Volume 96, Issue 7
Tuesday, September 10, 2002

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From Idol to joke

Almost Famous
Megan O'Toole
A&E Editor

Last Wednesday, the final episode of American Idol aired, being described by its hosts as "a moment in television history."

If this is indeed the case, then we as a society must learn from this piece of history so that it is never, ever repeated.

For the uninitiated, American Idol is one of the latest shows to hop on the reality TV bandwagon. Each week, young boy and girl popstar hopefuls compete to win the much coveted title of "American Idol."

The best part of all is the American public gets the privilege of voting on who stays and who goes.

As the contenders of AI's first run were gradually weeded out over the course of the summer, hundreds of hopefuls went home teary-eyed to watch the final 10 battle it out to the end.

Having gained both a devoted following and sky-high ratings, the glamourous finalé was an advertiser's dream, which took place last Wednesday.

As it turned out, the top dog on this smoothly polished wheel was Kelly Clarkson, the newly titled "American Idol." Her most notable award, aside from the token "cash and car," was a one million dollar recording deal.

This is where we see the show's fatal flaw.

The producers of American Idol are working under the assumption that the American public is more easily manipulated than a small slab of putty (though this is indeed a possibility, it has never been suggested in such a blatant manner as it is in this show). In essence, producers are saying: "Hey, America, you WILL like Kelly Clarkson. You WILL buy her record. She WILL be famous."

While Kelly is no doubt enjoying her day in the sun, she will never be taken seriously as an artist; she was robbed of that right last Wednesday when she became the winner of a manufactured television show. Her "fame" is nothing more than a clever, but flimsily constructed creation of the media.

In the end, none of the top 10 American Idol contenders – including the one and only Kelly Clarkson – have won anything more than the 15 minutes of fame each of us is entitled to at some point in our lives. Let's face it, that's not much of a prize.

In a few months, when Kelly's debut record flops due to lack of interest, the American Idol will have become the American Joke.

Boy, am I ever proud to be Canadian.

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