American Idol Diva Dumpstering – Trashy Drama

I wonder sometimes if we are paying too high a price for our bread and circuses? Watching diva drama seems like a terribly inflated price to pay in order to see new talent in the making. Ouch! I don’t know about you, but I feel gouged. And more than a little ashamed for watching it. Clearly the contestants on American Idol, many of whom seem like good kids, were not only uncomfortable, but anxious, when the judges started fighting among themselves recently. It wasn’t a pretty sight. One contestant this week asked them (in all humility as she was leaving) to please try to get along. This from a young lady who doesn’t have the advantages of the diva queen/idol lifestyle, or the rich and famous entertainment kings for that matter. I cheered for her, and for the fact that the judges at  least had the decency to looked a little abashed.

Not that I believe for a second that this trashy diva dumpstering wasn’t part of the dramatic staging (the hook and line, if you will) to win the great fishing contest called ratings. After all, who in television’s world public wants to just watch raw talent from deserving youth and young adults? Who wants to just hear their stories? Who could possibly want to watch a show where the “only entertainment” is to watch them at least get a glimpse of the ladder of success, maybe even get a foot on a rung or two?

I don’t mean I think it was scripted. That might be hard to do unless the contestant was in on it, too. But the producers could tell the judges to take advantage of opportunities for diva drama. That wouldn’t be hard to do at all. And with famous people who make a living looking for ways to “pop” with the public, it would be easy to allow their egos full rein. Like tossing a snowball on a downhill grade and watching it grow into an avalanche. It worked, didn’t it? They got talked about and interviewed on all the hot shows, blogs, webs, etc, so that all the spotlight was on them and not the contestants at all. Did it boost ratings? I don’t know. Maybe. But what a shameful way to do it.

On the other hand, I call those poor contestants who have deluded themselves about any talent at all another shameful guilt I could do without. With the cameras rolling and the judges poking fun at people who are clearly unstable or socially inept, it’s like watching a “bear baiting”, an old term for a public show where someone earned a few coins by poking sticks at a helpless animal, mainly a caged or manacled bear, tormenting it for laughs. That’s what this is. The worst kind of bullying. But nobody admits it.

Another kind of bullying is disguised as “helping” the contestant by giving him or her the benefit of the judges’ years of experience in the music industry. Well . . . there’s helping — as in constructive criticism — and “helping” by sticking a knife in a contestant’s heart. That helps, alright. The show. Not the contestant. It may even be in the judges’ job description to throw in a certain number of cutting remarks, just to keep viewers from drifting off to the kitchen, perhaps. Yeah. That helps, alright. Like a terrible two’s toddler “helps” his mother with the cooking.

Case in point. Contestant Summer Cunningham, a 20-year-old from Georgia, and an obviously talented contestant, was put in an extremely awkward position by judge Keith Urban. Though, in all fairness, it did seem as if Keith was well and truly pee-oh-ed when Summer said she had “tried country” when asked about her music preference.

My take was that Summer was essentially saying that she liked all kinds of music and was incorporating various styles, including country. Getting caught up in the “all or nothing” debate about what niche she saw herself in, Summer was clearly taken aback. And who wouldn’t be? When she tried to explain herself, Niki Minaj saw her as being scared into lying, and entertainment pundits saw it as backpedaling. Give the girl a break!! Summer Cunningham is obviously a top quality singer, so what’s wrong with us enjoying her journey to the pigeonhole before she gets stuffed into it?

Keith Urban is our clan’s American Idol 2013 favorite judge because he seems to have character as well as personality to go along with his country stardom. I say “seems to”. I know nothing about him except what I see as a judge on American Idol, except his famous wife, of course. You’d have to be dead not to have garnered that bit of trivia. Keith seems to have a heart for people, and yet, he takes exception to this 20-year-old fledgling hopeful from Georgia who is just trying her wings. Just how was this young Georgia girl supposed to know that simply saying she “tried country” (with her own variations), would be a giant red flag in front of a bull crap panel.

