Blood & Pasta: American Idol is manipulating you
I have yet to watch Thursday’s American Idol results show in its entirety (blame booze & the fact I can follow it via Twitter on my phone) but as you all know, Casey Abrams was going to be eliminated. But then he was SAVED. And then Ryan Seacrest announced the Top 11 would be going on tour — a decision made long before Casey Abrams allegedly received the lowest number of votes.
Today TMZ reports Casey Abrams collapsed after the show, and that he received another blood transfusion on Thursday. So what exactly is wrong with Casey Abrams? A hemorage?
“American Idol” contestant Casey Abrams — who got voted off the show Thursday and won a save from the judges — was so overwrought with emotion after the show, he began hyperventilating and then fell to the floor in the hallway.
We’re told “A.I.” staffers helped Casey up and put him in a chair so he could calm down.
Ironically, his song choice Thursday was “I Don’t Need No Doctor.”
Our “Idol” spies tell us … Casey felt horrible that the judges used their save for him, saying “I feel really bad that other [contestants] might have to go home now because they [the judges] used the save on me.”
Casey had a rough day Thursday. He got a blood transfusion in the morning because of ongoing problems with internal bleeding.
Also a big fat lie: That was not Mamma Langone’s pasta given to Gordon Ramsey during Wednesday’s live show — at least according to Stefano via Twitter (as reported by MJ).
UPDATE: Stefano Langone tweets about Thursday night’s food incident–where Chef Ramsey turned his nose up at his mom’s pasta:
Ohh for the record. It was not really my mothers food. It was all staged, and he kind of made himself look like a jerk for nothing
For the record!!! You can say what you want bout me, I don’t care what it is, but if it has to do wit my mom, my family don’t even mess
My moms looked upset cuz she was made to look bad for something that really had nothing to do wit her… sorry I’m venting now haha
Wouldn’t really surprise me. Now look for Stefano to be one of the two contestants who goes home next week. But more importantly, do you believe Casey Abrams actually did receive the lowest number of votes?
Sure, sure. He went first. His performance was nothing extraordinary. Dial Idol had him pegged last. Then again, how is Dial Idol even relevant anymore when so much of the voting is done via texting and Facebook, and oh, who the hell uses dial-up internet anymore?
There are lots of theories circulating on whether or not Casey’s illness is/was staged, or if this was all a big put-on because Idol has no idea how he will be able to cope with the rigorous schedule of the show, the tour, yada yada yada. American Idol is desperately trying to regain its status as a relevant, pop culture powerhouse capable of turning contestants into superstars. Children who grew up with the show no longer care, as they have not cared for some time. Plus…we all know who REALLY does all the voting.
While Stefano Langone’s Italian-American cooking momma did not really make everyone food, this was an ethnic stereotype American Idol wanted to run with — this is not the first time the show has attempted to capitalize on the nation’s fascination with Jersey Shore. But as well all know, embracing ethnicity is one of those things that won’t get you very far on American Idol.
Jacob Lusk may have received the greatest accolades from the judges during Wednesday’s Motown show, but middle-aged white women don’t vote for black men. Nor do they vote for women. Jacob Lusk is also from the Los Angeles area, hardly one that gets behind their local American Idol contestant. Why does the South produce so many winners? Community organization. Pride in one’s state, one’s country, one’s faith, pride pride pride.
Haley Reinhart, like Jacob, also performed during the middle of the show. Some people believe leading off is the kiss of death, but Idol stacks the middle with those they don’t really care about. Who is voting for Haley Reinhart? All of Milwaukee, a city where Naima Adeapo also hails? You could throw Wisconsin into the mix as it is in the midwest and largely rural, but the only American Idol winners not from the Southern U.S. are David Cook (Kansas City, MO) and Lee DeWyze (Chicago, IL).
Jacob Lusk’s gigantic voice isn’t going to sell pop albums. He’s also a black man and while he has not explicitly said it, come on. He’s gay. Jacob Lusk is a brilliant performer — check out The Awl’s incredible Divanalysis of Lusk’s Wednesday night performance — but he’s not a pop star. And middle-aged white women do not vote for black men, let alone gay black men. The LGBT population has never had an easy ride, but gay black men continue to face an especially sad journey and limited acceptance within their own communities. Even if you’re a straight black man on Idol, you’re screwed — thankfully last year’s judges’ save kept Michael Lynche around longer, but the real reason he was “voted off” to begin with was because middle-aged white women watching Idol don’t vote for black men, even if they’re the proud new papa to a baby girl and bust out the guitar to sing the occasional John Mayer tune.
