Five annoying American Idol cliches

by Jason Hughes, posted Apr 29th 2008 1:20PM
American Idol JudgesThe fine folks over at AOL Television put together their "11 Biggest American Idol Cliches," but as the self-proclaimed guru of all things Idol, I figured my legions of fan (yes it's singular on purpose) are clamoring for my take. You have to figure that after nearly eight years on the air any show is going to rack up it's long, long list of annoying things.

And yet, I don't get nearly as annoyed when Jeff Probst yells "Come on in guys. [Team A] getting their first look at the new [Team B]. [Contestant Name] voted out at the last tribal council," even though he does it every single week. "[Team members], you're the last team to arrive. I'm sorry to tell you that you've both been eliminated from The Amazing Race." No big deal. So why do Ryan, Simon and the gang at American Idol drive us so crazy week after week?

AOL covered some big ones because god knows there's only so many horrific group numbers I can stand before I want to gouge out my eyes and run into traffic. And the bickering between Simon and Ryan, and in fact the whole banter between the three judges and Ryan, has reached a level of predictable torture I find myself wanting to just fast-forward to the competition.

Don't they have an obligation to provide us with the best possible product week in and week out? I know they've made strides toward improving the show this year (with some hits and some major misses) so how about letting go of some of these cliches and embracing something new. Maybe it's time to bring in a cute kid to distract the audience. It worked for The Brady Bunch, The Cosby Show and Archie Bunker's Place (All in the Family); by "worked" I mean it didn't work at all. Then the audience can forget that you're running out of new ideas. Maybe the American Idol "crying girl" from last year can co-host.

Need more American Idol? Get an inside look at Season 7's contestants and think back to these scathing (and hilarious) Simon Cowell quotes.
Also: Don't forget to choose your favorite Idol!
1) The Song Ending Idol "Power Note"
AOL touched on this with their "'Head Up/Arm Out' High Note," but I'm going to be a lot less forgiving than that. For seven years now we've been hearing these contestants cram in a "big ole" note at the end of songs in which it has no place just because they can and they think it impresses us. It doesn't. It annoys us. And it doesn't matter what pose they strike when they do, when you inject a wailing screech at the end of "What a Wonderful World" you deserve to have trees of green fall on you.

2) Simon's Comparisons
"That was like falling down without wearing a shirt on a freshly tarred street where a pigeon had recently died in ninety-five degree (Fahrenheit) weather so that the tar is a little melted and sticky and the feathers are coming off the bird. What I mean to say is it's not as bad perhaps as being tarred and feathered all the way, but just a little bit." What? What the hell does that mean? Did you like the singing? The performance bit? Does she make funny faces? Did he look like he was constipated when he squatted over there like that? What? Tell us what you're thinking. For the record, over in the UK on his own The X-Factor, Simon seems to not only be more interested in the show than here but also has much more direct and sensible criticism. Has he become a cartoon of himself in America?

3) Fake Contestants In The Early Rounds
You know what I'm talking about. Those radio morning show interns who are sent to the Idol auditions with the sole intention of making a big "fake" ass out of themselves to try and "trick the system" and get on television. But they're not all affiliated with radio shows. Now that people know they can get on television by not having talent as much as they can by being able to sing, the number of poseurs has skyrocketed. From drunken bets to sorority-house initiation dares there are countless people that show up pretending to be some personality that they're not. Let us have our William Hungs and other true originals without your fake asses turning it into a circus please.

4) The "Song and Dance" To Get To the Bottom Three/Two
The worst offender among these is when we get to the Top 7. For as many years as I can remember they've created two groups of three on the stage and forced the last person, usually a fan-favorite (David Archuleta this year), to pick which group is the Top Three to join them. A new cliche starting up could be that person sitting in the center of the stage and refusing to take a side as Melinda Doolittle did last year and David this year. It's annoying and stupid to play these kinds of mind games on these kids, and insult our time and intelligence at home. Just get to it. AOL's also right about the slow peeling of the band-aid with the constant "After the break." Just rip it off already and send 'em home bleeding!

