I'm just pulling your leg. Or am I? Now ... I really hate to post about American Idol (no, I really do. I'm aware that I'm one of those refuge places from the nonstop AI assault in the blogosphere and on the news --WTF? How is this news? so my apologies to those that enjoy the safe place. I know this is disappointing for you) but I have to get this off my chest:
What is so terrible about Sanjaya Malakar?
I ask in all sincerity. Everyone I hear talk has it out for him, strangers and friends alike. Why? Perhaps I should explain why I am bewildered at the hate. Perhaps I should explain why I remain unhating.
Last time I checked (yesterday) this juggernaut show was a glorified MOR golden oldies karaoke contest. So why get upset about a singer who perfectly meshes with their groove: simplistic, poppy, safe for all ages, cute as a button, and young. The show is famously ageist --a common insult being references to people sounding or looking like anything past say 30 years of age. Sanjaya never comes across as anything but a smiley teenager who lucked out and got onto a massive television popularity contest. And that's exactly what he and this is. Good for him. But people hate that he is doing well. Why? This show was created to showcase people just like him.
Last time I checked the judges kept reminding me that it's a singing competition. It isn't really but let's pretend it is. AI has delivered many worse earsores to us than Mr. Malakar who at least often stays in the right key. This season alone (if you count semi-finals) there've been plenty of singers inferior to him. All but maybe two of them are gone --Haley, the whispery boobshaker & Chris Richarson, the nasally one who shuns "melody" (ewww, melody! yuck) for unspecific derivative "runs"-- it's true, but aside for perhaps Antonella whatsherface nobody hated on any of them the way people hate on Sanjaya. Why?
Last time I checked this show was judged by three people with extremely limited vocabulary who often don't know what they're talking about -- I'll give you one largely undiscussed example. The term "cabaret" is used as an insult on this show. Always used that way. Now, unlike the AI judges, I'm guessing, I've actually attended cabaret shows. And the musical truth, at least from my personal experience here in NYC, is that most professional cabaret singers would eat these kids up vocally and still have plenty of room for entrees and dessert (or at least another vodka stinger). They have stunning control over their voices and a complex understanding of song content and storytelling --both of which are skills that AI as a show pays lipservice to. So why is the genre an insult? Are the judges just dumb? Why do they use words in the wrong context? Why can't they define sharp and flat rather than a vague unhelpful "pitchy" Etcetera...
Point being: There are so many reasons to hate this show why pick on Sanjaya? I could talk about all the hateable things about this show for hours. I'm not sure why I watch it. It always makes me angry.
But back to Sanjaya Malakar to wrap up. Things that define him:
- He experiments with his hair.
- He looks like a cartoon character.
- He doesn't have a terrible voice.
- He seems friendly and accessible.
- He seems to be loved by little kids.
Maybe this is why I write about the movies instead of reality television.
Thus endeth my rant on American Idol. I know you didn't ask. I hope to never speak of it again.
[Final note if you're not sick of hearing about my AI love/hate thing: I usually lose interest in the show at this point each season when I realize I only look forward to seeing two of the performers -- Blake & Melinda this year-- and why sit through 2 hours of filler to see 6 minutes of singing?) The reason I want Blake to win is that I think it's hilarious that he's AI's idea of "contemporary". He's easily the best performer and all around musician on the show but he's only contemporary in that he is retro 80s. So, is he really contemporary or is he just a fun twist on the shows fossilized sense of popular music? I vote the latter. I hope he wins]
Tags: American Idol, Sanjaya Malakar