I generally don't have a lot of pity for American Idol contestants. They know, or should know, what's coming to them. They fall into these categories:
These folks are certifiably cuckoo. I feel genuinely bad for them, because they really have something chemically, medically, or deeply spiritually wrong with them. Basically, I don't think they can help it. I don't know how much control they have over even showing up to the audition. Unfortunately, they are always good for a laugh.
These people function on some level within the confines of normal human existence. They make decisions for themselves. They have no long-term memory loss. They are probably not aware of the fact that people are making fun of them right to their faces. Not great at picking up sarcasm, but bottom line . . . they really should know better . . . but most of the time they don't. I feel a little bit bad for them, because, more than likely, no one ever tells them the truth about themselves. But still . . . I don't think they want to know the truth. Discarded and humiliated as they may be, there is still so much pride there. And I find myself laughing at them and feeling bad afterward.
These are normal people who can't sing. They think they're really good. Saddest of all, they're sometimes surrounded by family and friends who refuse to tell them how bad they stink. They think everyone else is awful, sure they'll win the entire competition. Sorry. They deserve the ridicule.
Sincere But Awful
These are the ones that really rip my heart out. They are nice, sweet, endearing people. The good folks at American Idol take extra time to tell us their stories. Unassuming little gems you hope will succeed. And then they sing, and it's just horrendous. They've probably never sung in front of any sort of audience ever. And AI squeezes every tear they can out of them as reality shatters their innocent little bubbles. Sometimes they take it well. Sometimes they're heartbroken. Even though they should know better, the heartbreak was entirely avoidable. These people should never make it as far as Randy, Paula, and Simon. They shouldn't have their hearts broken on national TV.
Attention Starved Goofs
The people who know they stink, but try to stink bad enough to get on TV should be turned away at the door. These guys don't think they can sing any more than a streaker believes he can play football. Just like the streaker, the cameras should turn away.
These people have it the worst. They aren't willing to actually work at it, and almost all of them will lose miserably. They're so excited to go to Hollywood. But they're not good enough to ever make a cent singing professionally.
So . . . is it wrong for American Idol to parade these people before millions of eager viewers? Is it wrong for me to watch? I don't know. Today, I felt mean. Did I just change my own mind? Oh, crap, I hate when that happens.
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