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American Idol’s Inherent Flaw

March 18, 2011

First things first: that group song at the beginning of last night’s show? Somewhere in the world, remaining vinyl copies of Born to Be Wild were melting. I hate commercials, but I’d be more than happy to trade the group songs at the beginning of the results show for five more minutes of commercials.

Haley Reinhart dodged another bullet last night and I think she’s going to have to do more than wear bright red lipstick and short shorts to stick around another week. She’s got the voice and she’s going to have to use it. I was happy to see her stay and I wasn’t unhappy with the boot result.

As addicting as I find American Idol, the show has one inherent flaw, and maybe I’m late to the game, but I realized that flaw this morning when I was watching this video of Judy Collins singing the Irish folk song Wild Mountain Thyme from 1966. If you watch the video, you’ll hear a woman who can sing. No instruments, no backing vocals (if you don’t count Pete Seeger joining in periodically), no fancy outfits, no fancy jewelry, no fancy makeup, no lights, no production, just a woman who can really sing. Despite giving us an entertaining show, American Idol, with maybe a couple of exceptions I can think of, doesn’t really ever give us anyone who can really sing and make the song memorable. Watch the Judy Collins video and then watch it again and it’s even better the second time. Listen to an American Idol singer (or one of the previous season’s winners if you can find them) and you don’t remember what you heard five minutes after hearing it.

And here’s what Born to Be Wild is supposed to sound like!

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