Friday, May 16, 2008

Reality TV bites

It's been an unusually busy couple of weeks - I'm preoccupied enough to not blog. I have a long book review swirling in my head (Samit Basu's Gameworld trilogy, if you must know) but that will have to wait as work on the world's biggest software project and CRY's biggest fundraiser this side of the Atlantic takes its toll.

However, the interest I've developed in a reality TV series cannot go without comment. A disinterested TV-watcher at best, my live TV watching mostly consists of infinite re-runs of Seinfeld with a dose of The Simpsons, South Park and King of the Hill thrown in for good measure. I started watching American Idol (the tuesday one, when they actually sing) because being the music junkie I am, some of the singing on display makes the series for decent viewing, especially towards the end of the season.

However, probably the very first or second episode I actually saw, I was hooked. The reason? I saw David Cook perform Michael Jackson's Billie Jean. He sang a cover version made by Chris Cornell that's on his new album. David Cook's version completely blew my mind. His version can be seen on YouTube here.

After dismissing most of American Idol winners as good singers of the mostly harmless pop type (Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Carrie Underwood), here was someone who had balls. He was singing alternative, edgy songs, ripping the playbook apart, and doing it well. I've watched with more than passing interest as he's made his way through the rounds and reached the final two. His song choices and arrangements are out there - a rock version of the Beatles' Day Tripper and Eleanor Rigby, Switchfoot's I Dare You to Move, and a rock version of Lionel Richie's Hello. What is this guy smoking?

It's slightly freaky, but I'm actually rooting for him to win against the more clean-cut and predictable David Archuleta. Let's see what happens, but when American Idol gets record viewership for its season finale, I guess I may be one of the guilty parties involved.

And I wondered how that completely pointless talent hunt ran for 7 seasons.

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