you can't spend much time on the internet without being offered a peek at someone's opinion regarding the outcome of american idol. most tend to feel that the viewing voters of america (hereinafter referred to as "v v o a") got it all wrong. that adam lambert was head and shoulders better than kris allen, danny gokey, et al. it's just a travesty that v v o a took the victory away from adam. how could that happen?
well, i have an opinion about all that. but first, one clear, concise fact. kris allen won american idol! v v o a decision is final. that's a fact.
as to the opinion . . . well, i think adam lambert is a more talented vocalist than anyone else i've seen on idol. of course, i've only watched the last two seasons, so maybe there were better. or equal. adam exhibited a tremendous vocal range, perfect pitch (i know, cause randy said so), and could sustain a high c as well as any operatic diva. and the one thing he had that i don't think anyone in the world can compete with is screechability. no one's ever gonna screech as high and as long as adam lambert. so when measuring the competitors on a basis of pure talent, adam lambert wins.
it's also my opinion that danny gokey is a more talented vocalist than kris allen. but his voice was most suitable for bluesy stuff. gruff, moving. and i feel his versatility was limited by that. i also feel that his story, while helping him get into the final three, hurt him in the end. i have to wonder if v v o a began to ask themselves "am i voting for gokey because i like him, or i feel sympathetic toward him?" once they begin questioning their choice, many will waver.
i suppose allison was talented as a vocalist. i think she'll show that even more as she matures. the thing i didn't like about her her was often times her loud, throaty voice seemed faked, rather than natural. she had to really push it, and i felt i could hear a difference in those cases.
having said all that, the critical thing to remember here is . . . american idol is not a talent contest. it isn't touted as a talent contest. if it were a talent contest their judges, who, at least presumably, know more about recognizing and developing talent than the vast majority of the v v o a, would make all decisions.
but, alas, american idol is really nothing more than a popularity contest. to support this, paint yourself this picture: big fat guy with a mullet, 28 years old, and you know, fat people really have a good sense of rhythm, so he moves real well. and he's got adam lambert's voice. and he doesn't make the final twelve. or even the final thirteen. talent's a factor, but not the primary concern. it all comes down to the blend of raw talent, appearance, stage presence, and likeability. not necessarily in that order.
in this case, obviously v v o a felt that kris had a better mixture of all these than adam.
then the blogging experts claim that adam lost to kris because of his questionable sexuality. then they claim that the gokey supporters merely voted against adam. well, whether or not any of this is true, it doesn't matter. the vote remains in kris's favor, and that makes him the winner.
and the surprising part of kris's win, from my perspective, is that kris won in spite of what i believe is the make-up of v v o a. one hundred million votes. that's a lot. but that doesn't mean a hundred million people voted. let's consider just who is voting, and how.
my guess would be that the vast majority of the votes are cast via text messaging. it's quick, easy, and no busy signals. i would submit that the demography of v v o a would break something like this:
14-24 year olds - 50%
25-35 year olds - 30%
35-45 year olds - 15%
<14> 45 - 5%
idol producers know that. and that's why they limit the age of competitors to the under thirty crowd.
but then, who sends text messages? i'm guessing most would be sent by the 14-24 group. some by the 25-35 folks, and a rare few by the rest. and then of that demographic, who would most inclined to vote ten times? or twenty times? or a hundred times? answer would be - the younger crowd.
so a hundred million votes cast by maybe thirty million voters? would that seem reasonably accurate? all that considered, i think v v o a did a tremendous job. favoring a clean cut, rural, spiritual country boy over the glitz and glam rocker, when it's the younger crowd making the biggest part of the decision, well, that's pretty re-assuring. this seems to conflict with the voting trend in our country - at least when it comes to electing our highest officials. and i have to wonder, if we could motivate voters in a political campaign to turn out in such force, and they would choose what appears to be wholesome over, well, questionable, who then would we have in the white house?