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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

American Idol - It's All in the Cards

As many viewers of American Idol witnessed last night, the show may be missing some of the 'real' in the reality portion of the descriptor. Real to the extent that yes, everyone on the show is playing themselves (defined loosely) and no, there's not a bona fide script. It's being written all over the internet that this show is slipping in the ratings. It has. It's being written all over the internet that this show is not what it wants everyone to think it is: A search for America's best singer. It's not.

As an historically avid Idol fan and occasionally marginally intelligent commentator, I must say this season has to be one of the strangest yet. Last night Simon Cowell called the night's show, one of the strangest. I disagreed, it wasn't just last night. I must add, there was more than one occasion during the evening that urged me to peered into my glass of merlot to see if any little pink pills were dredging on the bottom. The performances, the judges, Ryan, all verged psychedelic in moments.

Besides being one of the strangest, last night's show may have been one of the most revealing in metaphorically pulling aside that blue and silver curtain. As Paula Abdul read notes off of that cue card (yes, I know, it was called a 'note card') following Ryan asking for the judges' opinions so far in the show, she went so far as to start providing an entire critique of both of Jason Castro's performances.

I found it curious Ryan was even asking for input at all considering he had just moments previous informed the viewing public, the judges wouldn't comment until after both songs. I had to rewind the Tivo to make sure I'd heard him correctly initially.

Thing is, Castro had only sung one at that point. Perhaps as Paula rather spastically peered into her Coke cup she had some sort of revelatory flash.

Revelations can happen I suppose. I've had my experience with reading 'cards', with tarot. Too, I had a great Aunt who regularly gave 'readings' for folks by scrying into a glass of clear water. She was pretty damned accurate about her findings. As one example, a neighbor had come over asking questions about her son who was overseas in the War. Aunt Minerva said he'd be coming home soon,unexpectedly. Sadly he was going to have a life altering experience and not be the same when he returned. Interestingly, two weeks later the neighbor received a postcard. Her son was coming home. Tragically he'd had his legs blown off from a land mine.

It doesn't take my Aunt Minerva looking into her glass of water to see what the outcome for this season has been determined to be. It won't take shuffling the cards or searching through tea leaves to determine the preordained outcome. But, like Brian Dunkleman said in his interview a few weeks back, certainly the votes count for something, but ultimately it's all about the ratings. Dunkleman said, on the record, exactly how the winners, who stays, who goes are selected...according to Dunkleman, he would be handed cards and told to read them. He revealed that the words written on those cards were not always the true results.

Paula Abdul showed the millions of viewers last night, the reveal can truly be all about the cards.

As someone named 'shiela' wrote in commentary to an article on Reuters,
"Anyone watching over the last two to three weeks, would have to be blind and deaf not to realise (sic)they were throwing Jason under the bus. The editing of Andrew Lloyd Webber clips, with him deriding his choice of song, before one note had been sung, you were expecting the worst. They have always portrayed him as dumb, even though I have seen interviews, when he really speaks well. They have edited them out and shown the worst parts of his clips. There is no way Paula can even begin to say it was David’s song she was speaking about, because for David Cook, she complimented him and yet for Jason's “apparent” second song, she said, he had lost his charm “word used by everyone to describe Jason”. It is obvious she was reading a script given to her by Nigel, but not meant to be read together. Jason has been very popular and they had to try and get rid of him to ensure their finale David A versus David C"

Neil Diamond week may go down as one of the most disappointing in the show's history for some, but I wasn't disappointed one bit. I never could figure why anyone thought Neil Diamond a good choice to begin with, therefore I did not have any expectations to be let down about. Neil Diamond week may also go down as one of the most revealing of this show's history.

Ryan's attempt to save the night trying to joke about Paula divining the future was amusing, but transparent. Seacrest said, "...but Paula, you’re seeing the future, baby, you’re seeing the future..." Poor Paula never recovered from this very telling faux paux and entertainingly confused Brooke and Syesha. It seemed she was having difficulty telling them apart.
Brooke White:


I think it's relatively easy to determine who is who.

Whoever wrote that "cue" card out for Paula must not have been very clear. Perhaps next time she should just gaze into that Coke cup in front of her and nix reading the cue card altogether. That or Nigel Lythgoe need develop better penmanship.


  1. Anonymous4:23 PM

    Having watched Idol every season, I've seen the manipulations. What's interesting to me is how Taylor was able to dominate, even though TPTB tried to sabotage him. He sure did play the game well.

    I'm in agreement with you. Paula was reading a cue card. There's been some speculation that the judges watched video of the rehearsals and took notes, but I don't buy it. TBTB definitely script what the judges say.


  2. Anonymous7:48 PM

    Today she claims to have taken the notes in rehearsal.
    IMO she was just sleeping through the show like the rest of us. LOL.


  3. It was a Truth moment on the show. They tried to cover for it but, man no spin should convince anyone with an IQ above norm.

  4. Oh, forgot, J. - Taylor dominated because never before nor since have they had anyone like him to deal with.

    Taylor Hicks rolled over them. Ergo their treatment of him. The man has that powerhouse of a personality that won't take "no" - nor will he back down.