Monday, May 11, 2009

Pop Culture Vortex

And now, a happier post, before I go back to e-mail land!

Can I tell you how much I'm loving the contrast of American Idol and Britain's Got Talent this season? First, I've always loved American Idol from the very beginning, and I am totally loving Adam Lambert this season in all his unabashed glam and glory. But Simon Cowell seems to get more and more bored and snarky doing the show, and it seems... tired.

And then along comes Britain's Got Talent, brought to my attention via Susan Boyle, and now I'm totally addicted to that too. But the difference is that Britain's Got Talent is NOT boring. It's not that it's more than singing because I really do love singing and singers, etc. It's that it's brilliantly edited, it humanizes everyone, even the really, really bad people, and Simon Cowell seems NICE. He winks at little kids. He oohs at little kids. He's kind to people. He has facial expressions of ACTUAL JOY. And when you combine a somewhat-nice Simon Cowell along with Piers Morgan and Amanda Holden, plus the brilliant editing, and the hosts, Ant and Dec.... you totally get a show that fills a hole in today's pop culture vortex.

I've often explained to people that the reason I watch American Idol is that it's like a giant cultural vortex that sucks me in emotionally. It doesn't matter if you like low-brow culture, high-brow culture, or something in the middle--you can unite over the television set every Tuesday. Which is how it's been for eight seasons so far.

But now that I've watched Britain's Got Talent, I have a humble request to make to the American Idol producers. You know all that great stuff that's working across the pond? Work on emulating it for Season 9 of American Idol because it can revitalize the show more than anything you've done so far, including Kara, duets, and a "Top 13". See what's working. Let Ryan Seacrest be unscripted, or better yet, get Ant and Dec to host the show. And work on making it fun again. Please.


Shae W said...

I agree! I was a total Idol fan until this past year. I actually did something I never thought I'd do--I stopped watching.

I, too, hope the Idol folks start channeling a little bit of BGT.

Elissa M said...

It's funny that agree with you because I don't have TV and have never seen American Idol or Britain's Got Talent. Just little snippets now and then. But from what I've seen of the snippets, AI is not going to ever get me to put in a satellite dish.

lotusgirl said...

I wish AI would follow the BGT model too. I almost stopped watching last year but got hooked with the 2 Davids. I didn't even start watching this year. It's just too negative. The US producers are not looking for the best talent. They are just trying to create a splash and make people talk. In the end the talent that is there rises to the top. (At least.)

Catherine said...

I don't watch American Idol (or even New Zealand Idol). I guess it is just because there is something... bland about it all after so many seasons. Although I haven't watched BGT much either, it is a bit more appealing to me because there's a sense of variety to it. Britain's got variety as well as talent.

And I totally agree with your comments about the humanisation of people such as Cowell. He's pegged as "the mean/snarky judge" in AI and, yes, he still can do that, but... he gets to be a little more like himself, I guess. He's not confined to that one little box, so to speak.

ryan field said...

Now I have to start watching the British version. I've never seen it.

But you're right, the show needs something to keep its fans.

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

Didn't they have America's Got Talent last year? Dancers, singers, jugglers and what have you.

Deborah Rey said...

You know what? I watch the UK, US AND the French version of the show, and love it. It's such a pleasure to see how many talented people, young and old, are walking around, working hard to, one day, make it.
BUT, I'm very happy I'm an old woman of 71, so I don't have to fall for that Simon Somethingrather (Cowell). Fèh!
Have a sunny weekend,
Deborah Rey