Saturday, January 13, 2007

Bones Return Bumped Again—and Why I Don't Like American Idol

Well, it's official. Bones, which for a while appeared to be returning next Wednesday, 1/24, is not not coming back to grace our screens with Boreanaz shoulders until 1/31. Excuse me while I go weep into my oatmeal.

Okay, I'm back.

All this shuffling, of course, has to do with the premiere of this year's American Idol. I do not like American Idol. I probably should in some way, because it's probably helped Bones pull decent ratings. But as a show, I don't like it. And yes, before you take me to task, I have watched it a few times. My kids like it, so I'm forced to, much as I was forced to endure nearly 18 straight hours of Hannah Montana over New Year's.

Why do I not like it? First and foremost, Simon. He's mean. I fail to understand why watching somebody verbally abuse another person is entertaining. Maybe we should just go back to the old Roman gladiator days and have people literally flayed with knives on TV. I think it'd be easier to watch. And Simon's recent dissing of Bob Dylan makes me respect him even less. Not only is he nasty for no good reason, he has no real concept of musical genius. Poor Bob would be viciously mocked right out of the audition room.

Which leads me to the second reason I don't like AI. When I was in college, my sister belonged to a theater troupe (a really good one, by the way). They did a lot of musicals, and all their folks were coached by the same voice trainer. He got some fantastic results out of a lot of people who hadn't ever sung before, but in the end everybody came out sounding kind of alike. Same use of head versus chest voice, same applications of vibrato, same kind of tonality and vocal quality. That's what seems to me to happen on AI. You start out with some people with some nicely distinctive voices, then by the end, after they've run the gauntlet of vocal coaching with the AI team, you can barely tell Fantasia from Clay Aiken. I can't identify Kelly Clarkson on the radio by her voice—she sounds just like any number of full-voiced female crooners currently cluttering our airwaves. (In fact, the only way I know it's Kelly is that my daughter will start singing along, cause she LOVES Kelly Clarkson.) And she's not bad, really. She's just...generic. The same goes for Carrie Underwood. Although I do like "Before He Cheats." Go, Carrie! Key that car!

Anyway, that's why I don't like American Idol—because Simon is a not-nice person, and because the show contributes to the overall genericizing (genericization? Is that a word?) of American pop culture. That, plus it's making me have to wait another week to see Boreanaz shoulders, and that makes me cranky.