Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Grassy Knoll

*Don't waste your time reading this if you don't care about AI. Dim, that includes you, but Not Dim can read it.*

If you get me going about conspiracies on American Idol, I sound like I would be someone who puts tinfoil over the windows of my house and wears a pot on my head so the government can't steal my thoughts. In 20 years, when the contestants are allowed to talk freely and not afraid of the ramifications, I will take a break from standing on a street corner with my "The end is nigh!" sign, sit with my 30 cats amongst my piles of decades-old newspapers, and watch it, screaming at the top of my lungs, "I KNEW IT!" I have no insider information, I just watch every episode and read a message board that is populated with intelligent, cynical people. Some of these intelligent, cynical people are able to go to tapings of the show and get some behind the scenes info. I also read most articles I come across, especially if they're of the "behind the scenes" nature. When I say this show is like crack, I mean it. I hate it, I know that it does bad things, I know that it's cheese personified, but I need it. I'm definitely not as obsessed as some since the only time I talk about it is on here, with Rusty, and sometimes with my mom, who watches casually. I don't talk about it with random people, or even with people at work, except for one person. So please don't stage my intervention...yet.

Now, on to the point of this post. As you may have seen last night, my AI boyfriend of this season, Ace, was in the bottom 3 last night. I call shenanigans. I think the show works like this: The producers look at the vote totals: if they like them, they use them; if not, they do whatever the hell they please (or what the contestants have asked them to do, as we'll discuss later). Would they have put Ace in the bottom 3 if he had had a phenomenal performance on Tuesday night? No, but I truly believe that when one of the favorites is put in the bottom 3 prematurely, it's because they want that person to go far and they want to scare the fans a bit (see Bice, Bo). Let me start from the beginning, or at least the beginning I care about since I didn't give a rat's ass about Seasons 1 or 2, but I will say that I think Season 1 was legitimate for several reasons that I won't bother discussing, and in Season 2 Clay did beat Ruben.

Season 3 was the year of the "diva." It was obvious from the beginning that The Powers That Be wanted Fantasia to win, and she received tongue baths from the judges every week. She was in the bottom 3 once towards the end to scare the fans. Jasmine Trias and Diana DeGarmo, who finished third and second respectively, where there because they were never any threat whatsoever to Fantasia (Plus the fact that Diana's mic pack failed during the final 2 performance show. It had also failed during the dress rehearsal, but they didn't fix it. The things that make you go hmmm...). I still haven't figured out why they wanted an illiterate single mother as the American Idol (speaking for TPTB, not for myself), but I guess they felt Jennifer Hudson was too fat (Elton John had a shit fit when she was voted off) and LaToya London was too boring (which I find ridiculous because I liked her, and when Quentin Tarantino was a guest judge they had to re-tape the judging since he yelled that she was "fucking incredible."). John Stevens was "voted off" when he and his parents asked to withdraw because they were receiving death threats after he outlasted Jennifer Hudson. While this isn't a conspiracy, it's interesting to note that Jon Peter Lewis, who had a pretty strong fanbase, was voted off on the week of Bush's state of the union address, which pushed the show from Tuesday-Wednesday to Wednesday-Thursday. This lost all the votes of the casual fans who watch because that's what happens to be on TV at the moment. I won't go as far to suggest that TPTB made the state of the union address be on that night (not even I can go that far), but I truly believe that the schedule change is the reason he was voted off that week, and it adds fuel to my hatred for George Bush.

Season 4 was rife with controversy, and the producers didn't even try to hide their machinations. It began with Mario Vasquez, who I thought was The Chosen One, leaving. Realizing quickly that he was the red herring, I set my sights on Bo and Carrie. This year was the year of the honkey, as evidenced by the small showing of black people (4 out of 12). We can't have another divas debacle. Carrie was never in the bottom 3 despite many lackluster performances (she sang "McArthur Park," for God's sake). Bo had his bottom 3 "scare," which we at TWoP call the Bo-tervention, but his response to that was that he didn't care and that he only auditioned on a dare. Monkey wrench! TPTB can't have someone difficult as The Chosen One (which is why Clay didn't win--he was the first contestant to insist on having his own attorney at the contract signing), and who could be less difficult than Carrie? It's no coincidence that Constantine was "voted out" the week his band signed a distribution deal for their album. Scott was kept on the show because he was good TV, plain and simple. People tuned in to watch his smug attitude and to see if this was the week of das boot. Vonzell was in the top 3 because she was no challenge whatsoever to Carrie and Bo.

