Anime · Music · Television

Would Justin Bieber have won “American Idol”?

As we close the curtain on yet another season of American Idol, I give you this thought, considering the poor track record of the two biggest idol singer factories in this country, isn’t it time we shut down Idol and Disney? Part of the definition of being an idol singer is kinda being a one-hit wonder, (really, a one-season wonder, and if you can squeeze out more than one hit in your 15 minutes of fame, god bless). Given that the bar is set that low, it’s quite an indictment that can’t even clear that hurdle.

While Idol may be forgiven on the grounds of the Garbage In Garbage Out Theory; i.e.: if all of the contestants for that season do not have what it takes, then we can’t expect a winner to maintain idol status for too long. Also, since the format of the show is to allow viewers to decide the winner, and given how political elections have gone in this country for 2+ centuries, we can’t expect the public to have any taste.

While Disney have had alumni from the New Mickey Mouse Club that went on to have success in the pop music industry, e.g.: Brittney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, their records were not under the Disney label. Also, their songs, and their off-stage antics are hardly idol singer behavior, never mind “Mouse Ears” approved. So we turn to those that have been under Disney control. Can we say the Duff sisters are idols? No, I don’ think so. Miley Cyrus? I can’t say so because her idol singer alter-ego, Hannah Montana, is less successful than Miley herself. And I can’t really call the daughter of a one-hit wonder an idol singer. Maybe I’m wrong. Selena Gomez? Perhaps she would be, if it wasn’t for the fact that she is less talented than her Nickelodeon counterpart, Miranda Cosgrove. Vanessa Hudgens? I mentioned how terrible an actress she is already. I do not expect a well-received album from her anytime soon.

How come we’re the only country can’t churn out idol singers? Nations such as England, Japan, South Korea, and Australia churn them out all the time. Granted, they rarely have success overseas, so for every Kylie Minogue, there are hundreds of singers that are unknown in North America. There is the possibility that these industries don’t really want to produce true idol singers. Like planned obsolescence, they want singers that are totally forgettable, and thus disposable. The last thing they want is a singer so popular that he or she is more powerful than the music industry. Or maybe our country is too large in area and population, and we have too many genres for one singer to cover. The days of Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, (just like phony Beatlemania) seem to have bitten the dust. Or has it?

I am aware that young Mr Bieber is Canadian, so my original questions is technically invalid. What is the best way for a modern prodigy to gt himself or herself discovered nowadays? Justin went the YouTube route, but that site has so many uploads these days, Sturgeon’s Law is a gross underestimate for that site. As much as I want to bash reality shows, they are watched by millions of people. And the list of Idol cast-offs that went on to successful musical careers far outnumber the list of the ones who actually won. In this case, Vince Lombardi has it wrong: winning isn’t everything, just getting on prime-time network TV is everything.

Finally, I’d like to reference an anime that unfavorably compares the pop-music idol making business to a heavy industries factory: Key the Metal Idol. This show originally aired in 1994. The main plot is a derivative of Pinocchio. However, the underlying theme that pop singers can be churned out the same way a factory can produce automobiles, or weapons is what I find most fascinating. This show flew in under the radar, and may be hard to find. I first saw this in 2001, one year prior to Idol’s debut, and at that time I thought that such a concept couldn’t catch on here in the States. Ten years later, maybe it had.


One thought on “Would Justin Bieber have won “American Idol”?

  1. You couldn’t be more right. Your blog takes a similar tone to what I noticed and wrote about in mine. All the new music sounds the same. It’s like they have created a formula and plugged in the next photogenic person in the queue. I have long since turned to Jam bands and classic rock. It’s the only place I can actually hear musical talent well applied.


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