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Artificial Intelligence American Idol is back on the air. These first few shows will continue the tradition of deeply humiliating many would-be stars as they pour their hearts out in front of Paula, Randy, and Simon.

I always feel guilty about watching these shows, and for the most part, simply fast-forward until I get to a good singer. [I love my DVR] But sometimes, I watch it all [or almost all]. Tonight’s inaugural episode was one such episode. I fast forwarded through a bit – I’m not really into getting to know all these people’s stories if they’re not gonna at least be in the top 24, so I just skip all that crap.

As this is the 7th season, we’re in for more of the same-ol, same-ol, tho. So there’ll be costumes to distract us from horrible voices, costumes to just get on tv, and clothes that look like costumes but are actually the chosen fashion of the contestants. As I do every year, I ask myself – do we really want to be on tv that bad? Really?

One guy showed up in a cape – to cover some strange body accessories framing a prodigious amount of chest hair. Simon was ready to dismiss strictly based on the “costume” reveal. And in this case, I’d have to say that’d have been the best option. Instead, Randy and Paula tried to be nice…kinda…and Paula made a comment about how distracting the chest hair was. The contestant actually offered to wax it and come back. She said, fine; Randy agreed; he went to find someone to wax him. This guy dutifully got his chest waxed – I mean…I know guys – who have hair – who have less hair on their heads. Shoot, I think this guy might’ve had about the same amt of hair on his head. Just terrible. Cuz you KNOW that hurt. Bad. And they let him come back, and of course he couldn’t sing. What a waste.

There was a girl who gave Napoleon Dynamite a run for his money. She could carry a tune, but she didn’t have a lot of control. All-in-all, just not show material. Not cuz she was a weirdo…I don’t think. Although I may have a subconscious ‘weirdo’ issue. There’s no telling. I think it was just her singing style and vocal control that just wasn’t where I think it should be. She kinda went ballistic once she left the judges, though. Started a diatribe about how they won’t let through any female dorks on the show. And, that is kinda true. There does seem to be a general formula.

The AI formula/’unwritten rules’
-Dudes can almost look like anything. But they hafta be able to sing, or at least carry a tune. [Sanjaya was an exception, seeming to get a ‘by’ for cuteness] Cute is better, and has pretty much nothing to do with weight.
-Costumes mean you can’t sing.
-Gimmicks mean you can’t sing.
-Girls will be miles ahead of the game if they’re slender with long hair – Simon automatically likes these girls. Singing ability if you fit this mold is marginal.
-Big girls hafta be able to BLOW [and dress for their bodies].
-Having a good story might get you on tv, but it won’t get you to Hollywood.

I’ll wrap up with a nice fellow from Philly. He’s a tour guide in the city and his friends told him to try out. He reported [prior to his audition] that he had a ‘unique sound’, and compared himself to Paul Robeson or Eddie Vedder. There are two names I’ve never heard uttered in the same sentence. But this guy seemed cool. He said he ‘specialized’ in the low stuff. So. He sang ‘Go Down, Moses‘.

When Israel was in Egypt’s land
Let my people go
Oppressed so hard they could not stand
Let my people go

Go down, Moses, way down in Egypt’s land
Tell ol’ Pharaoh, Let my people go.

Now, y’all know that is a good song. If you can sing that, at the correct pitch, with feeling – you’re awesome. Unfortunately….I laughed. I didn’t mean to. It was the way he sang the word “people”. I lost it. And it was really bad, cuz Paula and Randy lost it, too. I don’t know how Simon kept a straight face. Shoot. I don’t know how the contestant kept a straight face. [I’d put the video here, but it just aired tonight.]

Watching the early AI shows reminds me that I’ve got a lot of growing to do. Cuz some of it’s just mean.

And I just finished reading The Narrative of Sojourner Truth [which you can apparently read for free, online] on Sunday, so a good rendition of ‘Go Down, Moses’ would’ve been apropos. I’m now reading Bone Black. I don’t really think there’s a song for that. Maybe. But I like the book, either way.

Eh. Real life demands are encroaching. Sleep is imminent.

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