May 21, 2009

Don't worry, American Idol is still gay

The AP indulges in some fancy footwork -- I guess you could call it self-censorship -- in its efforts to explain why Adam Lambert maybe didn't win last night's little talent competition.

There was also the Danny Gokey factor. Gokey made it to the top three before he fell out of the contest, leaving his supporters up for grabs. "After the third one leaves, you wonder where do the votes go from that third contestant," Paula Abdul said backstage after Tuesday's singing showdown.

Allen seemed the likely candidate for those viewers' affections, for on- and offstage reasons. Allen and Gokey, 29, of Milwaukee, were downright conservative when compared to Lambert's elaborate staging and wardrobe choices. Allen is a married college student — his wife was often on hand to root for him — and has worked as a church worship leader. Gokey, a recent widower, is a church music director.

Lambert, 27, of Los Angeles, brought measured rock flashiness — daring, not freaky — with songs including "Whole Lotta Love," the first-ever Led Zeppelin tune on "Idol." He's largely kept his personal life under wraps, saying "I know who I am" when asked about it.

Earlier this week, Allen said he hoped the outcome wouldn't be decided by "having the Christian vote."

"I hope it has to do with your talent and the performance that you give and the package that you have. It's not about religion and all that kind of stuff," he said.

That's funny, the gays also think it has to do with the package that you have. Anyway, from now on when someone is half-closeted, I'm going to call it the Danny Gokey factor.

This contorted effort to come close to explaining something without actually doing so has as much in common with journalism as American Idol performances have with music. It doesn't even seem necessary. One could avoid "outing" Lambert by reporting not that he's gay but that people voted against him because they think he is. And if the AP really believes that enough people watching the family-friendly American Idol are aware that Lambert is or might be gay for it to influence the outcome of the voting, then surely reporting that in an article about the show would not be revealing something that people don't already know. Indeed, the allusive explanation of the "Danny Gokey factor" only makes sense if people know what it means. It's unnecessarily coy for those who get it and unacceptably non-explanatory for those who don't.

I should say that I don't in the least care who won. I don't watch the show myself and have never heard either of these gentleman sing until today when I watched a bunch of clips out of curiosity. I get that the appeal of the program is the game show aspect and not necessarily the performances, but holy crap the performances suck. Yes, several previous Idolers have gone on to make great pop music, but I'd rather file my ears off than watch the show itself. Any program that actually rewards someone for doing this to a Bob Dylan isn't going to get me on board. (Take that, Fox!)

Posted by Daniel Radosh


That is so not even close to the worst bleeding head wound Dylan has taken on that show.


Toothpaste was out of that tube long ago:


AMHerald (like the Metro but worse and run by an actual newspaper) went with "devout Christian" versus "off-the-charts vocal range and dramatic flair."

I always thought that Kelly Clarkson song was the worst Tatu song I'd ever heard.

I think Daniel's pick is the more horrifying one. Castor's cover of Mr. Tambourine Man sounds like any mediocre college student at the campus cafe's open mic night. It's bad, but in a familiar way. Kris Allen's treatment of Make You Feel My Love left me so traumatized that I had to put the original on repeat for 15 minutes to drive that performance from my mind.

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