The “New and Improved” (And Politically Correct) American Idol

With the addition of Steven Tyler, American Idol seems to have entered its own politically correct era.  The era of the biting (but sometimes truthful) Simon Cowell is out in favor of more friendly faces such as Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler.  While the addition of Tyler may be more interesting (he’s kind of a loose cannon after-all) he’s hardly likely to be offensive to the contestants.

Tyler’s appearance proves that Idol is all about everyone getting a chance that otherwise might be not be available. Just last year, Tyler went into rehab and abandoned his own band.  You could argue that Aerosmith was already a joke – but the damage was already done.  To the general public, he was a loose canon.  But American Idol provides the perfect redemption – he can not only bring back his star, and help judge the next star while also being nice.  What better way to win the ways of America’s hearts?

Tyler’s reputation was/is certainly on the line when he took the gig.  His Aerosmith band-mate Joe Perry has suggested that he ruined everything that Aerosmith worked for, as has Kid-Rock.  But Tyler’s biggest offense isn’t being on the show – it’s his niceness along with Jennifer Lopez’s.  Last night’s episode proved that those who didn’t quite have the chops for Idol were let down with a softening blow.  Lopez seemed particularly saddened at having to tell people no.  Everyone is left off easy.

Of course it remains to be seen, how nice Idol will be once the contestants are actually picked and the public gets its vote.  By having a looser view of who can actually make it on the show, the judges might have eliminated one of America’s favorite characters: the under-dog.  In years before, Cowell was the one who usually had the most influence and those with less talent (but more personality) were usually let in by the skin of their teeth.  Now, the opposite could be true.

America loves the under-dog.  It’s a country built upon that very mindset.  That’s partially why Idol has continued to be popular – even after 10 years.  Unlike sports event, when the public gets to view the underdog rise to the top on Idol, the public is a participant.  Unfortunately, it also creates the feeling that viewers “own” the contestants and winners.  They have their own image of what the winner will be like.  Perhaps, that is why the runners-up tend to sell better than the winning counterparts.  America doesn’t feel as let down if the winner’s album or song isn’t quite good enough.

It remains to be seen, but perhaps the voting public will not be as kind as the new judges.



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