USA Today posted an interesting follow-up on the American Idol panel that took place Saturday at the television critics winter tour in Pasadena, CA. According to Idol producer, Ken Warwick, the judges aren’t meaner than usual–he claims there are more “bad” auditions than before. He says, “It’s not a conscious decision…It’s just that the further we go in the series, there are less and less good singers, so the numbers are made up by more bad ones.”
Huh? Out of the thousands and thousands of people who audition, they can’t find a handful of really incredibly talented singers? Are they screening out good singers for good Tee Vee “characters”? ‘Cause, in my opinion, the reason Season 6 has been so deadly dull so far isn’t because they’ve been featuring more “bad” auditions–actually the ratio seems to be about the same to last year–it’s that the good auditions have NOT been as good as in previous years.
Let’s just say, my mind has yet to be blown by anything I’ve heard yet. TPTB promise, however, there will be better shows ahead:
Warwick says he kicked off the season with some of the worst audition cities, because viewers love train-wreck performances ‘ more than 37 million viewers tuned in Tuesday and Wednesday, Fox’s biggest entertainment nights ever ‘ but, says judge Randy Jackson, better singers are on the horizon as the auditions move south: “Birmingham (Tuesday, 8 ET/PT) was good. Memphis (Jan. 30) was good, too.”
Let’s hope so.
As far as allowing mentally challenged contestants through the screening process? Warwick and Cowell comment:
Warwick and Cowell said they didn’t believe it would be fair to exclude singers based on any perceived disabilities. “I think everybody has a right” to audition, Warwick said.
Sure they have the right to audition. And you have the right to screen them out if they don’t appear to fully comprehend the deal they are signing.
In fact, he said later, in some cases of singers with certain disabilities who want to meet the judges, the producers will “turn the cameras off and bring them in. We give them a good experience.”
My problem isn’t necessarily that the judges are mean to these people. In fact, I think the judges were very kind, in particular, to Jonathan Jayne, the Special Olympics kid. However, setting Jonathan up for ridicule in front of a national audience–that should give the producers pause–that’s all I’m sayin’.
In a sign of Idol‘s pop-cultural influence, auditioners Kenneth Briggs, 23, of Bothell, Wash. ‘ whom Cowell derided as looking like a “bush baby, ” an African primate ‘ and friend Jonathan Jayne, 21, of Renton, Wash., appeared Friday on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live. “They’ve become celebrities. They wouldn’t have changed anything, ” Cowell said.
Really? And what happens in another month when the attention stops? Is Jonathan going to understand that? Is he fully be able to grasp the media experience he’s having now and what it means? Therein lies the rub. He’s having a great time now, but what about down the road?
Meanwhile, both Jonathan and his friend Kenneth “Bush Baby” Briggs were on the Today Show this morning. Apparently, they both have secured agents…
Special Olympics Commends American Idol
Meanwhile, the Special Olympics has no problem with how contestant Jonathan Jayne was depicted in Tuesday’s Seattle audition show:
…While polite isnt a word one would normally associate with Cowell and company, a viewing of the episode in question shows that the judges were in fact gracious and very encouraging to (Jonathan) Jayne during his rendition of God Bless America, the organization said in a statement, noting that …at one point, (judge Paula) Abdul commented admiringly about Jayne spirit and advised him to always believe in yourself.
Those who condemned the inclusion of Jayne in Wednesday episode are preaching against the Special Olympics message. …Whether on the stage of American Idol or on the field of competition for Special Olympics, people with intellectual disabilities dont want pity or special treatment, the group statement read. …They want to be judged for who they are and appreciated for what they can achieve.
American Idol should be commended for providing Jayne with the same opportunity to succeed as any other contestant.
That’s a different take. If Jonathan were actually a talented singer, I would have been fine with his audition. I just wonder if he’s able to fully comprehend exactly what’s happening to him and why…