American Idol

I have to confess enjoying the spectacle of American Idol. It is an entertainment industry tour de force. But it demonstrates the fickle nature of celebrity in the 21st Century. By having an expert panel of judges, well experienced music industry insiders with various perspectives, the finalists are selected on merit and their possible bankability if they can show over the course of the series that they have the ability to appeal to a populist vote. It all makes good sense so far, right?

The format is genius. Ratings are spectacular and the show is franchised around the world - think about that when you are naming your products - leave room for the local variation. We have NZ Idol here in New Zealand, though its lack of a second series is telling. Sponsors Coke and Ford seem to get great exposure and have remained with the show over its many seasons. The voting system where viewers pay for the opportunity to cast a ballot for their favourite supporters generates millions in revenues for the programmes owners. Spin-off merchandising of the contestant music on iTunes is another revenue stream and, I don't know the content of the contracts with winning artists but I imagine their is some long term gain if the artist's career succeeds - as it has for the likes of Kelly Clarkson.

SPOILER WARNING: I will reveal who has been eliminated from shows that have not aired in New Zealand yet (possibly in your country too).

I was just reading a Reuter's report that two of the more talented performers have been eliminated from the show.

Carly Smithson, the Irish singer with distinctive tattoo on her arm was bumped after a rendition of Jesus Christ Superstar. Each of the judges praised her performance but she was voted off by the public. It has been floated that the song would have rubbed people in the 'bible belt' up the wrong way.

Also sent packing was Australian singer Michael Johns.

Both Johns and Smithson seem to be well placed for the final showdown.

It has been interesting how often Simon Cowell has said that it will be an interesting contest if it remains a singing competition and not a popularity contest.

Sadly I think it has been the latter.

The Official American Idol Site

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