American Idol Rule Change: Total Industry-Enabling Conspiracy


We’ve already taken note of the American Idol rule change, dramatically announced on Wednesday night, that gives the Idol judges a singe unanimous veto to save an otherwise deep-sixed contestant: a reprieve that lasts a week (then two people get dropped in the name of evening the scales). This slightly fascist display of power is being sold ’round the internet and on the show as a kind of J-Hud/Daughtry-inspired exception, with reference to the sorta canard that the Idol judges are “experts” who have an eye for talent more precise and reliable than that of the unwashed democratic masses. But given that this is pretty much unwashed democratic masses-driven entertainment–for the people, by the people, if you will–there’s something fishy about the resort to expertise and the appeal to some sort of standard higher than the basic test of figuring out which idols inhabitants of the United States think are truly American Idols. As such, Last Plane to Jakarta calls conspiracy.

    “The rule change is about one thing only: conversations between the show’s producers & industry executives who see, in the show, one of the only bright spots in the business. The judges will rescue people at the behest of labels or production houses who think they can make money off of people whom the viewing public have rejected, or, possibly, in whom they’ve already invested too much to see them lose.”

This follows an entertainingly long disclaimer and precedes the sentences: “Can I prove this? Let me answer the question with a question: am I fucking Sherlock Holmes?” But LPTJ is clearly onto something obvious that weirdly hasn’t been widely alleged: how this not a transparently special-interest related move to encourage all sorts of scummy industry people from making bets and investments on these people in advance, since now they have the technical means of making sure their horse crosses the line into the top five? Small potatoes, sure, and maybe who cares–but isn’t the only interesting thing about this show sorting out how large groups of people feel about certain, somewhat talismanic individuals? Gays, the blind, the overweight, etc? Somehow, watching an industry A&R in real time just doesn’t have quite the same charm.

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