The cruelty of American Idol

Posted in Music, News, Other, TV

It’s swirling around the blogosphere, and even in dinner conversations: is American Idol meaner this season?

And I am not so much referring to criticism of singing. That, I can understand. It’s a singing competition. It’s the outright criticism of people themselves: of how they look and act. And, this year more than other years, those made fun of are done so to the extreme, drawn out, and have more obvious things to criticise. Without going to details, more have physical or even obvious emotional defects/problems, and it’s horrid to see them being taunted so.


Singling out one performer for his appearance, Cowell said the contestant resembled "one of those creatures that live in the jungle with those massive eyes … what are they called? Bush babies?" [Reuters]

Yesterday at the TCA Press Tour, they slightly responded to the criticism, although noting that they are no different than other years…

OK, now on to the "crueler" Simon. "I take your point; it’s a singing competition. Why would I say that someone’s a bush baby?" But he defended himself by saying, "We never try to censor this show. There are times I watch it back and I think, ‘God, I wish I never said that. I feel more comfortable being on a show where we’re prepared to show the warts as well as the good things."

Randy agreed. "It’s season six; it’s no different than it ever was." [TV Squad]

Another quote:

"American Idol" judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul say they’re no crueler than usual this year, and that people who audition should know what they’re going to get.

"If you don’t want to hear that, don’t show up," Cowell told television writers at a news conference on Saturday. [AP News]

Perhaps we are not asking the right people. Perhaps it is no more mean than others, in terms of Paula/Simon/Randy. Perhaps it’s the producers and editors who are choosing the clips of the criticism and drawing out long scenes on peoples’ appearances. So, let’s listen to their response:

Executive Producer Ken Warwick made no apologies for dwelling on the delusional, the tone-deaf and oddballs among contestants, insisting he was giving viewers what they wanted.

"People like the bad singers," Warwick said. "It’s more the bad singers that will bring in the ratings." [Reuters]

I think what is not being made clear to producers it that the dissatisfaction is less with the talent of the contestants than their obvious appearance flaws.

I’ve always found it annoying that although this is a competition on talent, so many people are aired who have no talent whatsoever. We never hear the mostly good compete against the really good – just the bad versus the good. Entertainment.

For a show with guaranteed high ratings, I was shocked to see them go so far as they did during the premiere week. Completely unnecessary and cruel. And, if this is a true reflection of the changing demands of viewers, the desensitization to cruelty and demands for it for entertainment value, then it is truly sad.

If you want American Idol coverage, check out b5′s own Idol Stalker.

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Always look back

Posted in Arieanna & Ianiv, Other

Here is a good piece of advice from Lee and Sachi for those who are traveling: Before leaving a spot, always look back and make sure you didn’t leave anything behind.

Lee didn’t do this and left his Treo in Australia after boarding a plane Singapore :(

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Chris Pirillo – top lists suck

Posted in Blogging, Other

The list thing is not dying out yet. Chris Pirillo has a go at why the A list debate sucks – basically, according to Chris, all lists of top this or top that suck. Period.

Here is why:

1. Mindshare is ethereal. Numbers alone will never, EVER tell the full tale.

2. A list is only as strong as its deveoper, structure, validity (mindshare), and taxonomy. You may not even rank on the “X list” because the indexer doesn’t know about you.

3. Apathy. People don’t always vote. A user-driven tally isn’t necessarily representative of overall popularity – especially if a would-be active participant isn’t aware of the opportunity to play along.

4. Follow the money. List positions and nominations can be and ARE sold on a regular basis. This is the case more often than not, sadly.

5. Popularity contests hurt feelings and create unwarranted animosity. It’s a lot like high school, only there’s much more at stake when you don’t make a seemingly-important list. Exclusivity is only cool when you’re included.

6. Rankings are arbitrary. Popular by who’s standards? Why are they popular? According to what metrics? Are the metrics valid? Have they covered every base? Value is relative.

7. Technology sucks. No, seriously – it sucks. It doesn’t work when you need it to work, and doesn’t work they way you want it to work. Ever.

8. Rankings aren’t measured cross-medium. You may be more popular offline than online in a certain category, but if the numbers aren’t merged properly (or at all), the results will be skewed and wholly inaccurate. You wisdom may be genius-level in audio form, but you may not rank in a list that ranks your general subject matter.

9. Human error. How many newspaper, magazine, newsletter, site editors just didn’t get it right? The bigger their reach, the more silly their “top X lists” seem to be.

10. You are your own list. You only use the products and services you feel are best for you. New lists might influence your decisions, but ultimately, you’re defining what remains on your radar.

Yep. I agree. Getting on a list is an ego boost, but it does not truly reflect any value. Are you providing value to people? Great. Screw the list. That’s what matters. And that’s why this debate is roaring – the lists don’t show value.

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Lipstick for the geek in all of us

Posted in Other

Popgadget: Personal Tech for Women: Organize your lips

Ok, so I have a PDA already. Will admit my geek factor is steadily rising (ahem, I do write on 2 blogs right now!!), but one thing I have yet to get is the PDA Lip Gloss! Oh yes, lip gloss.

lip gloss

This little device comes with three glitterly glosses (would prefer non glitter preferably) and a mirror. I note there are 6 varieties of colours, some with matte, but they seem a bit off in the colours I would normally use. Just a bit too bright.

Fira Cosmetics also has a laptop with 66 lip gloss and eye shadow colours and another CD organizer too. Probably not your MAC quality, but hey. For those of you who want the geek factor, go for it.


Posted in Other, Recipes

I have made this applesauce a couple of times now. It’s good hot and cold. The first time I followed the directions to see how it was done, the second time I played around with it some more. For example, I didn’t bother peeling the apples (I wanted the nutrients in the skin) or cutting them small. I just used an apple slicer for big chunks.

I am giving you 2 options for the amount you want to make. If you choose to make less applesauce, simply use all of the smaller quantities listed.

If you want to use this applesauce in baking, do not sweeten it.
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Whole Wheat Conversions

Posted in Other, Recipes

In many of the baking recipes, you will need the following conversion:

1 cup of whole wheat PASTRY flour = 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour

1 always use regular whole wheat flour, but the pastry flour would produce a softer, lighter baked good since the flour is more refined.

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