“American Idol” Lets It Slide In The Bluegrass State

noah | January 22, 2009 8:53 am

Yesterday, two pieces of distressing American Idol-related news crossed the transom: First, word that the Tuesday night episode had an eight-million-viewer week-to-week drop (although I wonder if that was because a lot of eyeballs got leeched away from Obamamania on ABC); and second, this year’s results shows will be back to their bloated hour-long length and up against the full hour Lost (?!??!?!!). (Argh, Fox, you told us they’d only be 30 minutes! Booooo!!) The Idol producers decided to celebrate this news with… an episode that opened with a hopeful emerging from a Porta-Potty, and went right into a girl with really bad eye makeup and a startling British/Southern accent.

The first “real” contesant was Joanna “Joanna” Pacitti, this season’s official major-label refugee. Thanks to Kara DioGuardi’s time in the songwriting salt mines, she was recognized upon entering the audition room and her deal with A&M was brought out in the open straightaway, in stark contrast to last year’s Carly Hennessy/Smithson nontroversy. (OK, the “I know youuuuu!” bit was probably sorta staged, but this is a better type of dishonesty, I think.) Pacitti’s version of “We Belong” was, unsurprisingly, competent enough for her to make it through, although I do wonder if she also sang a few bars of “Let It Slide” before getting the green light to Hollywood:

NOT AS FUNNY IN CONTEXT: Hey, how about that country singer who told the judges to “be careful” on the occasion of his getting the heave-ho? I’m going to guess that Paula asked her security detail to carry around some of those baseball bats that were being displayed during some of the “ambiance” segment.

ACTUALLY NOTHING IS FUNNY: The fat guy doing the Michael Jackson hip-shakes? The guy in King Diamond makeup who was really femmy? The cross-eyed dude who looked like the lead singer of the Escape Club? American Idol, I want to like you, and when you have people on the show like Matt Giraud, who calls himself a “dueling piano player” and who had a friend wearing an Unknown Pleasures t-shirt (OK she probably got it at Urban Outfitters, but still) and whose voice had a sandy quality and would probably be a lot more enjoyable when not singing Gavin DeGraw, I do. But all this bullshit, this filler, this stuff that you have to plug into your shows because Fox is flipping out about the gradual erosion of network television’s prominence (which is ironic in itself given the way it came on the scene and basically started the whole screwing-things-up-for-the-big-three chain back in the day) while you’re meanwhile giving 73 seconds of airtime to people who the public can maybe root for in the coming weeks is making it really, really hard. And now you have to go up against Lost? Which is basically your antithesis in the way that every minute of it is essential to understanding it overall, unlike your results shows, which are basically 59 minutes of Ford ads and promos for albums that are probably going to “underperform” in today’s climate and inane audience questions leading into one minute—hell, maybe even 30 seconds!—of stuff that’s essential to the show’s overall plotline?

American Idol [Official site] [Pic via Rickey]