Wednesday, April 1, 2009

American Pity Party



Each season of American Idol brings another group of slightly talented people into our lives twice, sometimes three times, a week for a few months out of the year. Mostly, it's pleasant, harmless entertainment. Divas taking a dive at Whitney Houston and hitting their heads on the board on the way down. "Souful" Timberlake wannabe boys who think all they have to do to dance is bob their heads and bounce on their knees. The inevitable country crooner with their learned twang. The Rocker. The Quirk. The Old Soul. And always the Stevie Wonder songs.

Mostly, this leads to a pleasant evening. You are pleasantly surprised that these kids aren't all too bad. Sometimes you get to laugh at just how bad they are, like you would be better if it was you up there forced to sing "Stayin' Alive" during Bee Gees week and were told you had to "make it your own". Maybe they've picked a song you haven't thought of in ages and it brings you back to a happy time. Personalities win you over and you find yourself actually rooting for one or two contestants. Sometimes, dare I say, you actually vote for them if the mood strikes you just right.

Sometimes people jump out at you and you openly find yourself wondering why they haven't been discovered yet. Some of these people have real talent. They should be pop stars. If Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus can have a career, how can you say that season 5 runner up Katharine McPhee shouldn't be allowed to strut her stuff in her underwear on stage to a prerecorded track for lots and lots of money. She's just as pretty as those girls and her voice is better.

Sometimes you have seasons like last season, Season 7, where almost every contestant was worthy of the top spot and the actual winner has become one of my favorite artists in my iTunes collection.

But then sometimes, sometimes you have a season like this season. A season that brings you contestants that you know will never make it in the real world and you find yourself wondering how they even made it on this show in the first place and then somehow made it all the way to the Big Stage and then still haven't been voted off yet. How does this happen? Is America that tapped out of Idols? Is America really prepared to unleash this unto the world?:


This is Danny Gokey. Or Dead Wife Danny. Or Danny Jesse Raphael. He goes by many names. Sort of like the Anti-Christ. Danny is special. Danny is a good christian boy. He is the music director at his church. Danny has a lot of soul. Danny used to be married, but Danny's wife died of a heart condition. It's all very sad. Did I mention she died just 4 weeks before his audition? Oh, well I guess I assumed you already knew since it was all that was talked about for the first half of the season. Not that Danny wanted to talk about it. No. It hurt Danny too much to talk about. That is why he sobbed into the camera every chance he could and gave the American Idol producers video footage of his proposal to her and lots of pictures. Lots and lots of pictures.



Unfortunately for Danny, I liked him at first. When they first showed his audition, I genuinely liked his voice. He had a nice gravelly soul sound. I paid no attention to the backstory. It seemed Idol was really going for the backstory this season and I'm no novice to Idol manipulation. I liked his voice. That's all that matters.

But then it didn't stop. The wife was brought up over and over again. Danny couldn't stop talking about it over and over again, even though it hurt so much, he was just doing it to honor her memory. Honor it right to the bank. If he wasn't talking about her, he was singing songs like "Kiss From a Rose", "Hero", "I Hope You Dance", and, god bless him, "Jesus Take the Wheel".

So you may think, oh, that's sweet. What a sweet boy. He misses his wife so much. And look! He has different colored glasses frames to match each one of his outfits! How clever! Now where is my AT&T phone so I can text in a vote for this sweet young christian dead wife having man?

You may think that, but that is because you have not been fully watching. This guy is not only a douche for using his dead wife to get votes. He's just a douche in general. He loves and misses her so much, yet he has somehow lost his wedding ring. Now, I'm not saying you have to wear your wedding ring all the time, but it just seems odd. Especially when he is not wearing it while thrusting his genitals at me during group numbers while still being a good christian boy who misses his dead wife. He is obviously coddled in his life and has been told that he is so fucking special that he wears this I Can Do No Wrong grin on his face. And if the judges dare to criticize him even slightly, the grin quickly turns to a grimace. Like he's looking at Randy saying: "Listen, Dawg, me and god were tight before, but now my dead wife is up there and she will damn well make sure he smites your ass for even thinking that I might be a little pitchy, Dawg."

Not that the judges ever really criticize him. For some reason, out of the thousands and thousands of people who auditioned, they picked Danny Gokey as their guy. He is their American Idol and they will do everything to make it so. Even when he screams for Jesus to take the wheel and you know even Jesus is thinking, I'm not getting in the car with that freak. Because, scream, he does. The soul has given way to a shouting for attention. Like a kid in the backseat of the car who gets more and more frustrated that his parents are deep in conversation so he just keeps talking louder and louder until one of them yells "SHUT UP!" and then he's satisfied because at least he was acknowledged.

And let me say this: I am a wife. If I unexpectedly died, I damn well better not see my husband yucking it up on a game show four weeks later. Does he have to mourn forever? No. Does he have to mourn for even a month? Not necessarily, but it would be nice. It would at least show class. Which is the main ingredient missing in the Danny Gokey = Idol equation. And if, by some crazy reason, he decided going on American Idol was the only way he was going to get over me, then he damn well better not sing "Jesus Take the Wheel" because I will haunt him for eternity.
What's worse is all of the Danny Gokey fangirls out there that think he is sensitive. Like, because his wife died, he is sensitive and they want to be next in line to be his blushing bride and feel his pain and be the shoulder he cries on while remembering the late lady and fondling all his cold hard cash.

But, Danny Gokey or not, I will still keep watching this horror show of a season. But only because I can't get enough of Idolatry on EW's website and the recaps by Television Without Pity's Jacob, the best writer on the internet.

And because maybe, just maybe, someone will step out from under the oppressive American Idol Big Stage Backdrop and remind me of when the show can be good - no - Amazing. Like this performance from last year's finale:

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