Shock “Value”?

Last night, the vacuous nonsense that is American Idol took a turn away from the usual vacuous nonsense to run a cheap, vacuously nonsensical imitation of a Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon. In the course of doing so, the producers might have inflicted some lasting emotional damage on one of its most promising contestants with a sleazy stunt that was billed as “the biggest shock in American Idol history.” Back to that later.

Don’t get me wrong—“Idol Gives Back” appears to be a worthwhile charity. Providing aid to starving or diseased chilllllldren in Africa, to chilllllldren rendered homeless by Hurricane Katrina (damn that Bush, anyway!), and teaching chilllllllllldren to read in Appalachia are all worthwhile causes. Of course, we don’t know how much of the money is being put to productive use and some of the efforts are arguably saddled with inefficiencies beyond the control of the charitable foundation. (For example, if $10 will buy enough pills and mosquito nets to keep 20 kids from dying of malaria, how many thousands of kids would $10 worth of DDT have saved were it not for the alarmist response to the late crusading tree-hugger Rachel Carson’s hyperbolic 1962 book Silent Spring, which precipitated a worldwide ban on the one insecticide that could have effected control over the vector for this mosquito-borne illness—albeit at the expense of a few birds. Yeah, that pisses me off.) Anyway, let’s assume that the money is well spent. I have no argument with the idea of “giving back.”

But two hours of quick performances, mostly by has-beens and second-tierers, interspersed with taped vignettes of Simon in Africa, Seacrest in Africa, Carrie Underwood in Africa, and Madonna in Africa didn’t live up to the hype we’ve been getting ever since Idol opened in Hollywood this year. We were promised Pink, Bono, Madonna, Celine Dion, Annie Lenox, Earth Wind & Fire, Kelly Clarkson, etc., etc. Where the hell was Pink? Didn’t even catch a whiff of her. Did I miss something? Bono appeared at the very end in a taped segment with the contestants. EW&F and Kelly did appear. Ben Stiller did some inane, taped crap. Annie Lenox did a heartfelt but past-her-prime performance of Bridge over Troubled Waters, which, although it was probably the best live performance of the evening, wasn’t really up to the level of a 2.5 sheets to the wind Dino singing That’s Amore on a Jerry Lewis telethon. The Best Special Effects award goes to the vidgeeks, who put together a flawless electronic marvel–a “live” on-stage duet by Celine Dion and Elvis Presley, who you might recall died in 1977. Elvis was good. Celine was Celine. In other words, she gets the Official Nittany Turkey “IS” Rating. (IS = it sucked.) Consequently, Elvis gets the Best Performance by a Performer, Living or Dead award.

Do you see a pattern there? Idol was able to get has-beens and wanna-bes, along with their own effluvia (Clarkson and Underwood), but the real icons—with the exception being Ben Stiller, of course—were on tape. And where in the hell was Pink?

Ellen Degeneres served quite well as the guest host, although Ryan Seacrest was there to be the insipid emcee, as usual. Ellen looked like she’s been working too hard. She seemed tired.

We were subjected to two hours of this crap and the voting results seemed to be an almost superfluous addition to the fluff. Seventy million votes were cast, which provided a lot of matching funds from the Idol folks to the charitable foundation. So, of course, those of us who are hooked by this crap were all on pins and needles waiting for the latest elimination. There was none.

Say what? You heard me right. There was none. They’ll be eliminating two next week. But the way this was handled was atrocious and potentially damaging to one favored contestant’s young psyche.

During the course of the show, four contestants of the remaning six had been told that they were safe and could rest easy. So, in the final few minutes of this two-hour torture, it came down to two people: Chris and Jordin. Remember that Seacrest had been touting the “shock” we would all get during the evening. Chris was told that he was safe, seemingly leaving Jordin, who has become one of the favorites to win, shaken, in tears, and going home. The director trained a camera on Jordin’s parents and friends for a lingering look at their distress and disbelief, then cut back to the discombobulated Jordin as Seacrest announced, “Jordin, you are also safe.”

Jordin is 17, and yeah, if she’s going to get into showbiz, she’s going to have to suffer a lot of setbacks, closed doors, heartbreaks and plain old slaps in the face, but this was not the way to introduce her to that. She was so emotionally overcome that she had difficulty performing the closing number; whether this inimical bullshit will create any lasting scars is unclear. I hope she gets plenty of support during the week and bounces back strongly from this ridiculous cheapass prank. And I fervently hope that none of her family and supporters had coronary incidents on account of the crapola.

So, next week, we’ll see the cut from six to four. Most likely, two of the guys will bite the dust. Which two will depend on their performances. The seventy million votes from this week will be added to the voting next week to determine the bottom two.


  1. The Redhead says

    I agree with you, Turkey, it was a nasty thing they did to Jordin. It only made them look bad.