Middle-aged white women DO, however, go apeshit over Idol’s gay white men more so than the straight ones (see the Glamberts and the Claymates) likely because it is easier for them to justify (in their own minds) naming themselves keeper of [insert body part] here and writing horrific slash — even if their prior experience with “gay culture” is likely limited to a hair salon they once went to, Jm J. Bullock, and Will & Grace reruns.
Ethnicity has never played well to the majority of American Idol viewers. Would Allison Iraheta, one of my all-time favorite Idol contestants, have gone as far as she did had she played up her Hispanic heritage a la last week’s eliminated contestant Karen Rodriguez? Allison, who like Lusk is also from Southern California, had the OMG SHE IS ONLY 16 factor going for her to separate her from the competition. (Not to mention an out-of-this-world voice.) David Archuleta also had youth and the Church of Latter Day Saints on his side, so his Hispanic background became null & void. Jason Castro made it to fourth place during the same season because he did not look Colombian. Those bright blue eyes, the sandy-blond dreads, not to mention the fact his family sought to loose all their “ethnic trappings” upon moving to Texas. I do not know how much Spanish Archuleta speaks, but I seriously doubt Jason Castro and his other Idol-loving siblings know anything other than the few things they may remember from a required high school course. The addition of Jennifer Lopez to this year’s panel led to increased attention upon the Hispanic female contestants, but Karen Rodriguez was still the second person sent home. And lest we forget La Lopez really only publicly embraced her own roots as a Puerto Rican once Gigli and the Bennifer fiasco made her an absolute joke.
During season 7, Iraheta was also smartly positioned as the boys’ little sister, which probably earned her a decent share of votes along the way. But when it mattered most, and when Allison Iraheta knocked it out of the park during Season 7′s Rock Week — Allison’s duet with Adam Lambert to Foghat’s Slowride is probably one of my all-time favorite Idol performances — it was Danny Gokey who made the Top 3 even after bastardizing Aerosmith. If you’re a white and you have a penis, you’re always ahead of anyone else on American Idol. (Another sad fact? Adam Lambert and Season 5′s Elliott Yamin remain the show’s top Jewish finishers.)
But American Idol needs Jacob Lusk, just as they so desperately need a female frontrunner. They need to tell you how awesome Lauren Alaina and Pia Toscano are because this is what they want. They cannot admit they’re fully aware the most ardent fans of this show are not voting for the powerfully-voiced black man, nor can they show the world the girls aren’t getting nearly as many votes as the white boys. For the first two weeks, we only had FEMALES in the Bottom 3. Obviously for the big THESE PEOPLE GET TO GO ON THE TOUR episode, the drama & suspense factor had to be blasted on high. Better throw a boy into the mix for suspense AND to show that well, you know, someone is voting for the girls.
Idol needs another Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood because by and large, the female winners of this show do not attract the highly-visible batshit crazy element as so many of their male contestants. Clarkson and Underwood sell records, even Daughtry was unable to match the success of his/their debut with their sophomore album. What will David Cook sell with his next studio effort? Even Adam Lambert, the heavily-annointed sparkly god of all things American Idol, was unable to clear Platinum in the United States with For Your Entertainment. For the guys, a lot of this really does hinge on the fans and when a bunch of scary older ladies are requesting songs ad nauseum, going after any blogger or journalist who says anything negative, combined with the fact radio stations and record labels now know American Idol is more detrimental to one’s career than anything else. It’s a golden ticket to disappointment. Let’s ask Lee DeWyze in a year or two how he feels about winning?
Today’s plucked from obscurity superstars are discovered via YouTube (see Justin Bieber). American Idol is still on MySpace. Their desired audience is barely watching TV because they’re too busy playing games on Facebook and texting their friends. American Idol was something they watched as children with their families. How many teenagers are still sitting down with Mom (& Dad) to watch American Idol every week? It’s about as cool as…MySpace.
