American Idol: the fleecing of America (and some Lagniappe)

We’ve been fleeced.

I’ve always wondered how artists get discovered.  How does someone go from being an unknown to stardom?  How did someone like Bruce Springsteen, or James Taylor, or Ozzy Osbourne go from being a kid with a talent to a multi-million dollar artist-musician?

I mean, who listened to a band called KISS and said, “These guys will sell records…lots of them.”

Let’s be realistic.  There are people who sit in offices at the top of tall buildings who couldn’t care less about the craft of song-writing or guitar licks.  They are most concerned about who will sell records…or CD’s…or m4a’s on iTunes.

They want to make a gazillion dollars off the next musical fad that inundates American music culture.  In the past, they had to take chances and guess who would appeal to the music consumer.  Some success, but, I imagine, many more failures.

Now, they do it through the TV show American Idol.  Easily.  Laid in their lap.

We, the American music consumer, tell the producers whose album we’ll spend money to hear.  Millions of us vote and say we like this one the most, that one not as much.  Those votes translate, like delegates at a political convention, into dollars.

Lots of them.

Here’s how.

Put a show – a glorified talent show – on prime time TV (which, in and of itself, makes lots of money).

We text in our favorite, who we thought sang the best, and they survive to the next show.

As the show progresses from week to week, and the contestants are systematically eliminated, we are left with 4 singers.

A panel of three judges pretends to critique, approve or judge each singer (where’s Simon when you need him?).

Image consultants are hard at work -creating, polishing, making, building – the “look” for each singer.

We vote.  We pick.  Our favorite endures to the end.

A winner is crowned.

In essence, we tell these people who we will spend our money to see and hear.  It’s too easy.  We pick the winner under the guise that a talent show participant has won a blue ribbon.  Everyone else is busy counting dollars…lots of them.

Again, we’ve been fleeced.


1.     Josh Hamilton has 9 HR’s in his last 6 games.  He’s on pace to break some records.  Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

2.     The tv show “GCB” has been canceled by ABC.  This comes after protests by American Family Association and One Million Moms.  They claim the show mocked Christians.  In my opinion, it’s a funny show that is more of a caricature of the church than a mockery of the Christian faith.  And, sadly, the show is usually more true than not.

3.     Obama’s Spiritual Adviser Rebukes President on Golden Rule, Same-Sex Marriage.  I wonder if this will make prime-time news?  Doubt it.

4.     Disney’s Space Mountain, while an older attraction, is still a classic.  See what it looks like when the lights are on.

5.     The Physics of Cheating in Baseball.  Does a corked bat help?  Why do the Rockies keep their baseballs in a humidor?  The coefficient of restitution is an important thing to know about when you’re a ball player.

1 Comment

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One response to “American Idol: the fleecing of America (and some Lagniappe)

  1. Jan Hubbard

    What I dislike about shows like “American Idol” is that inorder to call and vote, the caller will be charged a fee. This Idol uses the viewer every step of the process.

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