American Idol is a Joke

American Idol is a Joke

Kris Allen in New York City, before his appear...
Image via Wikipedia
Okay, it’s officially become a joke.  I’ve been a longtime American Idol follower since the initial first season when Kelly Clarkson started it all and I’ve stuck through it for the most part.  I’ve always found it great that a lot of these talented voices that wouldn’t be heard otherwise have a chance to become a bonafide pop star and live out their dreams of being a successful singer.  However, I’ve felt that through the years the show has become less and less relevant, which shouldn’t be a surprise as most people seem to being sharing the sentiment.

The whole pop star thing–at least via American Idol–is largely a pipe dream now for new winners and contestants.  Yes, back during its primary heyday Kelly Clarkson sold plenty of albums and the trend [mostly] continued until Carrie Underwood.  Ever since then, each winner has yet to experience the sales success so many have previously enjoyed.

Let’s take a look at Kris Allen for example.  He’s a nice guy with a firm grasp of the guitar who seems to be raking in plenty of money to pay the bills lately thanks to all of those Ford commercials he’s been appearing in.  Did his debut album make a blip on the Billboard charts?  Barely.  In fact, I read an article stating that his debut managed the lowest first week sales of any Idol winner.  He has since been outsold by runner up Adam Lambert, not entirely surprising as that has happened before with the success of Chris Daughtry and Clay Aiken.

Now Kris Allen certainly isn’t alone.  Taylor Hicks’ album didn’t do all that well and Jordin Sparks did okay going platinum, her sophomore effort “Battlefield” fared much worse.  Per Wikipedia David Cook self-titled effort also went platinum, we’ll have to wait and see how his third album does.

The fact that winners can no longer expect their albums to become bestsellers is one thing but we haven’t reached the so-called “mentors” aspect.  There have been a few occasions where I was slightly puzzled by the people selected to be mentors on American Idol but I truly questioned the validity of the show with last week’s decision to have Miley Cyrus.

Miley Cyrus…seriously?

It’s wonderful that the girl formerly known as Destiny Hope Cyrus is experiencing all of this success and I’ll be the first to admit that “Party in the U.S.A.” is a genius and incredibly catchy pop song but Miley Cyrus has no business mentoring a so-called “singing” competition.  Mariah Carey?  Yeah she’s desperately trying to hold onto her youth but she can sing and write songs.  Dolly Parton?  A multitalented musician.  It’s still too early to determine what Cyrus’ musical longevity will be and she may become just as talented as these two ladies in the future but as of now she just doesn’t have the chops.

Each season Ryan Seacrest declares that it’s their best crop of contestants ever.  I think that proclamation went out the door after the whole Sanjaya Malakar debacle but we won’t get into that.  This season’s Crystal Bowersox and Lee Dewyze are super talented but I don’t see them or any of their fellow contestants becoming the multiplatinum recording artists that American Idol was once so successful in launching.

The final “nail in the coffin” was the decision to have Ellen DeGeneres as the new Paula Abdul replacement.  As much as I find Ellen to be a wonderful and funny person, she simply has no business being there.

Perhaps it’s time for American Idol to take a cue from one of its soon to be departing judges and quit while it still has some small degree of musical relevance.  If Kris Allen’s sales are anything to go by, the winner of this season may find his or her debut album dead on arrival.

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