Wednesday, January 16, 2008

American Idol 7

It’s back.... It’s been a mixed bag for American Idol alumni over the past year…some have had extraordinary success on the charts (Chris Daughtry, Carrie Underwood), one became an Oscar winner (Jennifer Hudson), another made a big splash on Broadway (Fantasia) while, on the other hand, others have had relatively tepid sales of their newest CDs (Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Katherine McPhee, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, Blake Lewis with Studdard, McPhee, and Hicks all losing their major label contracts)…but with the ongoing writers’ strike crippling television production, the return of the show itself is a godsend for both fans and the Fox TV network.

Idol began its 7th cycle with “been there, done that” efficiency…Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, and Ryan Seacrest (see above) could phone in their opening round comments and expressions now (and in the 2-hour season premiere that’s basically what they did)…and the early episode parade of would be William Hungs is also extremely familiar (though, that said, the two Star Wars geeks…um, I mean “fans”… and the guy who sang the song about stalking were especially sad and disturbing…is being on TV really so important to some people that they are willing to willfully make themselves the butt of jokes in front of millions of viewers? Apparently so…)

Some of the people who got the “Welcome to Hollywood!” shout showed promise but, as usual, most of the folks who make the final cut before fans start voting will probably not get much (if any) screen time until the Hollywood round begins in earnest.

Idol remains a television juggernaut despite a mildly disappointing 6th season (producers swear that this cycle there will be less emphasis on mentors and guest performers and more emphasis on the contestants which is a good thing) and with the strike it seems poised to be an bigger player on the small screen this year (even if no one picks up the mantle of Sanjaya :-)

Once they get through the freak show rounds, things will doubtlessly pick up and Idol will carry us through the spring in an entertaining fashion.

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