I love how people react to the supposed “disappointing” ouster of the good singers and the seeming resilience of those who have not been booted out of Philippine Idol. As much as both healthy and ugly exchange of opinions are delightful to read, watch, and listen to, I post a question: What have you done so far to keep the good singers? I bet you will say you voted. But is it enough? This entry is about the analysis of the beauty of the Idol franchise. (wait for my next post. gonna sing for my hubby who i miss sooooo badly)
As I have said, I am a huge fan of the Idol shows. Well, American Idol and Philippine Idol, so far. I love the genius behind the creation of the show. Out of all the reality TV shows, this is one that I religiously followed…and a distant second would be The Amazing Race. Why is it genius? Everyone actually wins: the actual Idol winner, the finalists, the semi-finalists, the quarter-finalists, those who auditioned, those who auditioned and are awful and horrendous to the core, the producers, and the audience.
The show is designed to: (1) showcase talents (and give exposure to those with little or no talent), (2) generate interest from the audience (3) involve the audience (4) rake in cash from votes casts (5) showcase versatility, adaptability, and flexibility (and the inability, thereof) of remaining talents (6) generate controversy (7) generate more supporters for the talented contestants (8) rake in more cash from votes cast
It is a test of marketability of a potential artist…a “market survey”, if you may. The makers of the product need to test if the product can be sold. This is where even the non-winners will have a shot at recording contracts because recording companies (and the artists’ themselves) will get a glimpse of record sales based on the fan base the contestants have generated during the progression of the show. Take the case of the past American Idol shows:
Kelly Clarkson won because she was the obvious choice. Now she’s enjoying a hefty amount of money from record sales.
Eventhough Ruben Studdard won the American Idol Season 2, his runner-up Clay Aiken is enjoying higher record sales. Now this is interesting because when it boiled down to the final two, the entire season ended with issues on race and sexuality.
The most controversial Idol season for me is when Fantasia Barrino won, who at the end of the season had a share of supporters and haters (calling her Donald Duck because of her raspy singing voice). Despite this, she had a hit record and a Grammy nomination under her belt.
Season 3 also featured this 16-year old, Conan O’ Brien look alike boy named John Stevens who reached the top 5 even when it was obvious to many that he has grown from bad to worse (sound familiar?). The good thing about this is it showed the potential of John Stevens to earn big bucks in the entertainment industry.
At one point in Season 3, it had the three best singers in the competition, Jennifer Hudson, Latoya London, and Fantasia Barrino or collectively known as the Three Divas landing the bottom 3. Sadly, Jennifer Hudson was the first diva to be booted out—after her best performance. But now, she is co-starring with Beyonce Knowles in the much-anticipated movie version of the hit musical, DREAMGIRLS, playing the role of Effie Jones with her signature song “And I Am Telling You” as iconized by Ms. Jennifer Holliday. And who could forget the ouster of Latoya Jackson over the bad performance of Jasmine Trias (who cried after being lambasted by Simon Cowell). Well, Latoya is enjoying record sales from her first album and Jasmine (who eventually got booted out leaving Fantasia and Diana DiGarmo in the finals) has landed big ad campaigns both here and abroad.
Runner up of American Idol Season 4, Bo Bice, has enjoyed his slice of the money pie from record sales of his country-rock record, almost equaling the record sales of Season 4 winner, Carrie Underwood.
Taylor Hicks was viewed as the most hideous with his dancing antics and the salt-and-pepper hair color which made him look old. But he got the highest number of votes in the history of American Idol over the beautiful (yet overrated) Catherine McPhee. Taylor beat the technically more proficient singers in the competition: Mandisa, Paris Bennett, and the cute and intense rocker, Chris Daughtry. Likeability factor played a huge role.
NOW, WHY IS THIS SYSTEM “NOT WORKING” IN THE PHILIPPINES?
It is not about the ability of those who have the money to “buy” the votes by purchasing in bulk the call and text cards, labeling it as “unfair”. We have to accept the fact that the winner wins because of the NUMBER OF VOTES CAST and not the NUMBER OF VOTERS. The majority of the viewing population is NOT ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN CAMPAIGNING TO GENERATE THE VOTES NEEDED TO KEEP THE GOOD SINGERS IN THE COMPETITION. So people, it is not enough that you cast your vote. You have to help campaign for support to build a fan base for the contestants you root for. Remember, as I have said, Idol works only if the audience gets involved. So, to counter the efforts of those who have the capacity to pay but are one of the worst performers in the line-up of contenders, enjoin others to get involved, and not to waste efforts on hating the bad performers. Well, you can do both actually…hahahaha!
Given the premise of the examples cited above, the one who is getting the highest number of votes (and the people buying these votes) should not celebrate immediately. Stop for a moment, sit down, and analyze this: if you stop purchasing the votes, will people support YOUR MANOK even without you and your immediate family voting? If you say or feel that s/he will not have a chance sans your financial capability, then YOUR MANOK’s marketability is placed in question. What happens after s/he actually wins? You and the immediate family will buy his/her records? Think about this for YOUR MANOK: it is not about winning alone…it is about whether YOUR MANOK will honestly feel if s/he deserves to win after winning the title. My husband and I have laughed about this but you have to take it seriously: THE RICH, UGLY GIRL WINS THE TITLE OF MS. HIGH SCHOOL SWEETHEART BECAUSE SHE HAS BOUGHT THE MOST NUMBER OF TICKETS, este, “RECEIVED” THE MOST NUMBER OF VOTES. WHILE BEING CROWNED ON STAGE, PEOPLE ARE SHOUTING, “ANO BA YAN??? HINDI NAMAN BEAUTY PAGEANT ITO EH…UGLY PAGEANT YATA! PALIBHASA MAY PERA, BINILI ANG BOTO.” UGLY GIRL ENJOYS HER MOMENTARY GLORY BECAUSE TRUE ENOUGH, SHE HAS THE CROWN. BUT AS SHE SMILES AND WAVES TO THE CROWD, SHE ASKS HERSELF: I HAVE THE CROWN, BUT DO I REALLY HAVE THE TITLE?
I hope viewers think about this seriously. Who knows? Maybe the change in voting behavior for Philippine Idol will carry over in the upcoming elections. Bwahahahahaha! Isn’t it amazing how similar the PI situation is to how we vote for our government officials? (wryly smiles)