Looking for ‘idol,’ finding good laugh

By on February 1, 2006

It’s like a train wreck you can’t stop watching. The people that audition for Fox’s “American Idol” all believe that their singing talent has what it takes to be sent to Hollywood. There are some that do have that ability. Unfortunately for our ears and (sometimes eyes), many of them do not.

These people, while sometimes painful to watch and listen to provide endless amusement for the audience. However, they leave the television viewers wondering: Do the performers truly believe that their voice can hold up to the likes of Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood? Or do they do it simply as a joke to get face time on TV?

“I would like to think that people aren’t doing it for a total joke, because they just make fools out of themselves. But it does provide for some good entertainment,” Jessica Rodrick, a junior physical therapy major, said.

While many viewers probably thought William Hung’s rendition of Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs,” during season three wasn’t anything except a good laugh, it landed him a record deal and a music video.

According to Jennifer McDermott, a junior physician’s assistant major, “There are some people who are just so bad that they can’t possibly think they’re good. They try out just to get attention and maybe become the next [William] Hung.”

This certainly seems true, especially in the case of Leroy Wells, from season four. “[Leroy] Wells, who made his best attempt to get Simon [Cowell] ‘crunked,’ knew perfectly well he wasn’t the next American Idol. In fact, I don’t remember him even singing a song on his audition. Instead, he intended to act like the most ridiculous contestant ever to land himself on Fox during primetime,” sophomore physical therapy major, Joseph Russolello, said.

Then there are those who try out because there are people in their lives who encouraged them to do so.

Last season, after her version of Carole King’s “I Feel the Earth Move,” Mary Roach was asked by Simon Cowell what made her audition for the competition. Her response? “All my friends told me I’m an awesome singer.”

Liam O’Brien, associate professor of media productions at Quinnipiac, said that “American Idol much like its predecessor, The Gong Show (1976 – 1980) works on the ‘give ’em the hook’ level because many of the contestants chosen for air are recruited believing that they have talent. The payoff then and now is their reaction to the realization that they do not.”

There are some people, however, who use their 15 minutes of fame as an attempt to further their careers.

Ben Hausbach, a season five hopeful, brought his creation, “Cosmic Coasters” to his audition and introduced it to the judges.

Regardless of whether or not the contenders are trying out for attention, to sell a product, or because they truly believe in their talent, it all provides for entertainment television.


About Kaitlin Greene