America got it wrong

America. . .what is the matter with you? On “American Idol,” the two best performances of the previous night, Syesha’s and Carly’s, landed up when the votes were tallied as the bottom two! And Carly, the tatooed Irish lass who certainly belonged in the top three of the whole bunch, got voted off.

(In saying these two performances were the best, I’m not applying my own personal arcane tastes in classical music or alt country. The two did rock numbers–as much as Andrew Lloyd Weber can compose rock numbers–but they did them very, very well.)

Whereas the two worst performances, an awful performance of an awful song, “Memories,” by the dreadlocked Jason and an effort by Brooke in which she actually forgot the lyrics and had to start all over, made their perpetrators “safe.”

This is a terrible injustice. So was voting off the Australian, Michael Johns, but this conjunction of awarding the two worst and punishing the two best is just wrong.

This comes from letting little children have cell phones. The contest is in danger of being taken over by young girls enthralled by “cute” boys. (True, two of these–the two Davids–are worthy of winning. David Cook, I think, is the best, rocker though he is. David Archeleta, though, I predict, will win.)

The government needs to intervene. Congress should investigate. American Idol should be regulated. Those who vote more responsibly should get tax cuts. President Bush should send in the troops.

America, what are you going to do when making a more important decision, like picking a president?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    I think that, so long as 16-year-old girls still don’t have the vote, there’s hope for the republic.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    I think that, so long as 16-year-old girls still don’t have the vote, there’s hope for the republic.

  • Jay

    I’m not surprised by either Carly’s leaving or Brooke’s staying. I too think Carly can *really* sing. I like “big voiced” female vocals. Horrible song though. I hate that song, and apparently lots of other people do too. For me it borders on blasphemous. (Perhaps saying borders gives it too much credit.)

    I’m actually heartened by Brooke’s staying. America has always liked people who stumble, then get back up and do a good job. America apparently still likes nice people, and I for one am glad.

    I know it is a singing contest, but they all can sing. Apparently people are voting for personality, and other things as well. Why is that so bad?

    One final observation regarding Carly and Michael Johns; maybe you have to be American to be an American Idol? I hope that’s not true, but…

  • Jay

    I’m not surprised by either Carly’s leaving or Brooke’s staying. I too think Carly can *really* sing. I like “big voiced” female vocals. Horrible song though. I hate that song, and apparently lots of other people do too. For me it borders on blasphemous. (Perhaps saying borders gives it too much credit.)

    I’m actually heartened by Brooke’s staying. America has always liked people who stumble, then get back up and do a good job. America apparently still likes nice people, and I for one am glad.

    I know it is a singing contest, but they all can sing. Apparently people are voting for personality, and other things as well. Why is that so bad?

    One final observation regarding Carly and Michael Johns; maybe you have to be American to be an American Idol? I hope that’s not true, but…

  • Joe

    “The contest is in danger of being taken over by young girls enthralled by “cute” boys.”

    I don’t want to burst any bubbles here but American Idol is less about signing and more about which contestant is the most salable to the correct demographic or in some instances to the most demographics. It is really a show about being marketable.

  • Joe

    “The contest is in danger of being taken over by young girls enthralled by “cute” boys.”

    I don’t want to burst any bubbles here but American Idol is less about signing and more about which contestant is the most salable to the correct demographic or in some instances to the most demographics. It is really a show about being marketable.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer TK

    My theory is that many of the AI voters do not know the rock opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, and misinterpreted the song and the way Carly sang it. I wrote about it today on my blog, based on a comment I found at a popular American Idol commentary blog.

    “… Carly sang very good last night but maybe if she realized that “Superstar” was not a FUN song, but a song that is about Jesus dying and crying and asking why. She then would have connected with more passion to pull her thru…”

    Yikes!

    Also, I don’t think the tattoos help her, sad to say. I don’t like tattoos, but I know lots of good people with them so I’m not trying to be harsh. I’ve “battled” my own teen daughter on that point since she was 16 (I remain the victor on that point).

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer TK

    My theory is that many of the AI voters do not know the rock opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, and misinterpreted the song and the way Carly sang it. I wrote about it today on my blog, based on a comment I found at a popular American Idol commentary blog.

    “… Carly sang very good last night but maybe if she realized that “Superstar” was not a FUN song, but a song that is about Jesus dying and crying and asking why. She then would have connected with more passion to pull her thru…”

    Yikes!

