factor

2muchket!
04.21.10
Journey South are the most well known smoggies, don't hate brah.

Lambda
04.21.10
Kara is useless in my opinion, terrible judge who rambles on for way too long. Ellen started out well but is only good for a joke here and there now. Randy: "A little pitchy, dawg, but, it was a'ight, it was a'ight... I dunno though. What about you, E?" Simon's the only useful judge.

PanasonicYouth
04.21.10
what pond

theacademy
04.21.10
"Logic would surely dictate that the standard of American Idol would be much better than that of its UK equivalents, The X Factor and Pop Idol. ... surely a country with five times as many people will have five times as many brilliant singers, and ergo, would be five times as likely to have a seriously world-class talent?"

"we shouldn’t forget that Leona Lewis was a complete fluke, but the fact remains that AI hasn’t even come close to producing anything on her level."


you do understand that the second statement completely destroys the so-called "logic" of the first...

DaveyBoy
04.21.10
Who is this Butler fella and why is he infringing on my territory? ;-)

theacademy
04.21.10
His premise: US pop = 5 x UK pop --> AI would have produced 5 x "world-class talent" than XF + PI

Then: Leona Lewis is a complete fluke (implying she's not a production of XF or PI) --> Kelly Clarkson (best production of AI) cannot compare because she doesn't have a "great voice."

0 (XF or PI "world class talents") x 5 (population multiplier) = 0

unless I read something wrong...

theacademy
04.21.10
Leona Lewis was on X-Factor.

i'm sorry. not really familiar with this stuff.

DaveyBoy
04.22.10
By numbers alone, Australia should win no more than 1 Gold Medal at the Olympics & New Zealand should not be in the Football World Cup. (Ireland should)

theacademy
04.22.10
I guess that's what he means, although he doesn't really argue for a 'better standard.' He uses the term "a seriously world-class talent" Calling Lewis a 'fluke' could be read to indicate that (while he thinks her a world class talent) she was not 'produced' by the reality shows...

Therefore, if none of the shows have produced such a talent, then (5 x 0 = 0) the logic fails. I'm assuming now that he means to imply that Lewis was not a fluke (as I interpreted it) and was 'produced' by the shows in the same way Clarkson was...

mutatedfreek
04.22.10
Leona was 'produced' by the show but she probably would have made it anyway. I think Nick was implying that it was extremely lucky for the show to find a 'world-class talent' from such a comparitively small talent pool.

theacademy
04.22.10
That make's sense. Kelly's "Breakaway" is the only thing in the entire catalog of the show that is truly great. Also, the show is a huge feeder to musical theater (broadway especially). Also Jennifer Hudson won an oscar... Also, the show is an unstoppable ratings force and a creative abomination... also clay aiken lolol

porkchop182
04.22.10
From someone not living in either of these countries (UK and America) I have to say, the only person from the UK talent shows that has even got airplay over here (in Australia) for 1 song was Leona Lewis. However, Kelly Clarkson has achieved very modest success here and so have many of the other AI products, Adam Lambert, Carly Smithson, Jordin Sparks to name a few. Just saying.

Ire
04.22.10
If you own an acoustic guitar that automatically makes you an accomplished musician. duh

DaveyBoy
04.22.10
porkchop, I think you may have forgotten about all those albums Susan Boyle just sold down under.

mutatedfreek
04.22.10
Susan Boyle was BGT not XF/Idol.

DaveyBoy
04.22.10
Same f'n thing.

mutatedfreek
04.22.10
Weren't you saying yesterday that it wasn't...

DaveyBoy
04.22.10
Was I? That was yesterday.

mutatedfreek
04.22.10
Maybe two day's ago? They all merge.

porkchop182
04.22.10
porkchop, I think you may have forgotten about all those albums Susan Boyle just sold down under.

Ah I honestly forgot about her. Very true. However, I still think the AIs have been more successful than anything from the UK.

Eclectic
04.22.10
"Who is this Butler fella and why is he infringing on my territory? ;-)"
Lol, when I first saw the title I was certain you'd written this.

"However, I still think the AIs have been more successful than anything from the UK."
That's true, but that's probably because the trend in Australia is to emulate America.

porkchop182
04.22.10
"That's true, but that's probably because the trend in Australia is to emulate America."

Hmm as does every other country in the world.
I mean look at Leona Lewis, she sounds exactly like the overpolished, pop crap that comes out of America.
Hardly anything unique.

Eclectic
04.22.10
"Hmm as does every other country in the world."
Perty much

Iai
04.22.10
"Leona was 'produced' by the show but she probably would have made it anyway. I think Nick was implying that it was extremely lucky for the show to find a 'world-class talent' from such a comparitively small talent pool."

Bingo.

Iai
04.22.10
"Journey South are the most well known smoggies, don't hate brah."

I'd rather be represented by Chris Rea, and that's a genuinely chilling thought.

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