And where does Keith, who led the bandwagon of country purists, get off getting so riled in the first place? It was like slapping a toddler because he fell down. Don’t the judges realize that most of these young artists are not “there”, yet? They are in the process of “becoming”. Sure. The judges rave over contestants who seem to have been born full-blown with hands grafted to a microphone and ready to take center stage. But does the audience like it? For my part, I like the ones who are really good, have a modicum of humility, and are willing to learn and to grow. You can keep your Athena’s born full-blown and in armor from Zeus’s head. I have little interest in them.

Niki is our least favorite judge with her irritating nasal twang, crazy talk, and over-the-top Madonna/Lady Gaga imitation, though apparently she’s made a paying career of it. But at times she does seem to have some human feeling that doesn’t come to us through the looking-glass. And I don’t mean her hand mirror. So I give Niki a yellow ticket for the courage to buck the big three in their bullying. I’m just sorry the contestants, and especially Summer Cunningham, had to be caught in the middle of this tawdry high noon showdown in the middle of Main Street, USA. And I’m sorry I sat and watched it.

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12 thoughts on “American Idol Diva Dumpstering – Trashy Drama

    • Thanks, Julia. Henry and Tammy are here with Mike and me, and we just read your comment and had a good chuckle. Henry just said he never knew Granddad Smith’s name. He just called him Granddad. Mike enlightened him. Ha.

  1. Well, basically I agree with you. I absolutely HATE Idol this season. Whoever had the idea of adding Niki Minaj to the judging panel should be blackballed from TV. I can’t stand to look at her, hear her speak, or watch her ridiculous antics……she’s way too over-the-top and NOT a team player. She’s made the judging panel a laughing stock. When did Idol become a competition to see who’s the best judge instead of the best singer?

    Randy has never been one of my favorite judges, but he does know music and makes more-or- less helpful comments when they get to the live shows. I’m not a devoted counry fan, but Keith Urban is a first-rate country singer, a gentleman of the highest order and I like him. I think he’ll be great during the live shows. And then there’s Mariah. She’s very talented and has been a top-selling artist for years. I don’t doubt that her critiques will be helpful eventually. But for now? She obviously thinks Niki is a jerk and a show off. And I agree with her. Mariah’s eyerolls are priceless.

    I completely agree with you about the less- and no-talent contestants. They shouldn’t even be shown. They are merely jokes and subjects for ridicule. You know they are there for that reason alone because there’s NO way they could get through the preliminary eliminations.

    This is just the auditions. I hope when they whittle down the field we’ll see some good singing and some real judging…..not this Three Stooges comedy show. I have watched “The Voice” since it first aired. They have REAL singers and REALjudges who are helpful and articulate. It’s a REAL talent show not the travesty that Idol has become. If Idol is this ridiculous when the live shows start, I’ll be outta there.

  2. Very perceptive. I agree totally with your comment on Niki Monaj that “She’s made the judging panel a laughing stock”. And I appreciate your sharing your view of Keith Urban – that he is a gentleman. It shows in all I’ve seen of him on the show. At the expense of sounding “uncool”, his whole demeanor looks masculinely sweet and sensitive, which would, of course, make him a great artistas well as human being. That’s why I was so upset when he put that girl (Summer Cunningham) on the defensive. It seemed out of character for him. But you could tell he was truly angry with her comment. I can see that it could be interpreted in various different ways, but the things one says when on the spot may not come out as one intended, or may not be interpreted as one intended.I still feel Summer was trying to say she was working on putting her own spin on things by dabbling in various genres of music. I am again watching Idol because I’m so bored with everything else on television, which can’t seem to decide between new season or old. This flip-flop from a new show one week to a re-run the next is very very irritating. But, I digress. I have enjoyed several of the contestants this year, but only time will tell (if Niki doesn’t drive us screaming from the TV set) if they are good for the long run. I love getting your take on things, so keep it coming. You are good enough to have your own blog for music. I just mouth what I like and don’t like from a plain old viewer point of view. You know music.

    • Keith jumped on Summer when she said, “I’ve done the country thing,” but it was Niki who made a big deal out of it. She was ridiculous and it got totally out of control. And Mariah was doing some major eyerolls while Niki was ranting. It was disgusting. Given half a chance I think Mariah would be a good judge, but she has NO patience with Niki’s antics. Neither do I.

