Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sepinwall on TV: 'American Idol' semi-finals preview

Today's column is a slightly expanded look at "American Idol" and the whole "pros from Dover" issue I talked about last week.


Anonymous said...


I have an ho nest question for you: Do you actually ENJOY "American idol" or do you feel a pressing need to report on it to increase readership to the blog?

I really ask that not to be facetious, but I am coming from my own admitted visceral hatred of ALL Reality TV, and AI is at the top of the list.

Trash like AI, "Survivor" and "Dancing with the Stars" is exactly why so many great quality and well written shows disappear each year, like missing persons.

If you do enjoy covering AI, I apologize for my blatant rudeness...I just can't imagine spending 4 hours each week watching a bunch of nobodies perform karaoke.

Anonymous said...

Back in the day Survivor was an excellent show and one of the few reality shows I like. While I agree that American Idol sucks beyond the telling, it is one of the most popular shows EVER and I can't fault Alan for blogging about it if he so chooses. I just don't read the AI posts!

Anonymous said...

I'd also like to add, that as much as I enjoy the blog, Alan's job is for the newspaper. I'm sure they have some expectations of what he'll write about. I assume one of the most watched and talked about shows has got to be pretty high on their list of things they expect him to report on.

Anonymous said...

How could Alan not write about what is by far the most popular show on TV?

Also, Zodin2008, Survivor is usually pretty entertaining. I would certainly argue that the early seasons were a lot more "creative" than a lot of the "great quality and well written shows" out there. Actually, looking at TV these days, I must have missed most of those shows. Maybe you're referring to whatever the 20th CSI ripoff is...is that the great show that disappears each year? What a tragedy.

Anonymous said...

I think Alan likes AI. I know he used to like Survivor (he might have gotten bored with some of the latest seasons--you can probably find that out from reading his old blog posts).

IIRC, this started out as his personal blog, so a lot of the stuff he blogs about is stuff I've assumed that he either likes or wants to warn people against. I'm sure he will correct me if my memory here is faulty :-)

Anyway, I don't like AI myself, just popped in here to see the reaction to the "pros from Dover" controversy because I like a good trainwreck, and since I'm here, I thought I'd help answer zodin's question. Hopefully, I didn't overstep any bounds :-)

Bobman said...

I hated AI for years, refusing to watch it. I gave it a chance and found I kind of enjoyed it. I mean, it doesn't take priority in my life, but I'm a big music fan and like to hear the few actually talented singers. I'm also a fan of a good freak show which AI also delivers :)

As to the "pros from Dover" issue, Idol is REALLY not being shy about exposing themselves, putting the two biggest ringers in the prime "last" spot in the premiere. It doesn't bother me if they have them on the show as regular contestants, but I don't like when they try to stack the deck (which I'm not naive enough to think they don't do, I just don't like it being obvious).

SMM said...

I avoided AI for the first few seasons, figuring I would hate it. I watched last season all the way through and totally got into it. I fail to understand the agita about a SINGING CONTEST. It's hardly the end of the world-- it's got to be the most wholesome television there is! Nor does it make sense that AI or Survivor are responsible for the death of scripted programming-- these shows make networks more profitable, leading to more money for high-profile dramas and the like. The death of Firefly was not because of AI.

Anonymous said...

I'd say that the millions of AI viewers are the ones responsible for other shows disappearing. That's not a judgment either. It just is what it is.

I watch AI, but I'll skip it if there's something I'm more interested in. I also resisted it for the first season and part of the second season. I'll agree it's silly,and it doesn't always have a damned thing to do with singing, but it's fun.
Good or bad, it's a powerhouse in the ratings. I think, though, that Fox got it wrong when they assumed the writer's strike would bump up the ratings even more. I'd say by this time, if someone isn't watching it, they aren't going to start. If there's nothing on television, they'll rent a DVD, or read a book instead.

RE: The "Pros from Dover" thing, I couldn't care less one way or the other about it. Having had a record contract in the past doesn't mean someone is good; nor does it mean they're right for AI. AI is looking primarily for pop singers who can sell lots and lots of records. And being a semi-professional doesn't give someone that much of an edge with the voters. The voters are just as likely to vote for someone who's cute as they are to vote for someone who's exceptionally talented or has some experience. (I don't vote. Heaven forbid my husband look at the phone bill and realize what I've done.)

Alan Sepinwall said...

While my newspaper columns occasionally cover shows I wouldn't choose on my own to watch, the blog is entirely about my own tastes.

I can't help it: I really enjoy "American Idol," usually in spite of itself. The concept is so simple and irresistible that I dig it even though the execution (song choices, contestants, idiot judges, etc.) is often horrible.

Like I said when someone expressed disbelief at my posting on Survivor a few weeks ago, a TV diet of nothing but HBO and FX dramas woul get stale after a while.

Nicole said...

Hating on Reality TV is just as elitist as hating pop music because only classical is "important". Not all scripted shows are brilliant and not all reality shows are dreck. I'm happy to see Alan cover the best of both because as a television critic it only makes sense that he covers all television. As pointed out above, CSI and L&O and its many clones are scripted tv and boring as hell most of the time and in no way are any better than a good episode of Survivor, AI or Amazing Race.

Sometimes television is supposed to be mindless entertainment, and if you really want to be elitist about it, turn the tv off altogether and read a book.

Anonymous said...

Along the same lines as Nicole... not all Reality is bad, not all scripted is good. I think there can definitely be a healthy balance, and AI, along with Amazing Race and Survivor, is well-produced and pretty entertaining.

For every "Moment of Truth", there's an "According to Jim", for every "Wife Swap", there's a "Las Vegas".