Unlike the rest of the country, I never jumped on the American Idol bandwagon. It’s my personality – I eschew all things popular. If everyone else is doing it, you’re generally safe to assume that I am not. Two glaring exceptions are Disney (of course) and Glee (and I’m genuinely surprised that this offbeat show is so popular).
So American Idol – clearly not for me.
Also, I loathe ‘reality’ tv.
Yes, actually I can feel you cringe. Sorry.
But last year, worlds collided when Disney World built an American Idol attraction. I had the opportunity to tour the set and get the behind-the-scenes scoop on the whole attraction, and it was interesting enough to make me tune in to the 2009 Idol season.
Mostly unremarkable for me.
None of the artists really grabbed me, and the overall show was just moderately entertaining. But dutifully, I DVR’d the new episodes last week, which I just finished watching.
And unlike the rest of the country, I’m not talking about Pants on the Ground or any number of other not-good singers who auditioned. Largely I’m not even referring to Simon Cowell, who has been remarkably subdued in his criticism this season. (A most welcome change, I might add)
No, I’m talking about Mary J. Blige. To a lesser extent, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi. To the fullest and utmost, the viewing audience of this show.
Shame on all of you.
I really can’t believe I am about to say this, but I agree with Rosie O’Donnell wholeheartedly. Almost two years ago she said “Is that what America thinks is entertainment? To make fun of someone’s physical appearance and then when they leave the room laugh hysterically at them? The whole thing, it’s terribly sad to me.”
To me too, Rosie.
In case you didn’t see it, meet Jesse.
Mary J. Blige, your stock dropped through the floor in my eyes.
Shame on you for laughing in this kid’s face. Shame on you for being even more cold and heartless than Simon Cowell, whom everyone expects to have the compassion of a serial killer. Kara tried to cover for you, to give you an excuse for your bad behavior. It was the best she could manage and it was quick thinking on her part, but still a thinly veiled disguise.
And shame on all of you, too, that tune in every week to laugh at people like this.
What kind of people do that?
I know that some people who go on this show are ‘asking’ for it. They dress in crazy costumes, they behave bizarrely, they are very obviously trying to grab their 15 minutes of fame a la William Hung. While I don’t condone mocking people, I don’t get overly undone about a chuckle at the expense of those who intentionally put themselves out there for a laugh.
Does Jesse seem like one of those people to you?
He strikes me as an unsuspecting victim of a mean-spirited producer, condescending judges, and a cruel viewing audience, all getting their jollies out of belittling someone who did not ‘ask’ for it. Jesse was manipulated and blindsided. And shame on everyone who found that amusing.
This isn’t about hand-holding and sweetness. I don’t expect the show to be all sunshine and roses. Some of the auditioners do need to hear that they shouldn’t plan on a career in music, and sometimes the truth hurts. But no one deserves to be belittled. Laughing in someone’s face isn’t entertaining, it’s cruel. I am raising 3 children and if one of them ever behaved that way, they would face an immediate and harsh reprimand. I’d be willing to bet that most of you wouldn’t allow your children to make fun of a classmate in that manner either.
So consider, don’t your actions speak louder than your words? If you spend your evening curled up on the sofa laughing at people like Jesse, then you’re sending the message to your kids that making fun of someone is ok – cool, even.
So yes, I agree with Rosie. It makes me terribly sad as well.
We’re really a nation full of jerks sometimes. And worse, too stupid to be ashamed of ourselves.