FRIDAY, APRIL 08, 2016 |
Posted by: Mike Montemarano
Last night signaled the end of American Idol's final season, and with it the conclusion of a little piece of television history. Through it's peak in the mid-2000's, and even during its slowly waning ratings, American Idol set a precedence for how we could envision mass, mainstream music. What made American Idol special was not only the eccentric personalities and banter of the hosts, Simon Cowell's hard-hitting and unapologetic realism, nor the sheer success it had on primetime television. It was the way in which it brought to light a totally approachable springboard to massive, mainstream success through providing the public with a lens into a competition which spanned over tons of major cities in which virtually anyone could be unknowingly cast into the limelight of national television and, overnight, have potential for their very own "rags to riches" story play out as the herd began to thin.
Idol was a gateway for many to form a connection with any given competitor's back story which largely ties into an American individualism, through showing a wide variety of identities which all become encompassed in a non-fixated and united view of American talent. It opens up the doors to pop music based on a more open-minded search for vocal talent within many nuanced approaches to singing pop music, and through that, there's something inherently nice about that.
Sure, it's all based on commercial pop music, consumer choice, and a slightly unhealthy level of idol worship, but in many ways American Idol served as a gateway into pop music for those who could've never imagined their own potential. The array of intertwined identities that American Idol glorified hand-in-hand with the archetype of an American dream brought out, and the show brought to light the benefits and the pitfalls of pop music in its current state while maintaining an inherent optimism and approachability that propelled ordinary stories into extraordinary ones.
American Idol searched for stardom within current amateurs to act as a catalyst for explosive careers in music, at least potentially, based on an all-encompassing, national celebration of vocal talent in. It's definitely a view of the music industry in part through rose-tinted glasses, but the show has been a totally reimagined way of creating pop stars. Beyond that, it offered a candid look into what commercial pop can be based more on "direct democracy" in the nature of the competition and gave millions of people the opportunity to have their small, yet direct input into a massive competition. It was also great to see the original judges who captured everyone with their pleasing personalities finally reunite before the stage lights shut down forever.