I’ll Tell You Why
For those not watching, Norman Gentle is the Liberace-without-a-piano alter-ego of one of the season eight contestants on American Idol. His real name is Nick something or other. Nick never stood a chance on American Idol; Norman deserves to advance.
Because Idol has never been about real depth of talent. It’s been about who’s marketable, sure. It’s been about who can sing insipid cover songs well, I’ll give you that. It’s also apparently about who can sell enough records to keep Simon Cowell in overpriced t-shirts and Paula Abdul on quality pain killers. But depth of talent? Uh, not so much.
With the huge number of truly talented singers and bands busting their asses to make really good music (off the top of my head: John Vanderslice, Pete Yorn, The Wrens – all hugely excellent), the fact that the majority of successful Idol contestants are dial tones irritates me enormously (you probably already know this if you read my piece on the disgusting David Archuletta last year). In fact, achieving huge success through mediocrity pisses me off in general.
Tonight Gentle sang "And I’m Telling You". Which he murdered. And which doesn’t bother me at all, since I think that song should be taken ’round back, gut-shot and left for dead anyway. But there this dude was in his stupid shirt and Olivia Newton John headband, flinging himself around the stage like Tammy-Sue Baker and giving a shout-out to Doogie Howser MD. Bitchin’.
Don’t get me wrong: in the real world, in a real music contest, this guy’s a douche. He’d be sent packing minute one with directions to a venue that suits him better, like the piano bar at an off-strip Las Vegas Holiday Inn. But on American Idol, he deserves to stick around. Because if we can’t have a truly original singer win this thing, I’ll settle for an entertaining one.