Wednesday, May 20, 2009

An Analysis of American Idol: Season 8

In less than two hours from this post, history will be made yet again as America crowns its American Idol for the eighth time.

I figured it'd be appropriate to talk about it. But wait, this IS a rock music blog is it?

Sure it is, but that doesn't mean I don't follow anything else.

This is the first season I've watched pretty much in full since Season 2. I really only like a few Idols that have won, so why should I care?

Because quite simply, I like the competition. And in times as they are, it serves as a nice escape.

Now onto the analysis.

This season can be best be summed up in two words: Adam Lambert.

Whether people love him, hate him, or are indifferent, this season has been defined by his performances.

People weeks in advance have crowned him as the next American Idol and that may indeed be so.

But the true test will come after. If he does win, what's his sound going to be like? I can't imagine what it would be like, but I'm pretty sure it's not going to be that of a typical pop star.

Is he going to be marketable past Idol or is he going to become the next Taylor Hicks? I would hate to say it, but it would seem that way. As shallow as it sounds, music is a business first.

I'm not knocking Adam for his singing talent (he has incredible range, but is generally not my kind of singer), however, I feel that his marketability will be the life and death of him. 

Kris Allen may be considered by critics to be boring and just another guy, but I honestly think that he's more marketable than Adam. At least with Kris, he pretty much knows who his audience is.

If 30 million people are watching the show every week for 12 weeks and you can't sell at least 500,000 copies of your debut record, you'd better believe you're not going to be on that label anymore.

Remember that this is a singing contest, but it is much more. It's a popularity contest. Alison Iraheta may have very well deserved to be in the top 3 and perhaps even in the final after the performance she gave. 

This season can also be summed up with two more words: Kara Dioguardi (I was waiting for this.).

The new judge has been met with mixed reviews...actually most people would rather have her gone. Say what you want about the woman, but when it comes to talent, she knows what she's talking about. She's a talented songwriter, no matter what you think of "No Boundaries", and is a hell of a singer.

This season has had its good points and bad points, but I think overall this show has actually become stronger. A part of it is because the Idols actually do more with the music. They now play instruments, they now re-interpret classic songs. Some for the better, some for the worse.

One thing I wish they'd do more of though is use more current songs.

Chris Daughtry used Shinedown's "I Dare You" and it became their most popular single at the time.

Chris Sligh used Mutemath's "Typical" and it became their most popular single to date.

American Idol needs to exploit its place in the music industry to promote what's going on now.

They already do some of that by bringing artists onto their shows, but I think they can do more if they used more current songs.

Well played, AI. Well played.

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