The Champ Is Beatable
It's a phrase that you hear at least once a month if
you are an avid follower of boxing, MMA, college ball, and any other form of
competitive clash not involving Vince McMahon. Four little words that assure the
public of the iron-clad resolve of an underdog in for the fight of his life
against the reigning king of the ring (or the octagon or the court or the
gridiron or whatever)...
"The champ is beatable."
What do those words mean? In a human world, we are all subject to human
weakness. It is only a matter of exposing the weakness and, in the words of the
warm-up guy at "The Late Late Show" two years ago (I forgot his name... Sorry,
Travis S), expanding and enhancing. It's the chink in the armor. If you keep
hitting the chink, it'll eventually turn into a furrow... then a crack.... then
a break... and then a split. And as soon as your opponent is wearing half a
breastplate off his right shoulder, then you can hit'em with everything you've
Simply put... even a person at the top of his game can fall from grace. Mike
Tyson... the 2005 Duke Blue Devils... Ken Jennings... They all eventually lost.
And lost hard.
Nowhere is this more evident than on the stages of "American Idol". As David
Archuleta continues to wow the audience to the heavens, there are at least three
people ready to drag him back to earth, and here is how they can do just that.
Let's season by season it, shall we, taking favorite vs. eventual winner.
Season 1: Tamyra Gray vs. Kelly Clarkson. This was back when the format (and
everything else) mirrored its parent show "Pop Idol". Tamyra actually placed
first in her semi-final, whilst Kelly placed second. The only thing was that
while Tamyra exhausted her arsenal, Kelly came out guns-a-blazin'. As a result,
she moved to the forefront while chaotic circumstances knocked Tamyra to the
bottom (and out) for the first time in the round of four.
Season 2: Clay Aiken vs. Ruben Studdard. It was the round mound of sound versus
the skinny geeky white boy. Clay turned into a sentimental favorite because of
his wild-card placing, and as a result, he never saw the light of the bottom
three. THAT is what may have helped Ruben Studdard, who parlayed his one and
only stint in the bottom to a renewed resolve that resonated through to the
public. That resulted in one of the closest finals in Idol history.
Season 3: Jennifer Hudson vs. Fantasia. Another case of chaos gone awry as these
were two of the three favorites who were in the bottom three... together.
Fantasia recovered. Jennfer recovered... eventually. An Oscar tends to do that.
Season 4: Mario Vazquez vs. Carrie Underwood. This was just a case of the hero
shooting himself in the foot competition-wise.
Season 5: Chris Daughtry vs. Taylor Hicks. Larger and more active fanbase were
able to chip away at the champ's ability. But of course, we know how that turned
out in the long run. I haven't heard Taylor on the radio recently.
Season 6: Blake Lewis vs. Jordin Sparks. Blake never really broke out of his own
mold, while Jordin just kept getting better and better.
So strategy can be summed up (and expanded and enhanced) with these...
1) Whatever you do, don't read anything written about you. If you read it, all
of a sudden, you'll start to "believe your own press".
2) Evidenced by the sick pig-f'ers at VFTW, it's okay to be really bad, but it's
really bad to be okay. The good get attention from raising their game. The bad
get attention from just being pretty darn entertaining. The rest... are in
3) Remember your audience. If American Idol's audience is one thing, it's a
giant focus group. You have to establish yourself before you decide to impose
your own style on other people, especially if you're being put through the
rigors of the music industry in fast forward.
4) If you go in with everything, make sure you have enough in your reserve to go
in with everything plus ten again. At most, you'll have to do this for three
months running. You'll either go into a psychotic episode of end up as one of
the most legendary pop stars to come out of a game show since a young man named
Usher Raymond held a note for some 15 seconds.
What, it's true. Ask Ed McMahon.
Game Show Alphabet Redux...
"Stargate Atlantis" actress Jewel Staite writes on her blog that the "A" entry
is "kind of like that bar in your hometown. You shouldn’t go there, but if no
one you know’s around, it’s okay."
She's talking about the revival, but you can't find a child of the 80s (*raises
hand*) that hasn't heard of "American Gladiators" and hoped/feared for the
revival that NBC gave us this year. At least ESPN Classic is airing the original
shows so we can watch and remember how innocent our Saturday mornings were...
Smurfs, wrestling, and then AG at 5.
And if Jewel should happen upon this column... Thank you.
25 Days That Rocked the Game Show World: Day 14
This particular day would last half a year, but it would only be the beginning
of one of the biggest waves in the genre. You thought 2000 was pretty
interesting? Try going back to...
January 2, 1975 - Games, Games, and More Games...
The seeds were sown in 1965 with "The Hollywood Squares" on NBC.
Then came "The Price Is Right", "The Joker's Wild", and "Gambit" on CBS.
And before you know it, by New Year's Day of 1975, we had the biggest sweep of
game shows ever. Or at least, during the 1970s. Thanks to Curt Alliaume, we had
this list of game shows that aired at least one day during this pivotal year...
- Almost Anything Goes
- The Big Showdown
- Blank Check
- Blankety Blanks
- Celebrity Bowling
- Celebrity Sweepstakes
- The Cross-Wits
- Dealer's Choice
- The Diamond Head Game
- Don Adams' Screen Test
- High Rollers
- The Hollywood Squares
- The Joker's Wild
- Let's Make a Deal
- The Magnificent Marble Machine
- Masquerade Party
- Match Game
- The Money Maze
- Musical Chairs
- Name That Tune
- The Neighbors
- The New Treasure Hunt
- Now You See It
- Password All-Stars/Password
- The Price Is Right
- Rhyme and Reason
- Split Second
- Sports Challenge
- The $10,000/$25,000 Pyramid
- Three for the Money
- To Tell the Truth
- Truth or Consequences
- What’s My Line?
- Wheel of Fortune
- Winning Streak
- You Don’t Say!
Unless my math fails me, that's 24 games... in one year. A record that has yet
to be matched... at least to my knowledge.
You can read more about them here:
Chico Alexander was born five years too late. E-mail him at