January 23, 2008

American Idol Season 7

American Idol is everything that is wrong with our country. A dedicated fan of the show for seven seasons, I have patiently sat through grueling audition after grueling audition as Simon, Randy, and even Paula snicker behind their Coca-Cola glasses. Most of the time I laughed right along with them. That is until last night.

San Diego featured the musical stylings of one of "American Idol's biggest fans," Alberto Hurtado. With long Cat Woman-like finger nails and a large fan adorned with his love for the show, Hurtago sang an orignal song he wrote entitled, "Live." Before his audition Hurtago confessed that he is shy, sometimes living in his own imagination, and if he made it, American Idol would give him a chance to get over this fear. "To me singing is the ultimate revelation of my soul and I've always been too scared to do that, not event my mother has heard my singing voice," he said.

What little we heard of the song, as he was constantly cut off by Simon, went: "Here I am/ this is me/ standing with my heart upon my sleeve/ its a tragedy/ it takes a tragedy..." Simon stopped Hurtago, saying it was the most depressing song he has ever heard. "It's a gloomy story I have," Hurtago said.

Maybe it wasn't the most melodic song, and I am pretty sure it won't be topping the charts any time soon, but Hurtago's lyrics did make a statement about the rejected contestants. Why should they change who they are to fit the mold of what an "American Idol" is expected to look like or act like. And last I heard, depressing music is what has been driving the industry for decades.

Now let's be honest, more likely than not, Hurtago, along with the thousands of other out-there auditions, are staged by the directors to attract viewers. But whether or not these auditions are put on by actors or are real people, what is the message they are sending to our youth? That it is okay to make fun of the fat kid who tries to kick the ball in gym class but misses? That if you aren't as smart or talented or athletic as the boy sitting next to you, that you shouldn't even try? Yes it is a talent compition, and yes they have taken the heavy guy (Reuben Studdard), the dork (Clay Aiken), and the graying (Taylor Hicks), but by the finale you would never recognize these contestants from their first audition.

Whether or not Hurtago is an actor, there are people like him in the world -lost in their imagination and a little misguided. And really who are we to judge these people. Even if they sing off-key, they are the ones putting themselves out there and auditioning, while we are the ones sitting on the bench.


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