‘American Idol’ will MURDER you with kindness, and Lionel Richie songs

American Idol Top 13 PartyGateHouse — Here’s why I don’t watch “American Idol.” Despite my appearance, I’m actually not a 15-year-old. I have paperwork to back this up, somewhere. I think it’s in my dad’s car.

The second reason I don’t watch the show that single-handedly restored America’s faith in voting after that unpleasantness in Florida in 2000 is that, and let’s be perfectly honest here, “Idol” is boring boring boring boring snxxxx snooze drool pleh. Originally, I had a joke for that sentence, but I’ll be honest, I’m way into that meaningless-sounds thing. Note to editors: Henceforth, I will be writing exclusively in grunts, Love, Jeff.

But first, I need to back up a bit. I have not watched the show this year, which, I’m told, means that I’ve missed a guy named Adam, whose hair exists in a permanent state of Awesome, sing “Ring of Fire” as though he was in an Egyptian brothel in about 800 A.D., which I’m actually sort of sad about. So I am writing about this having no idea what I’m talking about. Sorry.

But if I’m guilty of anything, it’s caring too much about my work (as well as stealing cash out of my co-workers’ desks and, of course, the reason I can’t get within 100 yards of Brett Favre). So now and again I try to glimpse, for brief moments, what the people are watching on the TV, both to foster a wide-ranging cultural knowledge base and so I can hope to have the first damn clue what people at work are talking about in the mornings.

This happens mostly about “Lost,” a show about which conversations might as well happen via mooing. One time I turned on that show this year — one time — to see someone get taken prisoner by a banana plant, followed by a fade-out and the words THIRTY YEARS LATER on the screen. Listen, I am still trying to work out the logic regarding the “Back to the Future” dance; this is some high-end master-class nightmare.

But the “Idol” finale is this week, and putting “American Idol” in my headline will totally increase my Google hits by like 20, so let’s do this.

A few years back I did watch “Idol” all year long as part of a work assignment, the year that the 48-year-old man won, despite knowing who Sam Cooke was and having what was really pretty terrible cleavage. Has anybody seen that guy lately? I hope he’s OK — I liked the way he made being able to sing cruise-ship soul seem subversive.

Which is the problem with “Idol.” Everybody involved is nice, all the time, aggressively, irritatingly, migraine-ingly nice. The blond girl who won for singing about the cars Jesus drives? She was nice. The little Barry Manilow kid? Super-nice. The bald guy with the ridiculous headbanging? He would like you to believe he is dangerous, yet 10 bucks says he makes a mean crepe and likes to pet rabbits. The gray-haired dude? Extremely nice, because he’s 63.

And the nice people do very nice things; they pick nice songs to sing, they strike nice poses, they do nice commercials for car companies when asked, which is nice, these days. They wear nice outfits and have nice haircuts, even on the rare occasions that someone purple-haired or creatively tattooed escapes the “audition process,” the one in which tens of thousands of crushed-dream containers are herded into an arena in order to have their karaoke aspirations broken for good, and with any luck on the television.

Everyone appears to be supportive of everyone else; I’m reasonably sure the entire production is powered by hugs. The judging isn’t so much judging as nice head-scritching; Paula Abdul performs as though uttering something not-nice would cause her elbows to fall off. And the bad guy in the children’s-size T-shirts exists mainly so nice people in the crowd can yowl when he says something unbearably ghastly, such as “It’s possible that your future might not necessarily be in the pop music industry.” Booooooooooooo.

It is, in short, the MOST BORING THING IN THE WORLD (well, there’s still NASCAR, but this is up there). And yes, it’s less nice now because it’s going to be won by a sexually ambiguous character who can hit notes only camels should hit and knows rock songs, much like every male rock n’ roll singer of the 1970s, but hey, baby steps. It just needs something, anything, for excitement: some explosions, some actual rock or, failing all that, a 1985 time-traveler in a DeLorean.

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About Jeff Vrabel

My writing has appeared in GQ, Men’s Health, Success, the Washington Post, the official BruceSpringsteen.net, Indianapolis Monthly, Billboard, Modern Bride and more. View all posts by Jeff Vrabel

2 responses to “‘American Idol’ will MURDER you with kindness, and Lionel Richie songs

  • Belle

    Can I say that this 58 year old woman and her husband watch A.I. faithfully? Well, that’s after the crapfest of auditions, that is. I am a huge Adam fan. Here’s a kid who just seems so NICE (haha) and so comfortable with himself. Plus, he’s different than the sameness of everyone else and I like that. He’s already a star in my book so if he wins, it’s just gravy. I also will admit I have a CD of downloaded I-Tunes of his that my daughter made for me for Mother’s Day. I bang my head and do the ole rock n’ roll sway on my way to my BORING job with the volume turned up! hee hee

    Join us in the Finale, Jeff…..I might even – gasp – vote! 🙂

    Like

  • Nanette Heiserman

    I really enjoyed the final 5 Idol group medley last night. It was a pity to see Aaron Kelly eliminated however I do believe the other singers were better so he needed to go!

    Like

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