Middle America Sends a Message to the Coasts: 'Idol' Finale Country v. Country

If you scroll down just a few short inches, you’ll see a thoughtful review of Lady Gaga’s recently released album by Ezra Dulis. We’re sincerely grateful Mr. Dulis not only endured multiple-listens to the latest queen of pop’s faux-edgy anti-religious lyrics and canned Madonna-esque electronica, but he assessed it in a far more sophisticated way than either of the editors of this site could.

In the midst of a Lady Gaga media barrage that includes a piece in Forbes naming her the most powerful celebrity, it’s only fitting that the two finalists for “American Idol” season 10 have practically nothing in common with her. I have only watched “American Idol” sporadically since the first season, but I have long defended it as a very special show. It’s competition in as pure a form imaginable and the American people democratically choose who they want to win. That’s a thing of beauty.

At this point we don’t know who will be tops this season, Lauren Alaina or Scotty McCreery, but one thing we know for sure is that the winner will be a country artist.

'Idol' finalists Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery“Idol” finalists Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery

So while Lady Gaga continues to grab headlines with her cheap-trick glam-bisexual-protest-blasphemy pop, America is choosing between two aspiring country artists to be their “Idol” for this year.

I guess this is Middle America’s not-so-subtle way of reminding the coasts it might be a good idea to keep “flyover country” in mind when they’re producing entertainment for mass consumption.

From the New York Post:

Just a few months ago, the producers of “American Idol” declared that this would be the season they dragged the aging goliath into the future.

With ratings sagging over the past few years and its winners finding it increasingly difficult to sell records, “Idol” was in need of a dramatic reboot.

“Maybe it’s like a diva, maybe it’s more like Lady Gaga,” Randy Jackson mused about the type of star he hoped would emerge. “Maybe it’s Muse, Bono or Brandon Flowers of the Killers.”

Now, at the season’s end, with “Idol’s” first all-country finale on tap, the “c” word — for contemporary — is not much heard.



On the ratings front, “Idol” defied entertainment gravity by actually gaining viewers in its 10th year — after the departure of its iconic star, Simon Cowell, no less.

However, while dodging the bullet, concerns about its long-term health remain, especially as the show all but took a dive on the challenge to update itself for a very different public than greeted “Idol” on its 2002 launch.

During the pre-season, “Idol’s” producers seemed desperate for a winner who spoke to today’s music buyers.

It’s been five years since the show produced a genuine mega-selling superstar like Chris Daughtry.

In the previous three years, the winners’ trophies have gone to a Cute White Boy Dynasty whose low-key rock styles have been far removed from the techno-fueled sounds which dominate today’s pop charts and radio airplay.

As we reach the finish line, the rockers’ reign will indeed end this year, but, as it turns out, it will be broken by the only style more old-fashioned than mainstream rock — country music — which gave “Idol” both of its finalists in Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina.

It’s not just the finalists, however.

Read the rest here.

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