Tuesday, March 28, 2006

American Idol vs. Nashville Star

"(speaking of the Dixie Chicks and their comment about being ashamed the President was from Texas to a Country Music fan base) you have to recognize your audience is Patriotic. Saying something like that to Country Music fans is like grabbing a bull horn, going to a trailer park and saying 'Wal-mart Sucks!'" - Larry the Cable Guy

And it's almost in really understanding those comments (not about the President, that's proving out to be pretty true, you just shouldn't be stupid enough to say it when you're out of the country) that you really understand the difference in the two competitions.

American Idol (which was pretty bad tonight - with the exception of Mandisa and Katharine McPhee, even Chris and Elliot didn't have great nights and while Paris displayed her great voice, her song choice and gyrations were better left for a more mature audience - not my 10 and 8 year old!) is a singing competition that requires performance and loves folks that connect. It brings in a more diverse crowd and tonight Simon actually ripped Chris and Mandisa for being self-indulgent in their song choices by going to their music choices (Creed-heavy rock? and Mary Mary-CCM/Gospel). There's a lot more sparkle and a lot more broad fan appeal required. You need to be able to reach across a wider spectrum, a diverse audience (possibly more cosmopolitan) and make the connection.

Nashville Star (which was pretty good tonight both vocally and performance wise) is more of a performance (to me) competition that requires vocals (and a few folks have great voices) by someone who can really resonate with a Country crowd.

It's the difference between the crowds that consider a quality day out shopping being Wal-Mart and Home Depot vs Target and Ikea. Anything wrong with either? I hope not, I've spent days doing both (though I prefer the latter). But, it's just different crowds. At Idol shows half the crowd doesn't know the songs (my wife and I certainly don't know the large majority of them), at Nashville Star the whole place is singing every word. It's the masses voting for someone that is going to pass from their memory within 12-18 months probably vs a community voting for someone that holds their sacred traditions and whom they're going to welcome into their homes and lives for the next 30 years or so.

They are both great competitions and I like watching them for different reasons. I think it's easier for me to pick the Nashville Star final three than the AI final three this year (though the final five will be: Mandisa, Chris, Katharine, Paris and Elliot), and I've probably got a better guess at the NS winner too. But boy are they different shows.

Of course, NS might be pulling at my heart strings because I used to live in the South and I miss a lot of the southern culture (trust me, if you haven't lived there you just don't get it. Boston might as well be a different planet.) and I REALLY miss the (a) warmth, and (b) barbecue! (that is PORK for all you damn Texans!) Still, they're different for sure. Why don't you check them both out and let me know what you think?

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