"American Idol: The Search for a Superstar" Review
By Shawn McKenzie 06/14/2002
I may have gone into this show a little prejudiced. I wasn't sure I was going to like "American Idol: The Search for a Superstar" when I first heard about it. You see, I never saw a single episode of "Popstars" or "Popstars 2" and "Making the Band" got old fast for me. You could see why I was a little hesitant at first to review this show.
Then I started hearing the good things about the show. First off, "American Idol" is the American version of "Pop Idol," a show in the U.K. that took the country by storm (more than 70% of the 16-34 audience tuned in to the finale.) The winner, Will Young, currently has the number one U.K. single, "Light My Fire." Unlike "Popstars," the winner will be one person instead of a group and the ultimate winner will be chosen by the viewers. The judges cropping the field down from thousands of potential Superstars are singer/dancer/choreographer Paula Abdul, Jackson family brother Randy Jackson, and record executive Simon Cowell (who also was a judge on "Pop Idol.") Finally, it is airing on FOX, the geniuses of reality TV!
When I started watching it, I started discovering other hidden gems...the main one being Cowell. He is bloodthirsty! He does not pull any punches or hold anything back when he tells the contestants what he thinks about them. When one contestant tries to tell Cowell off after he has been told by Cowell that he needs to lose about 100 pounds, he tells the contestant that the reason he didn't make it and never will is because he is a loser and always will be. I am normally a very nice guy, so it is a bit of escapism to witness someone be completely honest yet rude and crass!
As for the other judges, it was interesting to see how different they were. Abdul always tried to play the peacemaker. She would sympathize with the losing contestants. She would almost cry when she told them the bad news. She kept bringing up how she had been rejected several times before she finally made it. Jackson was like Switzerland. He didn't insult the losers, but he didn't sympathize with them either. He just seemed to be mostly quiet, mainly just talking to the other judges or when he was addressed personally (like when the contestant that Cowell berated suggested that they could both lose some weight, in which he replied that he didn't need to because he wasn't trying to become a pop star.)
Like "Popstars," the first rounds were the ugliest and most tone-deaf contestants you will ever see. There are a couple of things that I think most aspiring pop stars will have to come to grips with: they have to have talent AND they have to be good-looking! They can't just have one. Honestly, can you think of an ugly successful pop star performing today? There are plenty in the fields of rap, rock, and country (though most country artists today are better looking than artists of the past), but pretty much every pop star is a hottie. If you disagree, give me your example of an ugly pop star on the Entertain Your Brain Message Board on the home page.
The one complaint I have is over the show's useless hosts, Brian Dunkleman and Ryan Seacrest. Their attempts to be funny come across as just stupid. If this show gets a second season, I hope they dump these two goofballs.
Overall "American Idol" is a fun one. In the summer when we are usually drowning in reruns, it's good to know that these cheap-to-make reality shows can be highly entertaining too. I will be curious to see if the winner of this show goes on to huge musical success like its U.K. counterpart Will Young and even the runner-up Gareth Gates (who has also had some big hits across the pond as well.) Since I am a closet pop music fan, I might be whistling his or her highly-produced pop hit by this time next year!
DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW!
Try to catch this show every week...
If a better show is on, tape this one...
If nothing else is on, maybe this will be good...
If this show is on, change the channel immediately!