A Monkey? Oh, No He Didn’t!

I admit, I’ve been watching American Idol. I don’t tend to watch the whole series – but I particularly enjoy the first few episodes when they showcase the less talented in our country…and then again the final episodes when the tensions builds.

However, I think they set a new low this evening (focusing on Seattle). In particular, there were three contestants I felt were manipulated because of their mental capacity. The first one was a software company guy from the Salt Lake City area who seemed very shy/socially awkward (something I’ve always been able to relate to). Anyway, he said his co-workers coaxed him into trying out. This late 20’s fellow was obviously not celebrity calibre and for his co-workers to encourage him to participate makes me think that his co-workers were out there simply to make an ass out of him. I cringed watching his audition. His co-workers knew what they were doing and should rot in hell for encouraging somebody to go through with that.

Then there were these two guys who met while waiting in line and befriended each other. The first one’s audition wasn’t all that bad (compared to many others). I mean, he wasn’t bound to be in the top-two, but his audition wasn’t horrible. But as Paula dismissed him politely, Simon said he looked like a monkey! Like a wide-eyed monkey! Didn’t that former senator from Virginia refer to somebody as a monkey a few months back and then lose the election? How offensive!

Don’t get me wrong – I love when Simon critiques contestants based on their actual talents. In fact, in some ways he’s the most honest of the judges (and doesn’t sugar coat). But that comment went over the line.

The third contestant I felt sorry for was a large 20-something fellow in a tucked-in Hawaiian shirt. Now, I could be 100% wrong on this but based on his appearance and speech patterns, I think he had fairly obvious mental health issues and/or mild retardation. He went up there, nervous as all hell (as I would be) and sang the national anthem. Fortunately, the gang was polite in telling him that he wasn’t “going to Hollywood,” but he was still visibily distraught afterwards. I want to know what guardian thought it was a good idea to have him audition. Maybe it was a dream of his to audition. But although Simon, Paula, and Randy were polite in his rejection, the build-up was designed to mock the contestant….and that’s just wrong.

I don’t know. I’ve always been sensitive to mocking people for things they can’t control (physical or mental disabilities, etc…). I was even like that as a kid (hell, I’d hate when friends jokingly called each other “retarded.”)  And now that I have a nephew with Asperger’s (a form of autism) and a severely disabled sister-in-law, I think I may have become overly sensitive to these things. I hope the remaining audition cities won’t follow this pattern.

Ugh, when did I become so damn politically correct? Somebody kill me.



  1. Comment by karyn on January 18, 2007 11:25 am

    You’re not PC. You’re sensitive and it’s sweet to see that side of you. I agree; those three contestants in particular should not have been on-air material. They could have found three sucktacular contestants who were worthy of being mocked with their half shirts and Michael Jackson imitations and bad attitudes. But these three were just tragic and sad. You do not rag on someone for having “massive eyes”. Particularly with Randy Jackson sitting a few seats down, I should think. Poor form indeed.

  2. Comment by Chris on January 18, 2007 11:10 pm

    Oh please.

    You’re compassionate. That doesn’t mean you’re politically correct. I mean, you’re a moderately conservative, intelligent, artsy fag guy who globe trots and, you know, enjoys the culture of others. These days that makes you… well, not.

  3. Comment by Chris on January 18, 2007 11:11 pm

    Also, Steve and I are both still proud of the fact that neither of us has ever watched any American Idol.

  4. Comment by Will on January 19, 2007 7:50 am

    Like Steve and Chris, I’m an American Idol virgin. But from what I’ve been able to gather from excerpts shown on news shows, etc. I’ve gotten the impression that Simon is probably less the ogre and more the voice of reason than he’s made out to be.

    Those Montreal photo strips are just adorable. You two look so great together.

  5. Comment by Kevin on January 19, 2007 2:28 pm

    I haven’t watched this season. Usually Simon is actually right on the money, but there are times when he’s just vicious. It seems though that now the judges are TRYING to be meaner because they think that’s what the audiences want to see.

    But I’ve been hearing a lot of talk of them ragging on people with obvious mental issues, and that’s not funny. Ever.

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