The premise of a show like American Idol is to find the best singers in the country and let them go toe to toe in a karaoke style contest in which viewers of the show vote and have a say in the outcome every week. The show has been popular since the first season, and former idols winners and losers for that matter have gone on to achieve great success. Former loser Jennifer Hudson recently won an Academy Award, and season one winner Kelly Clarkson is a best selling artist and Grammy Award winner.
Recently their has been a call to arms to vote for the worst, which at this point happens to be Sanjaya Malakar, a moppet haired guy with no discernable singing talent. This is of course a fine mess and there are a few problems with voting for the worst:
The self proclaimed king of all media, Howard Stern, is requesting that his listeners vote for the worst contestant, the aforementioned Malakar. There should be someone questioning the motivation of Stern. Is her completely bored, after earning a truck load of money after switching to satellite radio? Rumor has it that that the company may be going out of business and perhaps Stern wanted some listeners to trickle over after the controversy.
Another company, website Vote for the Worst is trying to make a name by piggybacking on the success of American Idol. There is of course tons of information on what they perceive to be the problem of American Idol, the unfair practices of the judging process on how contestants are picked and moved on throughout the contest.
The fact that there are t shirts with the logo of the company being sold begs the question of whether or not their reasons are altruistic. They make the argument that they care about the great contestants being passed over for a myriad of reasons. I wonder if they are donating their profits to this undiscovered talent.
Ruining American Idol
While voting for the worst contestant may seem like fun at first, it can have long term effects on American Idol. Maybe Stern wants to see how much muscle he actually has to see if he can actually get his legions of fans to follow his edict and determine the outcome of the American Idol race. If it holds perhaps Stern can put his evil genius to good use and help elect the next president in 2008. Yet Idol will be ruined in the process.
Viewers like to look at A.I. in the beginning of the season to see the misfits and delusional people who think they may actually have some form of singing talent. However, we all know that we could not look at a series of terrible singers all season long. Viewers will begin to tune out in droves if the only option is to tune in week after week to see only the most mediocre of contestants. Not to mention the unfairness of booting legitimate singers such as Stephanie Edwards. They deserve their time to shine as well and are being robbed of the chance by a cruel grassroots campaign.
Singers like Sanjaya Malakar and Antonella Barber belong between the pages of Star Magazine and the National Enquirer in their Where are They Now section. In the meantime, tune out Stern and the opportunists from the website Vote for the Worst. Let them hawk their merchandise elsewhere or by piggybacking on hard work of someone else.