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I have a confession to make: I love “American Idol.” There.  I said it. Now, there’s no turning back.

Oh, I am not a big fan of so-called “reality” shows. I know that a lot of them are scripted, and the people on them ham it up for the cameras.  They create a false sense of worth, distorting what is valuable and good in the world.  But this show – up to a point – is different.

They’re Back!

The 2014 edition of the show made its debut this week. For me and my family, this is a big event. We have family dinners together and afterwards watch the show. We keep in touch long-distance and talk about the judges and our favorite contestants. We are moved by the personal stories and we root for the underdogs.  And we vote and wait to see who wins. All of this is fun.  All of this is positive.

But There’s More

What sets American Idol apart from its competition is that you can learn things if you pay close attention. Just this week the judges were talking about the pentatonic scale and explaining what it is. They offer advice about pitch, breathing control, and how to take care of your voice. We also learn the cold facts about the music business, how many truly talented people are out there, and how difficult it is to make it.

The Down Side William Hung

There is a down side.  There is one thing that bothers me. Right now, we are in the audition phase, the point where they decide who goes to Hollywood to take place in the competition. I like this phase because it brings out the “freaks.”  These are the free spirits who dress and act differently.  These are the guys who march to the beat of their own drum.  Most of these people are sent packing, but they don’t care.  They just follow their passion and it does not phase them one bit: I love it. (See Right: William Hung.)

Golden Ticket

The problem comes when there is a talentless contestant whom others have given a false sense of a dream. These are the people who have been lied to all their lives: either that or else they are delusional. They get rejected for the first time in their lives and they have a meltdown right before our eyes. This is the one element of the show that bothers me: the people who are ridiculed or who face emotional trauma just to win the “Golden Ticket” to Hollywood, and it is shown to us, supposedly for our enjoyment.

What’s the Verdict?

American Idol saw its rating drop in 2013.  There are rumors that this will be its last season. Most of last year’s judges left, including Randy Jackson, who had been there from the start. Producers retooled the panel.

Keith Urban   Jennifer Lopez   Harry Connick

Back again is Keith Urban (above left), popular Australian county singer and guitar virtuoso. He joins a returning Jennifer Lopez (above middle), dancer and pop legend, and newcomer Harry Connick, Jr. (above right), jazz pianist, actor and singer with a smooth-as-Sinatra voice, who appeared on the show last year as a coach.

Ryan Seacrest

The trio works together well.  Gone is the drama and bickering that annoyed fans last year in favor of upbeat humor and good feelings.  It’s time to breathe a sigh of relief. The show is enjoyable again.

Led by “Mr. Everything,” the super-smooth and ultra-professional Ryan Seacrest (right), American Idol again hits the mark. Some 75,000 fans have auditioned for a chance to make it as a pop idol. And the show still manages to turn out stars (see Phillip Phillips for an example), and after all, isn’t that the name of the game?


So, what should viewers expect to see this year?  I have already noticed some patterns. Of all the Judges, Jennifer Lopez tends to be the most lenient. She has a hard time saying “no” to contestants, and not much of a talent for humor, especially compared to her male counterparts on the panel. Harry Connick, Jr. has the most critical eye and a refreshing new perspective about what does and does not constitute talent. Keith Urban falls somewhere in the middle; although he suffers the unfortunate consequence of  being slower than the others to voice his opinion.  As a result, he is the one most likely to have to break a 1 to 1 tie and judge the contestant’s fate.


Some viewers may claim to long for the “good old days” where Simon Cowell was cutting contestants to shreds with his acid tongue, and Paula Abdul was busy punching him on the arm and trying to shut him up.  I don’t.  I don’t like any talent show where the egos of the judges overshadow the purpose of the show.

Soup Nazi

If people want an injection of nasty in the show – and producers want to give the public what it aches for – I have   a suggestion: why not hire the Soup Nazi (right) as the head judge? I hear that he is currently looking for employment.

Although I would warn them that he might pass anyone through to the next level.

It’s time to have some fun again. Let’s all settle in and support the show. And let’s pass the word, so that it doesn’t die. American Idol is still worthy of its spot on our TV agendas. Open a bag of Fritos and give it another shot!


About Joe

Freelance designer and writer whose goal is to help others by writing about my experiences with fear and anxiety (agoraphobia), health struggles (cancer) and my wonderfully-happy life as a husband and stay-at-home dad. I want to empower everyone to have a happy life.

6 responses »

  1. Colleen says:

    I have to admit I stopped watching Idol because of the bickering and oft times the voting seemed to have more to do with looks then vocal talent. But on your say so I will give it another try. I guess I better go shopping for a bag of Fritos since you ate the last bag. 😀

    • Joe says:

      Yes, I would recommend the show. There is none of the fighting that took place last year. It has been a lot of fun.

      And, yes, at the moment I am Frito-less. 😦

  2. Espirational says:

    I gave up Idol years ago, but have to admit to being hooked on The Voice. I was also glad The Sing Off came back this year. No Frito’s but I have been known to make banana smoothies or ice cream during commercials 🙂


  4. Sherry Dans says:

    I love watching Idol, but I was a little turned off with the bickering in the past. I love watching performers improve week to week and learning their back-stories. I do feel bad for the ones who have no talent and people have led them on–what a shame to have their reality shown on tv–that is sad. However, I do love to listen to the new voices, and feel their excitement! I didn’t know how I would feel about Harry Connick, Jr., but I think he will definitely be a level head and will challenge performers to be the best they can be. Here’s to a great season!!! (I will definitely stock up on the Fritos!!!)

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