I felt an odd sense of freedom when programs like Idol and The Voice lost viewers, honestly going belly up. Because all these programs really just had people standing there singing other people’s songs and that’s all good, and that’s all 70’s but you know what? They really didn’t work for it. Not one bit. And the only pattern you could see is “The closer to Christina Aguilera you are, the better you can sing”, and honestly, that’s not music, man. That’s non-thinking idolism. And it’s an entirely different thing. It’s like you wash out all that’s good with music and just leave the shell of fame and entertainement. All good and well with the work that comes with it, the commitment, the musicality, but on it’s own? Pointless. Famous just for the sake of fame. Bring on the Kardashians.
What I mean with no one working is that they really didn’t have an input in the backtracks, they were neatly packaged for them, they didn’t have the original sheets of music and creating ideas of how their own performance would be, it was just someone elses song and someone elses way. They didn’t even have to have any kind of pre-knowledge of instruments or even the production process, no knowledge of music history and not even a concept of what music was beforehand. Just a friggin Aguilera voice and a will to stand on stage and have people applauding. Because the focus is on being an idol, not on the music. One of the programs is even called “Idol” in all it’s forms.
The result of this? I teach piano. A good and rewarding job which I love. But it hasn’t escaped me that the voice coach in the room next to me is about thrice as busy. And in some ways that’s just ridicolous. People want to sing but they don’t want to make music. They want to be idols but they don’t want to put in the research and really be artists. My main goal at 14 when I started was to make music. Yeah, sure, there was a star dream there but I still realized I had to play an instrument just to get the idea rolling and show it to people. And then, listening to the Doors and Tori Amos, I wanted the piano to be part of my music. I listened. I analyzed. I learned.
So yeah, when they announced, after a blessed hiatus, that “Idol is back, yaaay!” I threw up in my mouth a little. I had hoped in time we’d get more musicians out there, but it looks like it’s gonna be a while longer. Good for the voice coach, though! 😉
The first program ever, Great Britain, truthfully named Pop Idol. 2001, it was still new, and a bit cute
and exciting actually. I lived in the UK at the time and saw the birth of “mean judge” Simon Cowell.
Ant, Dec and finalists Will Young and Gareth Gates