  2. says

    You know, while they’re at it, doing the politically correct backpedaling bullshit (viz. Simon unnecessarily apologising [sic] for rolling his eyes when Phil mentioned Virginia Tech), maybe Seacrest should open next week’s show with an apology to Jordin. We are, after all, a nation of apologists.


  3. says

    Randy says, “Check it out. Yo man. I’m happy for you for a number of reasons tonight… Other than country week, your best performance on the show…”

  4. says

    Paula says, “The best opening all season long.”
    Simon thought it was OK. He didn’t hear any authenticity and he thought that in the middle Phil was an actor playing a bad role. He thinks Phil hasn’t done enough to last to next week.

  5. The Redhead says

    Hey Turkey. Running a little late because I was…running!

    Let me catch up first.

  6. The Redhead says

    Well, I guess I missed a good performance by Phil. Is everyone doing Bon Jovi this week?


  7. The Redhead says

    Well, I was wrong about the judges. I rather agree with them although I don’t go to the extreme that Simon does.

  8. The Redhead says

    How does Phil rate on tonight’s show? I didn’t see his performance.

  9. The Redhead says

    No, no! I was writing all that throughout her performance.

    So there.

  10. The Redhead says

    He’s not bad at the vocal scratching thing. Interesting but…I don’t know…he just bugs me.

  11. The Redhead says

    Yeah, I thought it was original and he was good, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

    I guess you’re ignoring my question re: Phil’s ranking.

  12. The Redhead says

    Simon doesn’t like it much but he’s being kinder than I thought he would be.

  13. The Redhead says

    Well, we’ll have to see how Melinda fares with this type of music. She may surprise us!

  14. says

    It would indeed be a surprise if she can pull it off. On the other hand, she has proven to be the consummate professional. I think she’ll choose a song that’s within her capabilities and deliver it in a Simonesque resort hotel manner.

  15. The Redhead says

    Hmmm, I wonder which Bon Jovi song Melinda will choose.

    I’m not familiar with this. It sounds like she’ll pull it off.

  16. The Redhead says

    She’s tough. This “good little girl” approach with the judges is a bunch of bull.

  17. The Redhead says

    A good show, especially after last week.

    Ohhhh God, I take that back now :(

  18. The Redhead says

    Oh, that’s right! Yep, bye bye Phil and Chris.

    The Math Guy is back from Tallahickie on Tuesday if all goes according to plan.

  19. The Redhead says

    Thanks, Turkey, I’ll pass your good wishes on to the Graph Guy.

    I had fun! See you tomorrow evening :)

  20. The Redhead says

    Too bad they didn’t show this mini-show last week instead of the marathon the aired.

  21. The Redhead says

    Is that were you’ll find Pink, in the unseen footage?

    And what about Borat? He was supposed to be on last week’s show, too.

    Who is this guy? I hear girls screaming. Not a very good Marvin Gaye imitation.

  22. The Redhead says

    I mean, who buys this crap? If you want to hear Marvin, buy one of HIS albums, they’re much better.

  23. The Redhead says

    Yeah, right, she doesn’t need to pretend–so why is she pretending more than ever?

  24. The Redhead says

    She doesn’t sound natural when she talks anymore. For several years she was “British,” and now it just sounds like she’s got a big wad of gum in her mouth.

    I remember when she acted like she could care less what anybody thought. Now it seems that’s all she cares about.

    (Maybe the former was an act, too.)

  25. The Redhead says

    Any stawberries with it this week?

    OOOH…another mean move re: Jordin!!!

  26. says

    I did indeed macerate the strawberries in Grand Marnier. Those California strawberries are pretty tasteless. I don’t need any flavor augmenters with Florida strawberries. But tonight I decided I needed another shot of Grand Marnier after the strawberries.

  27. The Redhead says

    I heard some women saying at the start of tonight’s show that they were, “Blake-ers.” Yippee!

  28. The Redhead says

    We’ve got some strawberries but they are a tad on the tart side. Where do you find sweet strawberries anymore?

  29. The Redhead says

    What do you do at the strawberry festival besides eat and buy strawberries?

  30. The Redhead says

    Who buys this crap? I can’t imagine listening to this at home or in the car–anywhere.

  31. The Redhead says

    I wonder how many times a day Bon Jovi checks himself out in the mirror?

  32. The Redhead says

    Did you see those pealie whites Simon was flashing? How many ways can you say “bright?”

  33. The Redhead says

    Sorry, Turkey. I wasn’t paying attention. I do know Giselle won’t be their main model anymore.

  34. The Redhead says

    What do you think about Streisand selling tix to her shows in England for one-thousand bucks a pop?

  35. The Redhead says

    Well, Turkey, that’s another week down. I’ve had a lot of fun!

    Here’s looking at you, kid :)