Remember MySpace? Well Fox sure does. They even entrusted the dinosaur of a social networking site with an online contest for their ratings darling and pop culture sensation, Glee, earlier this year. Participants uploaded videos of themselves belting (and sometimes screeching) out a cappella tunes from a carefully-selected list of songs in hopes of becoming the next Glee star. Apparently, Fox is a fan of recycling, because they just launched an almost identical contest for American Idol.
Idol is losing ground fast; three judges quit after last season and the show is plagued with pitiful ratings. They’ve tried a few new strategies to keep the show relevant, including dropping the age limit to 15 years old. After 10 years on air, Idol producers are scrambling for a way to freshen up the old singing contest and what better way than to go back in time with an increasingly irrelevant social site?
Contestants no longer have to schlep to one of the select locations and camp out in terrifyingly long lines to audition for Idol; they can do it from the comfort of their own homes. Add to that a required song list that includes some ridiculous tunes to choose from including “Achy Breaky Heart,” “Dream Weaver,” “Copacabana” and my personal favorite: “Freebird.”
It’s painstakingly obvious that some of these songs are included as little landmines for Idol hopefuls, sure to expose the hopeful singers to that special brand of Idol embarrassment. (Come on, can anyone really show off a serious set of pipes with “Ballroom Blitz?”) This is going to get ugly. I’d almost rather let the new judges run a Tosh.0-style commentary on the worst-of-the-worst video auditions than wait to see who gets through to face the judges.