Monday, May 16, 2011

Music Monday ~ FARCIAL IDOL: a ramble-cum-rant with a bit of astrology thrown in.

American Idol is rapidly turning into high farce. It has been teetering on the verge for a long time, but this week it tipped over the edge. My feelings about the show veer from love to hate more rapidly than is healthy for any mature individual who prizes common sense. Still, Idol offers a breathing space from giving too much attention to that other farce-filled area: the political stage.

Before I wade into the farce, I'll mention one astrological point arising from my post of 19 March noting the Uranus/Neptune conjunction linked to personal planets in some of the contestants' natal charts.

Of the four individuals highlighted there, Scotty, Casey, James and Lauren, two are still standing, Scotty and Lauren, two of the youngest. Casey was eliminated a couple of weeks ago, sadly in my view. His quirky style doesn't exactly match standard poppy-cum-country current American Idol requirements. James went out this week in a "surprise" elimination, surprising because he has been a judges' favourite all season.

(Final 4: left to right: Haley, Scotty, James, Lauren)
Joining Scotty and Lauren in the final 3 is Haley Reinhart. Something of a dark-horse contestant, who has improved a lot in recent weeks. She's bluesy, jazzy, and sassy. She was born born September 9, 1990 and comes from Wheeling, Illinois. Sun, Mercury Venus in Virgo (16, 13 and 2 degrees respectively) and Uranus, Neptune, Saturn in Capricorn (5, 11 18 degrees respectively). So she has that potentially magical link-up too - a trine from Uranus/Neptune to personal planets in her case.

On Wednesday we saw Lady GaGa acting as guest mentor. The week's two themes were: songs that inspire and songs by Lieber and Stoller. Each of the four remaining contestants sang one example of each.

Lady GaGa turned up wearing shoes with huge high heels in the shape of dildos, which the Fox TV PR people promptly censored - blurred out for the screen. There are two contestants "under age" and children watching, whose innocence must be protected. (Stifled splutters). In which case, Fox PR peeps, why did you choose to make the two gals, aged 16 and 20 perform a duet of Gunpowder and Lead on Thursday's results show, the song about domestic abuse? Ye gods!!! And
I've just read that judges' pick for Haley to sing this week (one of 3 songs) is Alanis Morissette's You Oughta Know. It has a line that goes something like this: will SHE go down on YOU in a theatre?’ (asking the guy who dumped her what makes his new girl better), and another: Are you thinking of me when you f..k her? I suppose these lines will be by-passed, but surely there are thousands of songs more suitable for exposure on a TV channel whose representatives disliked Ms Ga-Ga's shoe heels. There's a smell of double standards here.

Lady G-G proceeded to give some not too bad advice to the remaining four contestants. The only one of the four who seemed pretty cool with the encounter with this strange 21st century musical icon was Haley Reinhart. The other three, each for their own reason felt well out of their comfort zones interacting with the Big G. Scotty felt the need to kiss his prominently displayed cross necklace (I hope this was ironic on his part, but I wouldn't bet on it). James admitted in interview later that he was very uncomfortable when Big G got close behind him to demonstrate how he should do sexy hip swings when performing Love Potion No. 9. I didn't see anything untoward in this - it seemed perfectly proper from our camera angle. The youngest contestant, Lauren, had chosen to sing Leiber & Stoller's Trouble, which contains a line "I'm evil, evil evil as can be...." which she coyly wondered about the wisdom of singing. I was on BigG's side here....."see the fun in it", she told Lauren. Lauren still seemed unsure and overly demure. My advice would be: Caahhme on girl! If you don't want to call yourself evil in song - sing another darn song - Leiber and Stoller wrote many other belters.

The night's flashpoint though was the criticism of Haley's rendition of a song she found inspiring: Michael Jackson's Earth Song. That song inspires me too - far more than any of the other three choices:
Scotty: Alan Jackson's Where Were You (a song about....yep 9/11 - maudlin and way past its sell-by date - but it mentions God and Jesus, so that's okay then).
James: Journey's Don't Stop Believin' which was not bad, but didn't inspire me much.
Lauren: Martina McBride's Anyway, which could have been a good song if the writer had avoided that "God is great" line. Idol's main body of viewers is said to be in the south of the US: the Bible Belt - a little pandering goes a long way huh?