      It”s odd. I never used to like country music, but country music has really crossed over into pop. I like Keith Urban, Blake Sheldon (discovered him because of “The Voice”) and Carrie Underwood. There are still some “twangy” country artists I don’t care for, but there are more and more that I do.

      You give me too much credit. LOL I may have a background rooted in music, but it still boils down to what we like. I just can’t see Idol being a success this season with Niki on board. I hope they fire her before the live shows start. I don’t want to suffer through her running off her mouth for the entire season.

      When with “So You Think You Can Dance” be back? *sigh*

      ION, have you heard Il Volo’s new CD? It’s wonderful and oh my, how their voices have grown. And the baby of the group, Gianluca, will be 18 on February 11th. They’re growing up.

      • Hope to see it back soon. Oh by the way. Il Volo remains one of my most popular posts, receiving some hits almost daily. The other tops are, believe it or not, the posts on Perry Mason, Gene Kelly, and 13th Warrior. The lagging series I’m doing on Edward Scissorhands is my runaway best post. My top posts are all over the place, but I especially enjoy seeing readers tuning in to Il Volo. Like my old friend did for me, I like sharing the things that make me smile or make me think. And, as you do, I enjoy getting other people sharing theirs with me. Through this blog my own world has widened. I really love it. February marks my first year for blogging.

      • Mariah Carey is our second favorite judge after Keith. Everyone knows her singing and she seems to have a head on her shoulders. As for Randy, I like him because he’s the last of the original judges and does know music. He’s just hard to warm up to, but I’d really hate to see him leave.

        Since I grew up in The South I grew up with country. I remember The Grand Ole Opry on radio, and then TV. As a teen I was just “too cool” for country, but in later years developed a full appreciation for both the old and new. I realized the old was part of my heritage.

        Haven’t heard the new Il Volo CD. I look forward to it. I gave my old one to an older friend who guided my spiritual and literary education when I was a child. She introduced me to Les Miserables (the novel), Jane Eyre, etc. When I shared the Il Volo CD with her at lunch one day, she loved it so much I presented it to her. She told me later she played it every night to help rest her mind for sleep. I hate to see them grow up, but, alas, it’s the way of things. (Except in our hearts maybe).

      • Good for you giving your Il Volo CD to a friend who’s important to you, but I don’t know how you could bear to part with it ??? I don’t listen to mine a lot anymore because now I love the CD transcribed from their “Il Volo Takes Flight” DVD. The DVD is phenomenal and if you haven’t seen it you really should. It’s a special show they did on October 27, 2011 in Detriot that was filmed by PBS. The DVD and CD are available at amazon.com. It’s a delight to see how they work the audience. Their new CD is titled “We Are Love.” Here is one of the songs on it. I think it’s gorgeous. It’s my favorite track on the new CD.

        I like Randy Jackson. He’s usually spot on with his comments about the contestants. As you said, he’s the anchor and I hope he stays with the show for the long haul.

  3. Absolutely gorgeous, isn’t it? Here’s something else you may enjoy. This man is 84 years old and has been deaf for the past two decades. He’s a retired Vancouver doctor who only started flying kites 30 years ago. He is a world champion multiple kite flyer and holds the world record for the most kites in the air at one time…39!!! The first time I saw this it made me cry because it was so beautiful. Be sure to watch to the end to see how he lands the last kite. The music is gorgeous, too, so be sure your sound is on. It’s best enjoyed full screen. Enjoy!

    • “Oh by the way. Il Volo remains one of my most popular posts, receiving some hits almost daily.”

      Wow, I guess your readers know quality when they see it. *g*

      And congratulations on your coming blogging anniversary. I only wish you were at Live Journal (where I blog) instead of here. Word Press leaves a GREAT deal to be desired. I guess it doesn’t use cookies because I have to log in every time I leave a comment.. I can’t make words bold or in itallics in comments. There’s no spell checker for comments. I can’t post photos…..I could go on and on.

      A lot of people use Word Press so I don’t understand why the maintainers haven’t improved it. And it’s nearly impossible to navigate. I STILL can’t figure out how to customize my layout. I can’t even find where it tells how to do it. I found it once by accident, but have never found it again.

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