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Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Dear Simon Cowell,

I can only assume that your recent threats to quit your show are nothing more than an (albeit successful) attempt to gain more publicity. But maybe they're not. So let's review the concept behind the show you invented:

  1. You hold open auditions all over the country.
  2. Judges pick the most promising contestants.
  3. Viewers vote for their favourite contestants. They can vote as many times as they want, for any reason.
  4. Every week, the contestant with the fewest votes is kicked off the show.
  5. The last one standing is guaranteed to get a record contract. The others have to hustle to get similar or better contracts.
I think that's basically it. Oh're upset because you put a really bad singer named Sanjaya into the competition. You think he's a terrible singer. You're mad that people are voting for him just to make fun of your show. You think this is a mean thing to do.

I might agree with you, if it weren't for the fact that bad singers are your show's bread and butter. The early shows are nothing but bad singers, and you make fun of them all the way across the country. You have special "Worst of American Idol" shows and DVDs. I saw a live show last year where a delusional young man who styled himself after a former runner-up actually appeared on stage with his "Idol". Clearly, you don't hesitate to make fun of bad singers.

So you put this guy into the top 20, or whatever, and you're all upset because people keep voting for him. You want us to laugh at bad singers, but only at a time of your choosing. The lesson here might be that if you wouldn't want to see a person win the whole contest, you shouldn't put him into a position where members of the public will be able to control his fate.


Anonymous said...

Well said.

What that litigator needs to remember is that it was the producers who opened the polls to the people. What happens after that is unpredictable. We have seen this over and over again with interactive media: the intention of the creation being altered by its audience. We have seen hackers manipulate games by changing little things like how the characters look (I think it was Doom) and the fairness of the game (Grand Theft Auto). The Wii has already opened doors to uses that Ninentdo never imagined.

The woman hasn't a chance in the world to defend "Idol" against people like Howard Stern. She's the kid who had a tantrum whenever her friend spontaneously changed the rules while playing Tag.

The Capitalist said...

Ah, but WE are still the fools here. That chick didn't have tantrums at all, nor does she believe even slightly that she could win that case. They're hyping it up and we're watching.

Oh, and we should all get used to watching crap on TV that obviously makes no sense... Elections are coming up.

Steve & Megan said...

Nobody has changed the rules. This type of sabotage is entirely within the rules of the show.

They could fix this by allowing the public to vote for people to leave instead of voting for people to stay. However, that wouldn't build fan bases in the same way the current system does.

This is definitely free publicity, but I wonder how it affects the company's bottom line. Will people stop watching? I doubt it. Will they buy his CD if he wins? I doubt that too. Will it affect ad buys for next season? That's a better question: does this affect the way advertisers see the show?