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Idol Worship - February 9
Travis Eberle

I'll admit it. I watched the very first season of "American Idol" all the way through. It was a new adventure, and I enjoyed it. I haven't been able to make it through ever since. I'll catch an opening round episode here, an elimination episode there, but the interest has waned.

I understand the appeal of the novelty acts and the whackjobs. From their standpoint, they get 15 seconds of fame, even though they probably have no chance at getting on the actual show. For the producers, it's a boon because they can fill out the hour with however many 'bad' acts they need. You know what? We get it. Some people just can't sing. Show me more of the people who lost by a 2-to-1 vote but didn't make the cut. More of the people who just barely made it. Show me more emotion from the contenders. I really don't care about the people who didn't make it, but for one in a million, they'll be forgotten anyway.

(Forgive me taking an aside for a moment, but this has bothered me for the last few weeks.) Then there's Leroy. I downloaded the clip from the Video Wall, and watched in bewilderment as to how the producers could let this guy on. He didn't have his eye on the prize. Frankly, I'm not sure his eyes were focused on much of anything, but we got to watch his do a cross between "Got Your Money" and a 'Stomp' routine, which was as good as neither. I didn't laugh. I didn't cry. I sighed briefly, shook my head, and went on with my evening. That he actually got out of jail long enough to get down to the set scares me more than you might imagine.

If AI were to cut show us the good parts of the auditions, I probably still wouldn't watch. I've seen it all before. I know that the loser will only be crowned (crowned? There has to be a better word...) in the last few minutes of the show. There's no need for me to sit through Ryan reading the comments of the judges three times, while we go to cut-shots of the contenders' hopeful families. After three times, I've figured it all out. There's nothing new being done.

Lots of programs shake up the rules each year to keep the contestants and the viewers wondering what new twists the shows will bring, and how it will affect the game. AI really can't go down that road, and I'm not even sure that it would bring me back. That the format is so stripped down is one of its strengths, even if I think that they could make the elimination show a 15-minute special the next day.

If you enjoy the show, that's great. Don't let me stop you; obviously there are millions of people who agree with you; enough so that Fox cleans house every January to May. But I won't be one of them.

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