Fox's Fallen Idols
American Idol: The search for a Superstar. And who doesn't want to be a superstar? For years it seemed like the only way to become one was to either inherit tons of money from your father, know someone who knows someone that can get you a recording contract, date someone who is superstar, or stand outside Hollywood Boulevard with copies of your mix tape, waiting to be discovered.
In July 2002, American Idol came along and gave hope to "regular" people all over America the chance to become the next big thing. It started off as an American version of the already popular "Pop Idol" in Britain. American Idol is different than other talent competitions in that the viewers got to vote at the end of every show to pick who they wanted to see win the title.
For many, like me, the joy of watching American Idol comes in the first few episodes where judges Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson, and Simon Cowell search the nation for singing hopefuls from all walks of life. The audition process is far more entertaining than the show itself. The number of hot messes that walk into these auditions with some glimmer of hope as to their talents being praised are the most memorable people on American Idol. Take for example William Hung, or otherwise known as the "She Bangs" guy, who came in singing the Ricky Martin classic on the third season of American Idol. Unlike some of the unsuccessful idols, Hung recorded his own album, shortly after his popularity on the show. Even host, Ryan Seacrest has earned the title of "busiest man in Hollywood" thanks to his start on American Idol.
After eight long seasons, how many of these "idols" do we actually hear of? The truth is, most of these artists do have fame, but not as they expected to have coming off of American Idol. Season One's winner Kelly Clarkson is one of the few idols who we hear about. After her debut album, "Thankful," Clarkson did indeed become a superstar with her following double platinum album, "Breakaway." Clarkson has reached superstardom as all of her albums debuted at number one on the Billboard charts.
Alongside the success of Kelly Clarkson is Season Four's winner, Carrie Underwood. Without a doubt, Underwood is the most promising winner of all eight seasons of this show. Underwood came from a small farm in Oklahoma to becoming a Grammy Award-winning recording superstar. A country music sensation, Underwood has shattered the record charts with her heartfelt, upbeat and beautifully sung songs. Carrie has even set herself into the country music scene by beating out such legends as Shania Twain, Faith Hill, and Martina McBride to earn her spot as country music's biggest female singer.
We can't say this about all the idols though. Season Two's winner, Ruben Studdard, had short-lived fame, and has now become a little-recognized gospel music singer. Season Three's winner Fantasia Barrino is rarely ever talked about, and neither is Season Five's winner Taylor Hicks.
What I have noticed though is that most of the runner-up's on American Idol have stamped their name in Hollywood without winning American Idol. Clay Aiken and Katharine Mcphee are both people that we see on TMZ more than we do the people that took the crown from them on American Idol.
The hype around American Idol has become less about the music, and more about the people over the years. Rather than acknowledging the talents of these people, I for one feel like I've had enough of the "Idol controversy" all over the media. People are digging deep into the lives of these contestants to find out what they can, and use it how they can for their own success or to ruin the dream to becoming an American Idol. We have seen things from a contestant taking nude pictures, to someone on heavy substance abuse, and even as far as to say that the contestants are sleeping with one or more of the judges. C'mon, really? Is this what the show has really become? Sadly, it is ever so true. Maybe that's why this past season they added another judge, or changed the typical "Top 12" to a "Top 13."
As another season comes to an end, all we can do is wait for a new flock of hopefuls to run through those audition doors and take the first step to stardom. Along the way we will be able to see some made up rumors, some photo shopped nude pictures, a drug scandal, and the ever so popular swaying of the votes by the American Idol vote counters to ultimately create a singing superstar who's career will fall inferior to that of previous idols, or just be done within a year or so.