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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Column: Real fame

Every time I turn on the television (which is pretty rare, seeing as I prefer the modes of Hulu Plus, HBO Go and Netflix because they suit my need to constantly be doing something else while I allegedly relax) there seems to be new show after new show after new show created for the sole purpose of finding the “next big thing.”

What’s the point of these shows? If they’re looking for the next big thing, why aren’t they reading my column? Why haven’t they subscribed to my YouTube channel of covers of popular songs? Why didn’t they like my status? Hello, people. Fame is created, not tested and eventually decided, duh.

Ah, it’s good to be back. I know you all missed me and my apparent narcissism. You love it, and obviously I love it. But back to the point that I’m eventually going to make.

Most of these shows feature an average of three celebrity judges and a variety of hosts, some of whom actually aren’t famous for talent, and/or are only known by association. Ahem, Khloe Kardashian. The competition portions are broken up with other celebrity appearances, commercials showing off how awesome Ford is and how people can sing while driving them and unfunny segments to make up for the clusterfuck that is the alleged talent show.

Long gone are the days of the simplistic “America’s Next Top Model,” “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance,” as simple as they could’ve been. The ongoing “feud” between Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul was innocent; the actual ongoing fights between judges and forced-fake-feuds for entertainment on television now are ridiculous excuses for comedy or entertainment.

Why aren’t we focusing on the audience and its need to be able to visualize themselves in the common folk-turned-famous entertainer? Did we forget about the 12-year-old girls who one day dream of trekking to L.A. to sell themselves for fame?

But seriously. When is someone going to evaluate the actual goals of the show and recognize that the actual competition doesn’t actually turn out the “next big thing”? Take “American Idol” for example. Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood (and maybe Jordin Sparks?) are the only notable winners of the show who actually continued their dreams of becoming singers and were successful (at least money-wise) at it.

But let’s take a moment to realize the people who didn’t even come close to winning: Jennifer Hudson, Kellie Pickler, Chris Daughtry, Katharine McPhee and Adam Lambert. Hudson and McPhee star in NBC’s show “Smash.” The rest of the names should sound familiar. But they should sound more familiar than, say … Lee DeWyze, Taylor Hicks, Fantasia Barrino and Ruben Studdard. Guess what? The last four names are those of past “Idol” winners. Think of that.

What goes into the continuing success of certain “Idol” participants? We can rule out their degree of comedic entertainment on the internet (Clay Aiken used to be funny to discuss; now we don’t know where he is). Does it even matter if our favorite contestants win? It seems as if most of them walk away with a recording deal anyway. Or at least some sort of career in the entertainment business.

Is being weird during auditions the only successful way of self-marketing on the television these days? Which show should I sign up for? “Killer Karaoke.” It’s decided. Oh, and if you haven’t watched that show, I guarantee you that it’s the only reality-type show worth watching.

ELIZABETH ORPINA wants to know what you want her to snarkily comment on. Inform her at arts@theaggie.org.

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