American Idol – Good or Bad for Music?

Everyone in the entire world knows what American Idol is.  Some call it a glamorized kareoke contest while others feel it’s a showcase of the finest talents in America.  Though I wouldn’t go to the extent by siding with one of the extremes, I do lean towards the side that says American Idol is good for music.

How could a reality TV show that discovered such great artists like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia Barrino, Jordin Sparks, and Kellie Pickler be bad for music? 

There is no doubt that the successful men and women in the American Idol contest have great talent. These artists scored a number of Grammy awards, platinum albums, number 1 hits, and even appear on Broadway and movies.   But from these highs, there are certainly plenty of lows.

Winners such as Ruben Studdard and Taylor Hicks have suffered from low record sales and mediocre reviews that eventually canned their careers.  It’s a curious thing to take a look at though, because through all the scripts and drama from the judges, and glitz and glamour of television… American Idol is essentially a popularity contest.  It is America’s duty to call in and vote for the contestant they believe should win.  And FOX always boasts how more people vote for American Idol than for the presidential elections (though there’s one major difference between the two:  the majority vote doesn’t always pick the president). 

But for Ruben Studdard and Taylor Hicks to win both of their respected years on American Idol, that means the majority of America voted for them, right?  I know that you can vote more than once, but it’s clear that everyone votes more than once… so it should still be true that the majority of American liked Ruben and Taylor the best.

But as the story goes, winning American Idol is just the first step to success.  Ruben Studdard’s debut album “Soulful” was huge, selling over 400,000 copies in its first week.  He even received a Grammy nomination for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.  But then came the collapse.  The American Idol hangover was over.  His next two albums saw great decline and to this day he doesn’t have a #1 hit single on the radio.  Can someone please tell me what he’s up to now?  Or is he already under there “Where is he now” file?

As as for Taylor Hicks, he recently split from his record label Arista Recrds and then J records after that.  In a statement on his Myspace page, Hicks made it clear that “Artistic freedom and control is an exciting prospect.”  But maybe those were the reasons why the labels let him go.  American Idol contestants are judged by their unique styles and powerful voices, but the whole time they’re singing other people’s songs and following experts’ arrangements.  When they try and do things for themselves, that’s where they seem to fall into a hole.

Take Kelly Clarkson for example.  She ran into conflicts during her third album “My December” because of the involvement she had with her music.  She parted with her management and boasted that she either wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on the album.  Friction followed because her label and management didn’t feel the material fitted her style well, but she was stubborn to change.  The result?  Well after a set-back of her first nationwide arena tour being cancelled because of underwhelming ticket sales, “My December” has sold over two million copies worldwide.

So what am I getting at with all of this?  There’s no doubt that American Idol has an impact in today’s music.  But out of the hundreds of thousand contestants, only a handful are actually talented… and from that handful, only a few go on to be successful in the music business.  But those selected few have made quite a splash, and the interesting thing is that the winners aren’t the only ones making a name for themselves.  Clay Aiken is more popular than Ruben Studdard ever was.  And Chris Daughtry is definitely enjoying his post-Idol time more than Taylor Hicks.

Whether you like the Idols or not, well that’s your opinion.  But you can’t say that American Idol isn’t brilliant for television, and you can’t say that American Idol is bad for music.  Bringing in millions of viewers every week and tallying an extraordinary number of awards and album sales, it’s safe to say that American Idol is a dominant force and will be for a long time.


17 Responses to American Idol – Good or Bad for Music?

  1. Over all its god. I’d say most of the performers do fair job of singing. However there are those few that excede expectations and really make you take notice

  2. Nicole Lindner says:

    I feel that most of the music is good on american idol that they do cut most of the bad before they air the show. But i do feel that some talent stands out more than others and the ones with the okay will be soon cut.

  3. alexis pagan says:

    i dont watch american idle much but i do know that they do know how to choose good talent even if they are mean sometimes, but i guess they cant shower mistakes with flowers.

  4. tyrell says:

    i think that american idol is good even though i barely watch the tv show but it is putting alot of talent out their for a bunch of people to get discovered and their talents to get discover over all i think that they do do cut the bad people so that they dont embress their selves

  5. Holly Flynt says:

    To me American Idol is a good show. The reason i state thisis because it gives america a chance to show their talents to the world. We have some great singers all around the world, and american idol helps find the real superstars that could one day be a famous singer.

  6. Sean says:

    I dnt watch much tv but i think American idol is a good show. The reson why is because it allows ordinary people like me get a chance at making it in the music industry and be descovered.

  7. Scott says:

    Sorry but american idol IS bad for music because it is voten on by the public, most of which have no clue what true talent is and vote based on wether or not the contestant is cute or they like his/her style.

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