5) Theme Weeks Gone Wild
It didn't start off so bad, but it's gotten to the point the themes are out of control. Maybe we should just scrap them altogether. First of all, starting us off with themes at The Top 24 this year was a terrible idea. And whatever happened to "R&B Week" or "Rock & Roll Week." Now we get "Mariah Carey Week" and "Songs Gene Simmons likes to take a crap to." The themes are getting way too narrow and specific. Add to that the newly added insult of the producer-selected song list of 30 or so that the contestants can choose from within that theme and it gets even worse. Because non-singing TV producers are going to know what are the best choices over ... I don't know ... singers?!

I miss the old American Idol from the first two seasons. It's become an industry unto itself and just like you can't expect the same down-home customer service and care from SUPERMEGAMART as you can from Ma's Corner Market, apparently we can't have the bygone fun and innocent days of Kelly Clarkson or even Clay and Ruben. Remember when we'd go back to the house they were staying at and see what fun they were up to there? It really added a sense of humanity and a personable touch to the contestants. It made us understand them a bit more as people and connect to them. Why don't they do that anymore?

Now we get Coca-Cola sponsored moments where David Archuleta's sisters can hug him, or Chris Daughtry can tell us he wears boxer-briefs. The innocence of the contestants is lost under the weight of success and sponsorship (kind of like professional sports). I guess American Idol is falling victim to its own successes. Will it right the ship or allow ratings to continue to slip until we hear Ryan say "American Idol will be canceled ... right after this break."

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I love American Idol live. You just never know what Paula will do. I've long suspected she slips in and out of consciousness but I never realized she was slipping in and out of the present too.

April 30 2008 at 1:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Phish

dont forget "forgetable". is that even a word?

and also randy's "molten hot".

April 30 2008 at 12:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rachel Gamin

"Pitchy" is my biggest all-time Idol Peeve.

"Pitchy" is not a word. I promise you. I'm a professional performing musician and music teacher and there is NO SUCH WORD. If anything, it would be a GOOD thing to be "pitchy" in that apparently, your performance contained recognizable pitches. I hate more than anything in the world that musically naive people now use it because they can recognize poor intonation, but the only words they know are either "pitchy" or "off key" (which is closer, but doesn't really have any actual meaning).

May I suggest: "Your intonation sucked"; "You were so flat it made my ears bleed" ; "If you were any more sharp, I might have poked my own eyes out on that performance."

April 29 2008 at 5:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dave

Watch when Ryan introduces the three judges. When he introduces Simon, Randy always boos. Always.

April 29 2008 at 4:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dkny

"it was a little pitchy for me"

April 29 2008 at 4:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nickmagoo

didn't fantasia sit down when she did 'summertime?' that's still my favorite preformance on idol. i can barely watch it anymore - i'll record and ff through 3/4 of it - 15 min is about all i can take of that insipid garbage...with the occasional inspired performance...

April 29 2008 at 3:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rocketboy_X

Hey Dawg, how could you forget Randy saying Dawg constantally? Come on Dawg, you can't let us Dawgs down with this dawg-gone oversite.

Dawg.

April 29 2008 at 3:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Rocketboy_X's comment
starky22

Not to mention "check it out." Aargh.

April 29 2008 at 6:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sam

Taylor Hicks chose wrong:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=mduVDrnrRi4

April 29 2008 at 3:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rick cokely

Next year they should change the format to make it more like America's Next Top Model where most of the time is spent watching the gang at the house, their personal interactions, and making them win challenges that are barely related to singing. I also think they should dump Ryan and hire Tyra to host, or at the very least make Ryan wear Tyra's weave.

April 29 2008 at 3:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Marc

Taylor never 'sat down' on the stage for the Top 7. That honor goes to Melinda last year and Archie this year. Glad to clear that up for you.

April 29 2008 at 2:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Marc's comment
Wintermute

Melinda wasn't the first to do that, was she? The seasons are all starting to blur together to me, so it's hard for me to remember who was.

'mute

April 29 2008 at 3:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
PB

I think the first to sit down was Bo Bice ...

April 29 2008 at 3:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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