Which brings us to Season 5. I call Kevin as this year's John Stevens, but I don't think he'll last as long. I was off the Ace as chosen one train and on the Chris train, but after last night's bottom 3 machinations, I have one foot in each and reserve my judgment until I see how the judges treat Ace in following weeks, and if Ace steps up his lackluster performances. Melissa went home last night because Simon praised her performance, causing her fans to become complacent. He knew exactly what he was doing. Mandisa is this year's Jennifer/LaToya. Elliott has a strong fan base, but I don't know if his looks can upset the Ace/Chris duo of hotness. Chris may be TCO since he has been the last performer (the major pimp slot) twice so far. He also had all the smoke and lights Tuesday night. I've heard rumors of a Chris/Kellie final 2, which makes me think TPTB felt that they got it wrong last year. I believe that this is the year of the white male (there are no black males left in the competition).

I know I sound insane, but stuff like this makes the show interesting for me. It's a game figuratively and literally (on TWoP--I was in 1st place going into this week.)

PS: On each of the American Idol CD covers, the winner and runner-up are on the top left hand corner, except for season 3, which has Diana and Jasmine. Keep in mind that the CD comes out in April; the winner is chosen in May.


Blogger Dim said...


Not-Dim, here. I can't comment on the other years, but something seems a little askew this year. But you have to look at the reason why people vote:

1) People who vote based on who has done the best/worst in the competition as a whole thus far.

2) People who vote based solely on the last performance.

3) People who vote because they just like someone/dislike someone.

4) People who vote for someone because they are hot. I cannot relate to this (cough, Katherine McFever, cough), but this explain why millions of 11-year-old girls have managed to get Kevin to the next round.

5) People who vote for who they have in the office pool.

Now, I was absolutely floored that Kevin wasn't sent home. I was, however, not surprised that Ace was in the bottom 3, especially if you think that Voter Group #2 has a big following. He was awful the other night.

When they announced the final 3, I knew Melissa was going home because she was second to last the prior week. This lends creedence to Voter Group 3, because it's more than obvious that she was probably in the top half of performers the other night despite the messed up lyrics.

If you look at the history of American Idol, you can deduce that it is time for a white male to win. I'd still like to believe that the best singer wins (I actually think that they should have separate male and female winners), but there is actually very little real about reality TV.

I agree that TPTB try to influence. You ever see the recap at the end, when they play a 10 second snippet of a performance? Sometimes, they pick a lousy 10 second stretch in an otherwise fine performance.

I just think it is a travesty that the Part Time Lover kid is still there and one of the better singers from the last episode (though not the whole competition) got sent home.

In my opinion, the Voter Group that would most accurately pick the "right" winner would be Voter Group 1 and I just don't think they are doing enough.

- Not D.

3/16/2006 10:10 AM  
Blogger Jenny G said...

Maybe I underestimate the public. I see 3 and 4 as overlapping a lot, and I always figure that people are more likely to vote for their favorite no matter what. Maybe people really do vote for the best performance. If I voted, I'd vote the most for my favorite, and then throw some votes the way of the people whose performances I liked that night.

Even though Melissa was good that night, they beat into the ground the fact that she flubbed the lyrics. I thought Kevin had a good chance to go, not only because of his horrible performance, but also because voting was from 10PM-12AM, and I doubt a lot of 11-year-olds' parents let them stay up till midnight voting. Although I guess a lot of 11-year-olds have their own cell phones and they could hide in their rooms and do it.

I don't think the best singer has one any of the years, but my liking a contestant is the kiss of death. I think that has to do with the fact that top 40 isn't really my cup of tea, and that's what the show is looking for. Last year with Bo is the first time someone I liked made it far at all.

3/16/2006 10:55 AM  
Blogger Dim said...

As far as the time goes, don't underestimate the power of the west coast. Their voting times are 7-9.

3/16/2006 11:30 AM  
Blogger Jenny G said...

I always forget about that. Are you sure they see it live there too though? I always thought it was only live in the Eastern and Central zones.

3/16/2006 1:51 PM  
Blogger Dim said...

You know, you are probably right.

3/16/2006 2:01 PM  
Blogger YakuzaSmurf said...

I'll be honest, I didn't read the post all the way through... and I haven't watched American Idol since season two (I think), and I never watched season one. Anyway, when I did watch, I remember that the votes were tallied and compiled by an independant accounting firm or something like that as proof they were not fixing votes, etc... If they want to prove the competition isn't fixed, they will still have such a firm. It should be pretty easy to figure out who it is if they are using one... If they are not, there you go, it's fixed.

3/16/2006 5:26 PM  
Blogger Jenny G said...

I think one year they had some official dude with an envelope come out at the finale. That takes all the fun out of it though :).

3/16/2006 6:36 PM  
Blogger defiant goddess said...

This is how out of touch I am: I was halfway through the first paragraph when I realized "AI" stood for American Idol and not Artificial Intelligence. Heehee.

Have a great weekend!

3/17/2006 8:45 AM  

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