Thursday, April 10, 2008

Idol Gives Back?

I haven't been that excited about American Idol this year and Idol Gives Back turned out to be an extra bummer because Michael Johns got kicked off.

I didn't really watch Idol Gives Back, last night. As a matter of fact, I made plans for the evening specifically because one year of watching Paula, Randy, Simon, and Ryan pretend to care was enough. But, last minute changes in plan found me at home when the last half of the show was airing after all.

This year American Idol execs planned better. Most of the songs actually had to do with caring for people rather than reveling in our apathetic tendencies. The people who were sent to Africa either actually cared...or they have better acting experience. The point is, as a viewer at home I felt like they care - and that's what keeps people phoning in their pocket change, yes?

There are only two bits of the show I really payed close attention to.

One was when the Idol contestants sang Seasons of Love. I like that song. Yes, I know. RENT is an evil movie created for the sole purpose of corrupting good Americans like you and me. The song is still pretty.

Ironically a, somewhat anti-Christian, idol-blogger, Rickey Yaneza, and I were upset about the same part of the show. The finale. Idol contestants came back together with a gospel-type choir to sing Shout to the Lord.

Rickey is angry because,
"Shout to the one of the anthems of the born-again movement in the world — a movement which does not support contraception and is intolerant towards gays and people with HIV/AIDS...Saving children in Africa and New Orleans has nothing to do with the Christian god. What were they thinking? Bah!"

My roommate and I were horrified's a worship song. And it wasn't even one of those songs about God's love for the earth or how God takes care of His children or how we're His hands and feet. That could have been appropriate. The whole song is about how glorious God is and about how the whole world recognizes it. The point is to worship God for His greatness...and they used it as a display case for pretty voices. It wasn't about God at all.

I don't expect the majority of the Christian viewers to be bothered. I rather imagine that they will be tickled that a song they sing Sunday mornings was on American Idol. That their importance as viewers has been noticed. I imagine the same people will have been offended by Carrie Underwood's rendition of Praying For Time (which I loved and thought was incredibly appropriate). That's not to take a swing at anyone who feels that way. I'm imagining having this conversation with my parents and how perplexed they would be at my opinion.

Don't get me wrong, I've always said that Idol execs need to get their act together and realize that a majority of their viewers (and probably contestants) are church-goers. I was thinking more that they should just refrain from offending the living daylights out of us - not that they should hold us a service.

In the end though, I don't think it would matter what they sang. I'm never going to help people through American Idol. Ever. I much prefer to know where my money is going and what it is doing. I can't help thinking that the money Idol Gives Back has gathered will primarily go towards paying for "promotional materials" or to pay for celebrity appearances.


Robin Marie said...

Clearly, I agree with you as we discussed this already.

Ken said...

I don't watch Idol but if I did, I'm sure I would have been appalled about their singing Shout to the Lord. First, like you pointed out, they used it not for purposes of worship, but showmanship.

My second problem is that I do tend to wonder how many singers really believe what they were singing? My guess, not having watched any of this season, would be very few.

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