What sound does a buffalo make?

As the nation gears up for yet another season of American Idol, The Buffalo News has done a series of pieces regarding the show, tackling the various business, psychological, and entertainment issues raised by the program.

The show’s “most unforgettable moments” include original co-host Brian Dunkleman bowing out after season 1; the rumored affair between ousted season 2 contestant Corey Clark and the incoherent but emotionally invested Paula Abdul; the advent of Vote For The Worst, one of the first websites to call the show out on its facade (it’s a television show, for entertainment; finding a talented singer is a secondary or tertiary goal); and the seasonal bitching and moaning from fans about clogged phone lines, which usually peaks around the time of the annual “shocking” boot.

On the show’s “ground-breaking” characteristics:

“This was absolutely nothing new,” says Robert J. Thompson, founding director of the Bleier Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University.

In fact, a broadcast talent show in which the audience voting to determine the winner predates television. The hugely popular “Major Bowes’ Original Amateur Hour,” which started on radio in 1934, offered “a telephone call-in with a special exchange in Manhattan, or you could send a postcard,” says Thompson.

That show eventually moved to the exciting world of television, picked up emcee Ted Mack, and became “Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour,” which dwindled in popularity but hung on until 1970.

And this quote, referencing the producer’s promise of a major mid-season event that will “blow everyone away,” made me giggle: “How can the show top itself? An original tune and guest-judge stint from Bob Dylan? A live reading by J.D. Salinger?”

I suspect that as the show continues to grow not only in popularity, but legitimacy (Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood are major award winners, Fantasia’s latest CD has received critical acclaim, and Taylor Hicks has been a fixture on the underground jam-band circuit since his win), the celebrity guests will increase in recognizability. Not to say that Barry Manilow, Rod Stewart and Shakira aren’t worth their salt, but scoring someone like Bob Dylan (yeah, I know), Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston (who’ll probably be looking to increase her visibilty as she works on her new CD) or even Paul McCartney would certainly be a huge coup for the show.

The Buffalo News is also offering a brief synopsis of each season, but it’s probably stuff you already knew anyway.


1 Response to “What sound does a buffalo make?”

  1. 1 PayTheDevil January 7, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    Last year, marked my first time watching Idle. While, I have not had heart palpitations over the prospect of a new season, I have been wringing my hands in glee over the “VoteForTheWorst.com” antics and simply can’t wait to enjoy their little bit of mischief making over the next 4 months!

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January 2007
« Dec   Feb »

What the kids are sayin’

"I hate them all. The judges, TPTB, the blatant manipulation, the songs, the contestants, everything. I'm a die-hard Cook fan, but for the love of god, at least try to look like you're enjoying yourself up there! Please? Syesha was awesome but she ruined it by being completely shameless and disgusting. Yes, being on American Idol is exactly like the civil rights movement, except for the part where you're fighting to make the world a better place."

"All I can say after the disgusting display tonight of favoritism towards the mediocrity that is David A. - good luck trying to market and make money off of that kid, American Idol. (Not to mention good luck dealing with his father.) All the teeny boppers may buy up his American Idol coronation single, but they will quickly forget about him before the album comes out. And I shudder to think of a David A. album - song after song of unrelenting sameness and heavy breathing. Why they are pimping him for the win is beyond me."

"This show was simply a hot buttered mess tonight. And Jason "needs to be arrested for what he did to I Shot the Sheriff. But I hope he stays. He amuses me. "

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