Wednesday, May 26, 2004


Let's just put this out there: the show is pure evil. You may claim that the fame of someone like William Hung is what encouraged the creation of a show like this but the difference is that people were clowning Hung from Day One - he always knew his popularity didn't stem from actual singing ability but rather this strange cult of personality that he developed by random fluke. No, this is basically sadism and cruelty masquerading as entertainment.

Of course, the reason why they're able to pull this off though is by making us (the audience) believe that these suffering fools deserve their fates because they're so deluded by their own greed for fame. It actually is rather brilliant how the show milks out the worst parts of American Idol and creates a whole show from that disdain. In other words, if you remember during the audition phase of AI, the people you dislike the most are those arrogant asses who seem to think they're are the God-ordiained kings and queens of stardom and how the judges on AI must be smoking dust if they can't see their talent. We hate those people and frankly, we're glad to see them humiliated on live TV because it fulfills our own need to watch the unjustifiably arrogant get smashed underneath the heel of righteousness (or something like that). Those first few weeks on AI is where we get to see those people at our jobs or in schools or in our family, who think they're #1 Hot Stunna Shit get reduced to a shower of tears on the national stage.

The problem with Superstar USA is that most of the contestants that they've selected are not, in fact, those bastards who need to get put in their place. It's what makes the show different from, say, Joe Millionaire (another orchestrated sham that Wanda Sykes accurately dubbed "Bitches Love Money") where the producers played up the catty, backstabbing in-fighting among those women. With Superstar, most of these folks are simply entirely deluded, thereby deserving, at the very least, pity rather than our scorn. For example, Mario really doesn't seem like an asshole - he's awkward but kind of sweet in a Hungian manner (yes, I just made Willie's name an adjective). What's the point in humiliating him?

In fact, the only person they've really offered up as someone who'll earn everyone's utter venom is Jamie, but probably only because she looks like Jessica Simpson's half-cousin, portrayed as blond, rather ditzy (she does have to read her lyrics off her hand. Wow.) and possesses far too much undeserved self-esteem. Same goes for Rosa, the Latina in the mix who claims to have a "way better" voice than J. Lo which, really, isn't say shit. The jury is still out on Nina Diva. She's just a little too cheery and much as I'd like to prop up my Asian sistah, she comes off as straight loony. She calls herself Nina Diva. I mean, what are you supposed to do with that?

This doesn't mean the show doesn't have its joys. Watching the Anglo Assassin fumble his way through Black Sheep's "The Choice Is Yours" (Revisited) was amazing, 1) because the song's lyrics are NOT that hard to remember son! and 2) his freestyle was stunningly wack. And I, like many, am pretty mezmerized by Ross, the most andrognyous (and alas, Asian) person this side of a SNL skit but alas, both are going home. But really, how much bad singing is America prepared to take? Of course, they did put up with John Stevens for what felt like forever so clearly, there's room for much