Monday, January 11, 2010
Are we ready for season 9?
Ready or not, American Idol season 9 hits Philippine TV on Wednesday, January 13, and once again audiences will be treated to a mash-up of talent and non-talent vying for a spot in today's global music scene if not a shot at penetrating pop culture.
All right, so the show has been a personal guilty pleasure for years. There is, after all, something wickedly delightful about feasting on tone deafs who sincerely think they can make it big in the business. But then again, there is also exhilaration in the discovery of young, unassuming talent. I am counting on this season to provide a healthy dose of both, even without past Idol judge Paula Abdul and her insanely entertaining commentaries.
In truth, what continues to amaze me about the reality show is how its format allows the ordinary consumer of music to somehow dictate the shape of the industry with the every vote cast during the season. Choosing the world's next pop star is literally left in the hands of texters. Now who among us understand the Americans' motivations in choosing whom they choose? And how often have we complained about contestants eliminated too soon? Certainly, there have been hits and misses in previous seasons. But such is the thrill of the game.
Check out the 1st week sales of the debut albums of these Idol champs and runners-up:
The show's momentum in season 2 and its popularity in season 4 helped catapult sales for finalists Studdard, Aiken, Underwood and Bice, but the eventual non-performance of Studdard's and Bice's works caused the artists their record contracts. Season 5 has reflected the highest TV ratings in Idol history, and both Hicks and McPhee (champ and runner-up, respectively) garnered fairly remarkable 1st week sales. But their numbers plateaued too soon, causing their record deals to be revoked, too.
Since season 5, ratings of the reality show have been slowing down steadily, but Idol alums Cook and Archuleta of season 7 and Lambert of season 8 have defied the odds, posting more than decent sales for their debut albums. Last year's winner Kris Allen, however, has not been so successful, as he now holds the record for the lowest sales in history from an Idol winner.
I think we all realize that the show, its judges, and the voting public can do only so much in discovering pop music's next star. While we can all identify what we like or do not like in a contestant's 2-minute performance, the fact remains that stardom depends as much on vocal prowess as it does on the singer's personal charm on stage, the craftiness of his or her music producers, the shrewdness of the business manager, the buzz worthiness of his or her public persona, and so many other factors.
But none of these factors can ever curb the kick I get from speculating nonetheless who will be the next American Idol.
American Idol season 9 premieres on Wednesday, January 13, 6pm on Star World.