American Idol: sinful to watch?

I’m talking about the first few weeks of that show, when people are auditioning. A lot of them are pretty bad; they just put them on as comic relief. The judges often berate those contestants. They laugh at the really horrible ones. Many of them go home crying because of how one of the judges (if you watch the show, you know I mean Mr Cowell) treated them.

Is it sinful to watch this to laugh at those people? It feels wrong, but then again they did put themselves out there. It’s, like, with art – if you put your work on display, it’s open to criticism. Still, perhaps it’s a failure of charity to watch someone just to laugh; a lot of them can’t take the criticism (I probably wouldn’t be able to either) so perhaps it’s unfair to expect the sort of cold professionalism you’d see with someone who is used to being criticised.

I don’t watch the rest of the show (frankly I couldn’t care less about who wins) but I just used to watch those audutions.

What do you think – laughing at American Idol contestants: wrong or morally-acceptable?

Unfortunately we live in a mocking society where its entertaining to laugh at other people’s shortcomings. Not everyone can sing like Whitney Houston or Celine Dion…It’s the same here in England. The level of personal insults hurled at contestants in shows like Dancing with the Stars, X Factor etc is so spiteful, condemnatory and negative, it borders on hatred!!!

Everyone who auditions signs a release allowing clips of their audition to be shown on television. No one is taken by surprise. I think a lot of those bad auditions and tantrums are staged by the entertainers, who want the publicity.

Keep in mind that in the entertainment industry, negative publicity is better than no publicity. Remember William Hung? After his horrible audition, he became an online star and released a CD. Everyone loved him. Here is his official website:

The auditioners WANT to be on television, even if they are having a hissy fit and getting insulted. This visibility is valuable to them. A producer may be looking for their body type, voice type, etc. for a show, commercial, online production, etc. Getting themselves NOTICED is a positive thing for their career.

That’s show biz–there will be many more rejections than glowing compliments and triumphs. The entertainers who persevere through all of the rejections and insults and rotten tomatoes will eventually succeed. You have to have nerves of steel to be an entertainer. You CANNOT be devastated by insults and slammed doors. You have to keep plugging away.

AND–you have to keep learning. Many of the best singers, dancers, actors, etc. in the business take classes constantly to improve their craft. The singers who audition for American Idol with no training need to train, and hopefully their audition rejection experience will galvanize them to go to a coach and get some training.

I don’t know about sinful to watch, but I wouldn’t hesitate to say, stupid to watch! I HATE that show! LOL

We don’t watch it until they are already in Hollywood - not because I think it’s sinful, but because their language is terrible when they get shown the door. I don’t want my kids hearing that - even if it’s beeped out.

I agree that the contestants know what they are getting themselves into… they** want** their 5 minutes of fame. What I can’t understand is don’t they have anyone in their lives who pull them aside to say, “Um… don’t take this the wrong way… but your singing really stinks…” :shrug:

Those contestants did not put themselves out there for the cameras. Thousands of people audition days before the judges arrive and are weeded out by producers who choose the most entertaining characters, talented or otherwise. Some of the horrible-sounding singers are encouraged by the producers and these singers build up this confidence about their voices which shatter in front of the cameras when they hear from the so-called expert judges.

The program has nothing to do with talent. The ones who do make it to the next round were chosen for their ‘commercial’ sound which would be marketable in the United States. In parts of Europe and Australia, some of the finalists chosen have a more ‘classical’ than ‘pop’ sound because of that region’s culture and preference. Many talented people have also been passed on by the judges in favor of other singers with an interesting story good for television drama.

Like anything else on television, do not accept anything on face value. I’ve personally met some of the rejects shown on the show, and they actually think they have talent. When you have producers telling you how good you are, of course you’ll think that way. I’m pretty sure many of them are not faking it.

The reality is, us members of the entertainment industry do manipulate the final product, whether it is manipulating the situation itself or altering the footage. Television was never meant to be ‘real’, otherwise nobody would be watching.

