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American Idol

For my Reality TV post I decided to watch “American Idol�. As most of you know this is a show that was made to find hidden gems that can sing their hearts out. Millions of people from all over the United States audition for three judges in certain locations while they are on tour. At each location the judges choose the best singers out of the pack and allow them to move onto Hollywood to be judged more. Each week certain people are eliminated until finally about 20 are left. These 20 then perform on live television so that the viewers can vote for who should move on and who should go. The person left is the American Idol and usually ends up becoming a star in the music industry. The judges look for good vocals, performance ability, character, and sadly looks.

This show airs on Fox, which is one of the biggest networks in the world, is on later in the evening around 6:00 or 7:00.The purpose for this show is to literally find America’s Idol. Its intent is to scour the country for hidden musical talent that just needs a big break. The hope is that the person chosen and possibly a couple others will land a record contract that will allow them to fulfill their singing careers. It has proven to be affective in the past, which is why it’s probably still on the air each year. The targeted audience is pretty much every one of all ages, genders, and classes. The fact that it’s on later in the evening allows younger viewers to watch it after school while also allowing adults to watch it after a long day of work. The reason is because they want people of all ages to pick the person so that their musical talent can later on be bought by anyone when they make their first CD. This can also be seen by the commercials that air during the airing of the show. They have commercials for anything from beauty cosmetics, to insurance companies, to retirement funding. The people know that anybody and everybody will be watching the show so they try to get the commercials to appeal to all audiences as well. This allows the station to kill two birds with one stone.
I personally do love this show because it is a great opportunity for someone with musical talent. It is hard to make it in the music industry, so a big break like this could be all that someone needs. The only thing I don’t agree with is how the show goes about initially picking contestants that move onto Hollywood. They try to hide it a little, but for the most part it is known that people that don’t have the “idol look� they probably won’t make it to the finals. The “idol look� is obviously attractive, well brought up, and well kept like the pop stars such as Justin Timberlake or Britney Spears. There were numerous times throughout the show I watched where the judges made comments about how the person looked or how they weren’t singing the way they should. Apparently there’s a certain way these people have to look, act, dress, and sing in order to be the “American Idol�.
Essentially, what they are doing is promoting socialization when they say those things. They’re saying that if you don’t look like what you should look like you have no right to be here no matter how amazing your voice is. That’s a huge problem we have as a society in this world. Everything has to look a certain way to be normal and if it doesn’t we don’t accept those people. Even Bell Hooks states on page 35 of “Feminism is for Everybody� that “nowadays, in a fashion world, especially on the consumer side, clothing that looks like it has been designed simply for reed-thin adolescent girl bodies is the norm�. This is just another example of how girls aren’t “normal� unless they’re really skinny. I don’t know about you but when I’m listening to music I’m not thinking of how the person looks or how they act. Instead, I’m thinking of what they’re voice sounds like. I think the show would be a million times better if they didn’t even show the person singing. Block them out and just have the voice. By doing that you will get the best talent out there instead of just who looks the best.
It’s sad when a person that has more talent than anybody else there doesn’t move on to the next round because they’re not pretty enough or skinny enough or young enough. As Judith Lorber says on page 52 in Feminist Frontiers “For humans, the social is the natural�. We as a society have to move away from the norms that this world has made us think there are. This has to start with the media though and as you’ve heard this show isn’t helping the cause. I personally love this show, but some things definitely need to be changed in order to help change society’s views on what the norms are.