The conspiracy theorist in me believes this week’s bottom 3 included Lusk, and probably Naima, whom I just adore and believe to be the most marketable in the pop realm of any female on the show at this time, because you know, she’s “out there” and is really into Africa and stuff. Africa. It’s kind of ethnic and stuff, even with Angelina Jolie adopting all those babies. But throw a sickly Casey Abrams into the mix and you have instant drama, yet we can’t forget a Simon-less Idol is a kinder and gentler one, so let’s have all Top 11 contestants go on tour. NO ONE CRIES. EVERYONE IS HAPPY.
If there was any male solidly in the Bottom 3, one would have to go with Stefano Langone. His take on Lionel Richie’s Hello was straight up cruise ship lounge singer performing for a shipboard wedding. This especially did not win him any points with David Cook fans, many of whom are, in fact, batshit crazy, yet I do agree with them on the fact no other contestant should take on Hello after Cook’s beyond-brilliant alt-rockish rendition of the song during the Season 7 semifinals. This single performance changed the landscape of the show. Being a musician became just as important as having the vocal chops, and Cook’s fellow contestants were forced to up their game based on Cook’s rock-solid performance early on. (The Hollywood Reporter’s Shirley Halperin agrees about the importance of David Cook’s Hello in American Idol’s 10-season history) No Idol contestant has ever played the game as smartly as David Cook.
Back on topic. So who’s currently “winning” this whole damn thing? Don’t count out Paul McDonald, who is impeccable Idol cougar bait if I’ve ever seen it. He’s in his mid-20s, therefore old woman believe it is acceptable to talk about doing all sorts of nasty things to him. He is a WGWG and not hideously unattractive although that never stops them). He’s from Tennessee. He has an interesting voice and reminds them of Rod Stewart. Even if I really to see what his teeth look like underneath a black light, I actually like Paul McDonald. Because I actually DO like him, I already feel bad for the guy since it does seem as if he really does have zero idea of what happens to guys who go on this show. Here’s a great idea, 19 Entertainment — how about putting Paul McDonald and Crystal Bowersox together on a cross-country small venue tour? Hell, getting Bowersox at SXSW was one of the best post-Idol moves I’ve seen, but I’m betting manager Gina Orr (formerly of Jive) was behind that coup.
But who is REALLY winning? Most likely babylockthemdoors Scotty McCreery. Aiken E. Newman is a fine, upstanding young man from North Carolina. He likes Jesus and baseball. He is 17. He sings country and only country. He’s geographically ideal — remember COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION — and he’s also a surefire moneymaker for 19 Entertainment even if he just makes the Top 5. He’ll get a record deal in Nashville and will be touring with Sugarland next summer, a la Danny Gokey and now Casey James (last year’s 3rd-place finisher). Securing a country-singing male is now necessary every season after American Idol realized that yes, there might be a decent-sized audience for a Bucky Covington. Of course, country-izing Danny Gokey will always make me laugh because no matter how many albums he makes in Nashville, that boy will never be country to me. — (Side note: Still convinced Gokey went country because Kris Allen told them to shove it upon the suggestion that he was quasi-country as he is from Arkansas and plays guitar. Kris Allen is cool like that.) American Idol needs a country boy because while he will never be the cash cow, he will produce a positive ROI and keep those viewers below the Mason-Dixon Line happy.
But that Scotty McCreery, well golly gee, he really is country. And the people voting for contestants on this show like that country music. He’s also young. More than anything, American Idol needs a young winner…if only to convince themselves those crazy old ladies with the homemade quilts and boxes of Triscuits and puffy-paint-on-posterboard signs crowding the barricades to the tour buses while sweltering underneath the hot summer sun are not the ones determining “the stars” of their aging talent show.
Just as they want you to believe they love black people, and tan people, and even the Jews…American Idol wants to manipulate. (They SAVED former Hebrew school attendee Casey Abrams! You do know the real reason the Christian Right is always behind Israel. Same thing. Kind of.) They want it to be somewhere between 2003-2005 and they will do anything they can to convince you of this fact. Even with high ratings, American Idol lost its relevancy awhile ago. It’s a pop culture relic of the early 00s. People might watch, but they don’t actually care. Just because you still have a MySpace profile doesn’t mean you ever log in.