February 18, 2008

The 'American Idol' controversy

As the 24 final contestants of American Idol Season 7 was announced last week, a new controversy has come to light.

Irish singer Carly Smithson (the one with the tattooed hand) is basically a professional singer. She recorded an album called Ultimate High with MCA Records in 2001 under her maiden name Carly Hennessy. Apparently MCA spent millions to promote the album, which turned out to be a complete flop. The record only sold 300 copies!

The latest news is that Carly was signed to MCA Records during the same time period that Randy Jackson was the senior VP. Carly was at MCA in 1999. Randy started at MCA in 1998 and was there for 4 years. The question on everybody's lips is whether she has been 'planted' by the producers.

(Closer to home, even our own Malaysian Idol, Jaclyn Victor, mentioned during a press interview that she was 'asked' by 8TV CEO Ahmad Izham Omar to enter the competition.)

The sad part is that Carly is not an exception this year. There are other contestants who are have failed careers.

Aussie Michael Johns (the one who brilliantly sang Bohemian Rhapsody during Hollywood Week) was formerly the lead singer of a band called The Rising and a band called Film. He also changed his name from Michael Lee. Michael was signed to Maverick Records with Film, and they were supposed to release a debut album in 2003. But according to reports, Michael allegedly screwed the band by stealing their songs and passing them off as his own.

Kristy Lee Cook (the kick-boxing gal) was previously "discovered" by Britney Spears. In 2005, Kristy Lee Cook released her debut CD “Devoted” under Ren-Hen Records. In 2007, Kristy got out of her contract with her manager Marty Rendleman (who formerly managed LeAnn Rimes) so she could be eligible to join American Idol.

Was anyone bothered that she sang 'Amazing Grace' during both the audition and the 2nd round of Hollywood week, and during the time when she sang some other song, the judges were not impressed. So basically she can only sing one song, and yet the judges put her through. Is she also one of the 'planted' contestants?

(Notice how the producers always portray the contestants as innocent, unprofessional singers living in a farm, working two jobs to support a family etc, but nobody thought to emphasize that they have already cut record deals before.)

Robbie Carrico (the blonde haired rocker with the beanie cap) is one of the four singers from the pop group Boyz N Girlz United. The band opened for Britney Spears and LFO before disbanding, and he was even one of Britney's first boyfriends. Robbie now fronts the band Missing Picket.

David Archuleta and Alexandrea Lushington were contestants in Star Search. David won the Junior Singer category of Star Search in 2003 when he was 12 years old. During Idol's first season, David met all of the finalists and even sang for Kelly Clarkson and the gang. A few days later, David met with a host of record labels and producers with connections to the show.

David Archuleta's dad, Jeff Archuleta runs a company call Arch Music Group which has "spent the last 5 years working with American Idol and Star Search performers as well as young up and coming singers and songwriters who want to compete in the top 40 arena." As if David didn't already have the previous connection where he met with Idol producers during season one, now his dad has been working with show contestants.

The latest news is that Syesha Mercado has appeared in a recent Ford Sync commercial. And of course Ford is one of the sponsors of American idol! Is there a connection there?

By the way, did anybody notice that a handful of the contestants have practically no exposure in the previous episodes. The producers managed to get through four long weeks of auditions and three whole hours of Hollywood Week without showing a single minute of Jason (Dreadlocks) Castro, Luke Menard, Garrett Haley, and Jason Yeager. Are they just selected as 'fillers' for the other contestants?

Of course there are contestants who have recorded albums and performed professionally before. But the question is whether these singers have been courted by the producers to participate in the show and probably got a free ticket into the final 24. Is it fair to the other contestants who had to go through the grueling 2-3 days audition process?


sheryl0202 said...

I feel so cheated now! It is not only unfair to other contestant but also to us as audience of the show! ARGH..

anthonyvaticano said...

Anyone who ever thought American Idol was not rigged is just another example of the ignorance and gullability of the majority of our country. It's just like those people who are actually surprised that Bseball players juice up...WAKE UP people - you are being had at every turn when it comes to the media and TV...for this to be news is funny to me because I've been saying it for years to my wife. I refuse to watch "Reality" TV because there is nothing REAL about it.