American Idol: Too Many White People

Is it possible that I — Adam Wilson, Idol-apologist for almost a decade, and lifelong defender of the lowbrow — am sick of American Idol?

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Perhaps this is only mid-season fatigue setting in, the hoopla of Hollywood Week a mere memory, the built-up bitterness at Lily Scott’s premature departure coalescing into soul-clot. Or maybe it’s the absence of Paula Abdul, finally felt, one too many Ellen ha-ha-now-shut-the-fuck-up-moments to send this tired viewer in search of the remote. Regardless of the cause, one thing is certain: something’s amiss in Idol land.

For what it’s worth, last night’s episode — R+B night — was one of the more boring I have seen. And I like R+B. Maybe I expected too much: Marvin Gay in miniature, rhapsodizing on Universal Health Care as a form of sexual healing; the next Nina Simone, strung out on heroin and human rights, holding her soul on a platter for us viewers to suck, swallow; or Smokey Robinson re-incarnated as a skinny white boy with heart-teeth and ocean blue eyes, staring into the sea of fifteen year old girls like a faux-sad puppy looking to dupe another owner into spoiling it.

Ok, I’m exaggerating. But couldn’t we have at least had someone on par with previous Idol contestants like Melinda Doolittle and Fantasia?

Which brings me to my next point, and also, perhaps, the real reason for R+B week’s shittiness. Where are all the black people?

This season is the whitest ever. Aside from, Big Mike, whose favorite singer is Jason Mraz, and Andrew Garcia, the token neck-tattooed Latino, the rest of the remaining contestants are whiter than Wonder Bread. This is not necessarily racism on Idol’s part, or on the part of the viewing public. There were a bunch of non-white people in the earlier rounds, and they all underperformed, and deserved to go home. Still, it does seem a bit unbalanced that a group of supposedly the top ten wannabe pop singers in America is 4/5 white. You mean to tell me that out of the thousands upon thousands who auditioned for American Idol, they couldn’t find more more than two non-whites (or even whites…) better than the lamo Tim Urban, or the uber-annoying Aaron Kelly? I think not.

But enough complaints and conspiracy theories. Let’s deal with those that remain:

Didi Benami – What the hell was she crying about? And why was Ryan Seacrest so eager for us to find out? Maybe Seacrest is her gay BFF. She revealed her heart to him over a tub of low fat Rocky Road, and now he wants her to use that shattered heart as gossip fodder for the blogging wolves. (I will abstain.)

Siobhan Magnus – Her worst performance yet, though her awkward interview with Usher almost made it worthwhile.

Lee Dewyze – I still like this guy. Not gonna lie.

Casey James – Every judge hated it except for Simon. This is because all the other judges are stupid, and Simon isn’t. It was a smart move making Simon go last, so that all the others will look dumb.

Crystal Bowersox – Do white-dude-dreads make you actually make one MORE white? I thought she was great. Her voice is far and away the strongest, except for maybe Siobhan.

Katie Stevens – Sure.

Aaron Kelly – Lame, etc.

Andrew Garcia – Pretty good, actually. He’ll stave off elimination until next week when the judges go back to thrashing him.

Big Mike – Fine.

Tim Urban – The Worst.

Stay tuned.

For more Idol Thoughts, and other Madness, follow me on twitter @bubblesdepot.

Adam Wilson’s first novel, Flatscreen will be published by Harper Perennial in Winter 2012. He is a former culture columnist for Blackbook, and a former TV blogger for Flavorwire. His journalism, crit more


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