Dream on: the slight revitalization of American Idol

Nick Green

The American Dream:  No longer are white picket fences and hard its foundation, but rather it is the hope that by some role of the cosmic dice you are born naturally gifted and destined to succeed.

“American Idol” is the embodiment of this instant fame mentality. Every year thousands of young people aspiring to this New American Dream gather in stadiums across the country only to find that their hopes for easy money are dashed. For a select few dreamers, however, American Idol can actually serve as a springboard to stardom.

Those contestants who do make it forward are not the jokesters, weirdoes, or misguided, but are those who are genuinely driven and genuinely gifted. The strength of the current season of “American Idol” rests on the shoulders of these true “American Idols,” not as seems to be assumed by some, the judges.

With declining ratings and the forced ouster of Paula Abdul and the exodus of Simon Cowell, “American Idol” seemed to be entering its twilight. So far I have, in general, felt that this season of American Idol is a breath of fresh air when compared to previous seasons. I’m not saying that its necessarily a great or even at times entertaining show, I’m merely saying that it seems to have improved.

With the auditions over it is safe to say that the focus was for the most part placed on those with actual talent. With only the exception of Los Angeles, where few actual talents were shown, the brains behind the show may have finally realized that while audiences enjoy oddball, to an extent, people really only watch the show for hope. The hope that some ordinary person, albeit with an extraordinary talent, can win the hearts of America and be catapulted into stardom.

The judges too seem to be taking a more accommodating and accepting tone towards the contestants, especially Stephen Tyler, who seems to genuinely empathize with even the strangest of contestants. Randy, on the other hand, has decided to fill the role of the mean judge, a role I find unnecessary.

I think the pomp of previous seasons has gotten annoying and this show needs to emphasize genuine talent. Obviously personality is a must for any potential winner but winners should not be decided based on how sad their story is or how funny they are, talent needs to count for something. If talent is disregarded those with genuine skill could easily become overwhelmed by a sea of attention craving nobodies.

I feel that this could be a good season of “American Idol” and I definitely feel that the change in judges is both welcome and beneficial for the show. For now this season seems to at least be making an effort to find someone likeable and talented to be America’s next mildly successful recording artist.