    Also, I don’t think the tattoos help her, sad to say. I don’t like tattoos, but I know lots of good people with them so I’m not trying to be harsh. I’ve “battled” my own teen daughter on that point since she was 16 (I remain the victor on that point).

  • Tom B

    I agree with the young girls voting for cute guys syndrome. I thought from the beginning that Carly’s tattoos and the shots of her husband would make her a tough sell for the voting mainstream. (For the record I have some tattoos). I think that did her in. Very strange. Thought Brooke was terrible – she’s nice enough, but if it is about talent – she and Jason are at the bottom of the barrel and should’ve been the bottom 2 last week. At least Brooke seems like she actually wants to be there as opposed to Jason who seems like he is checked out.

  • Tom B

    I agree with the young girls voting for cute guys syndrome. I thought from the beginning that Carly’s tattoos and the shots of her husband would make her a tough sell for the voting mainstream. (For the record I have some tattoos). I think that did her in. Very strange. Thought Brooke was terrible – she’s nice enough, but if it is about talent – she and Jason are at the bottom of the barrel and should’ve been the bottom 2 last week. At least Brooke seems like she actually wants to be there as opposed to Jason who seems like he is checked out.

  • Bruce

    Don’t blame me. I voted for Goldwater.

  • Bruce

    Don’t blame me. I voted for Goldwater.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    “…what are you going to do when making a more important decision, like picking a president?”

    I think we could probably list several similarities between the election season and the show.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    “…what are you going to do when making a more important decision, like picking a president?”

    I think we could probably list several similarities between the election season and the show.

  • CRB

    Theresa #7,
    Could you offer some? Might be a “hoot!”

  • CRB

    Theresa #7,
    Could you offer some? Might be a “hoot!”

  • NavyMom

    Our family gave up on “American Idol” after last year’s ridiculous cult following the talent-free Sanjaya.

  • NavyMom

    Our family gave up on “American Idol” after last year’s ridiculous cult following the talent-free Sanjaya.

  • http://www.the-frame.com Jandy

    I think there were a number of things going on here and it can’t be reduced to “little girls with cellphones are taking over the world.”

    1. Carly sang a song that people unfamiliar with the musical (or out of sympathy with it) could easily misinterpret. I think a similar thing happened to Amanda, who went out singing “Back in the USSR,” though admittedly Amanda, not as good as Carly.

    2. The judges have heaped praise on Carly every week, which tends to work against the contestant, because even people who like her figure she’s surely safe and vote instead for someone they may like less, but feel are in more danger. I ‘strategic’ vote all the time, trying to keep my favorite three or four in the running. IOW, just because she got kicked off doesn’t mean she actually has the lowest number of fans – the fans who also like Brooke (like me) would have been more worried about Brooke and thus voted for her instead. Such things can backfire.

    3. Joe is right, winning American Idol is not about having the best singing voice, it’s about being the most marketable when they give you a million dollar record contract at the end. Since the people buying pop records from American Idols are more likely to be teen girls, why shouldn’t the person they like the best win?

    4. Personally, I think Carly’s tattoos are awesome.

  • http://www.the-frame.com Jandy

    I think there were a number of things going on here and it can’t be reduced to “little girls with cellphones are taking over the world.”

    1. Carly sang a song that people unfamiliar with the musical (or out of sympathy with it) could easily misinterpret. I think a similar thing happened to Amanda, who went out singing “Back in the USSR,” though admittedly Amanda, not as good as Carly.

    2. The judges have heaped praise on Carly every week, which tends to work against the contestant, because even people who like her figure she’s surely safe and vote instead for someone they may like less, but feel are in more danger. I ‘strategic’ vote all the time, trying to keep my favorite three or four in the running. IOW, just because she got kicked off doesn’t mean she actually has the lowest number of fans – the fans who also like Brooke (like me) would have been more worried about Brooke and thus voted for her instead. Such things can backfire.

    3. Joe is right, winning American Idol is not about having the best singing voice, it’s about being the most marketable when they give you a million dollar record contract at the end. Since the people buying pop records from American Idols are more likely to be teen girls, why shouldn’t the person they like the best win?

    4. Personally, I think Carly’s tattoos are awesome.


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