At this point in pop-culture history, I’m apparently really, really old. American Idol is consistently appealing to 30+ year old people like me and 8-12 year olds. Anywhere in between, and this show just doesn’t register on the radar. Which is a little odd for me, because I’ve always been able to talk AI with my students, and now they are oddly curious as to why I watch what they perceive to be an antiquated bunch of nonsense for old people. Because, at some level, they still think I’m cool, and not old. Which is sweet, and not entirely accurate – because I am old, and I am a dork.
Anyhow, audition season is back. I rarely watch the audition section of AI because in the past few years, it has continued to disappoint in disastrous proportions. It started as a way to introduce major players to the competition, but in the last few years, the “let’s make fun of idiots” took full control of these shows to the point that you were lucky to see one good audition in an entire hour. And in many ways, let's make fun of the queerest of the odd balls, which really, really irked me. I think after the criticisms last year, they’ve adjusted by cutting the tapes more equally – so we’ve seen some fairly balanced coverage of the fantastic and the abhorrent, most of whom are not exhibiting what we would call stereotypically queer mannerisms.
So far, my take is this – Paula is not missed at all. Kara is less annoying and makes sense sometimes because she doesn’t have Paula to look equally annoying and crazy with. Simon is being nice…maybe because he’s out of here? Randy is losing more and more vocabulary by the year. There seem to be an awful lot of country singers making it through with golden tickets – time for the show to find Carrie Underwood #2? And next week Neil Patrick Harris guest judges, but apparently splits time with one of the Jonas brothers. I cannot, cannot quite get my head around how that’s going down.
But my favorite part of AI coming back is not the show, the competition, or whatever else FOX tries to cram down my throat – it is my folks over at Television Without Pity who never fail to disappoint by providing hysterical recaps on the show. It’s a carefully balanced love of pop-culture and all things fandom with a critical, cynical vision of the entertainment industry and what it does to people. Needless to say, I can spend hours enthralled on that site, but the AI recaps are by far my favorite. I look forward to them every season! Check them out - see if they recap your favorite shows.