Randy Jackson and Jennifer Lopez panned Haley's performance to the nth degree, while giving the other three great praise without a single criticism, and there was room for citicism in all cases. Only Steven Tyler supported Haley, with "Don't listen to them Haley - they're wrong!"

Randy and J-Lo told Haley she "screamed it". Well, when you're inspired by lines such as
What have we done to the world?
Look what we've done.
What about all the peace,
That you pledge your only son?

Did you ever stop to notice,
All the children dead from war?
Did you ever stop to notice,
This crying Earth its weeping shores?

What about the common man
(What about us).....
What about children dying
(What about us)....
And so on...... you'd tend to want to scream!

But wait, I'm forgetting something important.

American Idol is aired on FOX TV, owned by Rupert Murdoch. Tool of The Machine! It has been reported that he was in the audience on Wednesday evening too.

So it's fine to sing songs about 9/11 and God, Jesus and suchlike, but not about dead children, peace, the state of the Earth - that kind of "socialist tripe"????
A couple of the judges even said that Earth Song wasn't a hit song. It might not have been big in the USA (I wonder why) but it was HUGE in the UK and Europe.

Haley, however, came back in the second half with Leiber & Stoller's I Who Have Nothing and nailed it better than anyone since the UK's Shirley Bassey, long ago, and received a standing ovation from judges and audience.

There's yet another angle to this scenario.

It has become more and more clear as seasons go by how much audience manipulation is truly going on. Rather than the show's purported aim to find a singer who could become a musical idol in the USA, it has turned into a show to see how cleverly the audience can be led by the nose to vote for certain contestants (the ones most likely to be $$$$$$$$$$$$$-earners for the producers and their record company associates). Viewers' emotions are manipulated by a variety of means: polarising their likes/dislikes, being led by judges'comments, reverse psychology. These ploys have a dual purpose. They guarantee future ratings and steer the "right ones" to the winner's enclosure.

The consequence was, that if the producers were aiming to rake in millions of sympathy votes for Haley by using crafty reverse psychology, they succeeded.

American Idol itself has competition now, from NBC's new show The Voice. There's no bad publicity, so any publicity Idol can dredge up will ensure that people write about it and viewers will tune in to see what it's all about. They'd be saying "Gotcha!" to me, if they knew of my blog's existence.

Final 3 will sing on Wednesday, three songs each, to be chosen by judges, mentor and the singers themselves. So: two teenage country-style singers versus one 20-year old sassy blues/jazz gal. One contestant will be eliminated during a results show on Thursday; the Grand Finale will air a week later, not sure of the exact day. I don't dare to predict the winner. Idol producers and FOX TV in their current mood could even try to override the planets.


Wisewebwoman said...

As you know, T, I don't have a TV but always interested in your posts on media.
Of course all are owned by the theocorporatocracy and of course they will swing the votes through whatever manipulations works.
I am reminded again and again of Fahrenheit 451, so prescient.

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ Yes, that description of Montag's house, with complete walls being TV screens broadcasting whatever "they" wanted to insert into the minds of the hapless population.


Nasty as it all is I'll carry on standing guard at the Idol gates - it's a dirty job but somebody has to do it.

Rossa said...

Will you watch the American version of The X Factor T?

Twilight said...

Rossa ~~~ Hi! We'll give it a go when it starts to air this Fall.
It'll be interesting to see how it compares to Idol. I saw one season of the UK version, I think, memory of it is hazy - I think it was drawing to finale just as we moved to the USA.

There's a glut of talent shows in the offing here in the US - all trying to ride on the coat tails of Idol.

We have The Voice currently, as well as a country music talent show on CMT (can't remember the title). America's Got Talent is due to begin after Idol finishes at the end of May. The X Factor is coming this Fall as well as another season of a group a capella talent show called The Sing-Off.

Phew! By the time the next Idol season comes around we'll be well sickened of talent shows!