When it all comes down to it, the purpose of these programs is not to discover talent, but to make money. The audition episodes generate a lot of ratings and the network loves that. They don’t care if anyone’s self-esteem gets hurt in the process. The recent event of a former contestant committing suicide has caused the network to make changes for the next season.

American Idol is respected in the television industry because of its ability to generate big business in a cost-effective way while becoming a major cultural phenomenon. Good news for global conglomeration. The Pop Idol franchise has made big bucks selling its format in many countries and extending its cultural and commercial influence on societies. This franchise also expands to other industries.

The market audience (the consumers) is conditioned to become fan bases of the contestants in order to promote album/concert sales, products created by the franchise (e.g., American Idol posters, karaoke tracks, dolls, etc.) and corporations sponsoring the franchise (e.g. Ford Motor Company, Coca-Cola and Cingular Wireless).

The reason American Idol found such popularity is because of its format. In the reality television genre, the audience generally identifies with one of its own, an everyday person. The preliminary auditions with terrible singers helps the everyday viewer with his or her own’s personal insecurities. This resonates well in American culture, which is competitive in nature. I’ve seen the Pop Idol format in other countries, and the criticism isn’t as harsh depending on that region’s cultural values. The audience identify with the ones who do make it, giving them the impression that they too can become superstars one day. Who hasn’t dreamed about becoming a star?

I don’t know if it is sinful to watch such programs. I personally do not watch American Idol regularly and although I do find the first few episodes humorous, I feel a little concerned for the people who were subjected to that kind of thing.

Sorry to make this post long, just thought I should warn you.

JPUSC, I agree with all you’ve said.

But I’ll repeat that anyone who wants to make it in the entertainment industry has to have guts of steel. They HAVE to be able to take criticism, ridicule, and rejection. They can’t collapse, lose their self-esteem, give up, and quit.

If this show gets this across to all the aspiring “stars” in the U.S., then it has done a great service to the entertainment industry AND to parents of star-struck children and teenagers!

One of my work associates has auditioned for American Idol twice in Chicago. Both times, she was told that she isn’t the “type” they are looking for. She’s very petite, almost child-like, in case you are wondering, and she sings with a bluesy voice. I can see their point–they want pop and they want “grown-up.”

These producers KNOW the pop music industry and they KNOW what will sell and what won’t. I think that the show is honest, not fixed, judging by the selection of Taylor Hicks, who is not a zillion-seller because he doesn’t appeal to young people. (He appeals to me, a 51-year-old woman!–I get to go see him in a few weeks. Sigh!)

Many of the people who have had bad auditions have later admitted they only wanted to get on TV. In 2005 a young woman named Mary Roach auditioned and acted really weird in her audition. A few months later it was revealed that she was a stand up comic looking to get more gigs and she actually got gigs after appearing on the show. The same thing has happened with several other people. Also often they are people who have mental disabilities who audition after being encouraged by family and friends and in those situations I think the family and friends are responsible for the humiliation. I don’t thank AI is a bad show sure some things are fixed but a lot of great singers get exposure and help launching careers. Many of the past contestants come from working class backgrounds, some have college educations and many are have strong religious beliefs.

I think the sin in watching the first few weeks of American Idol is not in laughing at the contestants but in being an irresponsible use of time! :wink:

I mean, c’mon! Do we really need to watch 5 or 6 weeks of 2 hour long episodes of lousy singers? I think the real joke is on us for watching it! :stuck_out_tongue: :wink: :smiley:

Well, I’ve never watched it, for what it’s worth.

But I’m with those who say that it is rude to pick someone purely *because *they are so bad that they will produce laughs. Even if some of them do it on purpose, others, who think that they were picked by merit, will get hurt by it.

But there are many, many shows out there that appeal to us based on " God, I thank thee that I am not like other men." (Luke 18:11, RSV) I confess to watching some of these, mostly the ones about criminals.

But I stay away from the ones where people are set up to be humiliated. See, I’m **so **holier-than-thou! :shrug:

Sacred heart of Jesus, instill in me the virtue of Charity!


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