The television show American Idol is making headlines in the mainstream media as well as celebrity gossip magazines such as Star Magazine and In Touch Weekly concerning a grassroots online campaign for viewers to tune in and vote for the worst candidate who happens to be contestant Sanjaya Malakar.
All over the media people are weighing in with their opinions. Internet message boards and forums have been abuzz with both outrage and support of the campaign started by website Vote for the Worst to vote only for the worst candidate in the karaoke like contest. According to the website owners they began the site to shed light on what they felt was hypocrisy in the amateur talent contest which seems to push those with less than stellar talent along while those with true singing talent get pushed to the wayside.
In defense of American Idol, it seems that the creators of Vote for the Worst seem to forget that the entertainment industry is after all a business. While viewers may become endeared to certain contestants there is a certain indescribable quality necessary in order to become a successful pop artist. While fans defied the practical Simon Cowell and voted for Taylor Hicks, even his fan base the Soul Patrol has not been able to boost his less than great record sales.
In truth the judges of American Idol along with the producers are looking to find someone who is more than a great singer. The person chosen has to have a specific kind of personality, has to be able to command attention to them and dare I say it should be easy on the eyes as well. The idea at the onset is to give a record contract to whoever might be the winner, and that person should be able to sell records.
The reality is that some of the biggest selling artists of today do not necessarily have the greatest singing voices. Yet, singers like Britney Spears, Janet Jackson, Madonna and Jennifer Lopez are able to fill stadiums for concerts and sell millions and millions of copies of their records. It is the responsibility of the judges and producers to find the total package, and angry fans like the creators of Vote for the Worst have an idealistic view of how the contest itself should work.
While most people love singers in this years contest like Melinda Doolittle and Lakisha Jones we all understand that contestants like Jordin Sparks and Blake Lewis would probably make a better idol in terms of sales. Requesting that the people behind American Idol choose people on talent alone would be demanding that the record company contractually bound to bank on a winner whose album would not necessarily result in any significant record sales.
In the likelihood that Sanjaya Malakar should win what happens to American Idol? Sites like Vote for the Worst have done their job; they can pack up and go home. Malakar, a national punch line has to be signed by J Records, the company started by former Arista head Clive Davis. Those that were quick to rush to the phones are unlikely to pay fifteen dollars to listen to an album the lackluster singer has recorded or pay ninety nine cents to download anything produced by him either. To add insult to injury a singer really deserving of the contract is out of luck, and everyone wins, right? Vote for the worst if you dare.