January 18, 2006

"I've always wanted to be on a plane -- uh -- it's kind of a silly dream..."

That's a beautiful, classic "American Idol" quote. If you think the show is just a lot of deluded, narcissistic Americans, you need to see Garet Johnson, a cowboy, who's never sung in public, who sings Elton John's "Can You Feel the Love Tonight," and who has no money for lessons and doesn't even have a place in a church choir to learn something. It's heartbreaking.

He's from "a town of 4 people," "just a cowboy that loves to sing" -- only ever sung in front of a turkey, and says "I need to sing for people." Maybe the show is just manipulating me at this point, but -- damn! -- it works. I break down in tears.


Paul is a Hermit said...

I saw it, I didn't have the same take as you but now I feel really bad. I hope they don't have to spend a lot because he can't get much further.

tiggeril said...

Unfortunately, his sweetness was offset by the last guy, who is in desperate need of some therapy.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

I heard him talk and then I heard him sing and I thought: Jim Nabors as Gomer Pyle.

Chris O'Brien said...

The last guy..what was he, 17 years old?.. blamed his rejection on America's small mindedness because he caterwauled a song written from a woman's point of view and claimed the criticsm emanated from the racism(huh?) and prejudice that exemplifies the "America of American Idol"...totally forgetting the fact that the bulk of the criticism came from a Brit.

But the upsetting part is that kids learn this faux-victimization nonsense from somewhere.

AndOhByTheWay if America's small mindedness for allegedly rejecting any male contestant who does not - shall we say - epitomize the ideals of masculinity, there are a zillion teenage girls and housewives with Aiken hearts for a certain former runner up that might refute that.

Mark Daniels said...

I've never seen the show, Ann. But from your description, it sounds like the old "Queen for a Day" show that was on when we were kids. That never made me cry. But it did make me laugh.

Mark Daniels

Michael said...

I cried too.

Best line was Seacrest's comparing a turkey (puffed chest and wrinkly neck) to Simon.

Lonesome Payne said...

Yeah. It's almost too much to believe. But you want to believe, and there really isn't much reason not to. You sure pegged the quote, Ann.

What I love about these early rounds is; all the wonderful, lively people putting a lot of energy just into living. You know?

Seacrest is a funny guy, too. Very dry reactions to things.

Eli Blake said...

Funny how things work out though. That fat Hawaiian dude that was always off key ended up making almost as much money afterwards as the winners.

And don't knock the comments. I live in a town like that (we always joke that a shopping center here is a mechanics shop with a vending machine in the back).

But it does have its advantages. I can send my kids over to the neighbors house and not have to worry that they will get shot at on the way there. And there has not been a murder or a rape here within memory.

michael farris said...

Since I don't live in the states I've never seen the American version of the British franchise "Pop Idol". I have seen the Polish version (I've only seen two of the three? four? editions) called simply Idol and bits and pieces of the German version (my favorite German contestant sang Papa Don't Preach and made it to the finals with no discernible singing ability and has recently been spotted in a commercial, but I forget the product).

Anyway, what I thought right away was that the parade of singers are transitory guest stars, the show lives or dies by the chemistry between the jury members (the Polish version toyed with the membership a little in one addition with really bad results).

What I noticed about the contestants that make it to the higher stages is that they're mostly unformed and uninteresting as people and have no judgement as to what material is appropriate for their (sometimes considerable) talent. They're aspiring performers but not close to being artists yet.

Also toward the end of the first version, one of the jury members, a music journalist, wrote an interesting story (probably available online but in Polish) about the experience where he catalogued the unsuccessful applicants (especially at the first stage) into three categories, which he called professionals, discontents and showmen.

The first (who also account for most of the finalists) are figures on the edges of show business trying to make it into the mainstream. The ones who get turned away at the beginning (to their amazement) are sometimes very good copies of already successful performers who just aren't original enough to stand out.

The discontents (the great majority of applicants) are generally unsatisfied with their lives and looking for a change, any change. When they get turned away they either move on to the next thing or resent the jury for blocking the exit from their mundane worlds.

The showmen have no illusions about actually going any further, they just want to be on TV for a few seconds and will be as outrageous as possible to try to achieve that. A lot of the really 'inept' applicants are really showmen who realize that acquired cluelessness is a good way to make it on the air.

Don't know how this applies to the American version.

Truly said...

Michael Farris--

Do you have a link for that story? It wasn't by that goofball Andrzej, was it?

michael farris said...


It was by LeszczyƄski (nickname Mopman), the original story was in Wyborcza and is probably hidden in their archives now, but I did find an interview with him were he says pretty similar things but also points out that a lot of the desperaci (great word, loses a lot in translation) think that Idol is a reality show that will give them in image.

Also, interestingly the Polish version hasn't produced much in the way of hits, the Polish music market (such as it is) is oriented more toward album sales than the hit singles Idol is about. The runner up of the first show is the only one to have anything like a real career.


Troy said...

I think the kid "could" do it if he gets past his horrific nerves and can get some help (someone will help this kid for free).

As to his demeanor,etc. It's people like that who make life for the pinky-raisers of the world possible, so some respect should be paid.

It looked to me like all 3 judges were sincerely touched and bemused -- and Paula was the hard-ass who said "No."

Zachary's mom should be flogged.

Unknown said...

No, it's not Queen for a Day, it's Ted Mack's Amateur Hour!

Always makes for good TV, and so the shows are recycled again and again and...

I also shed a tear for the cowboy. I was surprised by it--he got to me.

stoqboy said...

I never watched this show before, but I saw the kid you are talking about. I said to my wife as he was singing that he had an interesting voice but no concept of singing and that he needed lessons. I hope he gets them, too, because if he doesn't, the next time you see him he's going to look like a dimwitted buffoon.

Jen Bradford said...

This is bound to sound snarky, but he made me think of Michigan J. Frog. His voice sounded unlikely, somehow.

Brendan said...

I break down in tears.

I must be a heartless bastard, 'cause my eyes never got moist.

How 'bout the nerve of that last kid? He 1) has long hair like a girl, 2) talks like a girl, and 3) dresses like a girl, yet exploded at Simon because he confused him for a girl! The kid has issues.