Sunday, April 21, 2024

“American Idol” Serves Up Another Night of Semi-Pro’s Who Need an Agent, Not the Show


Monday night– for the second night in a row “American Idol” served up a group of semi-pro’s who don’t need the show as much as they need a manager or an agent.

Top of the list was Brandon Elder of Arab, Alabama. (Yes, you could call him an Arab. Turns out the history of the town is that was supposed to be called Arad, but whoever filed the paperwork in 1892 goofed and now we have Arabs in Alabama. Ironic.)

Anyway, Elder is younger– 23, to be exact. He’s got a full website, a publicist, tours locally, is all over You Tube. He sang one of his own songs, called “Gone,” about his late mother. It’s a hit right out of the box. Sign him up, Capitol Nashville. He’s a star. (Plus he has this great story we’re going to hear all season about how his biological mom traded him to someone for a car. Then he was adopted by a saint who died from cancer. He’s like a Robert Altman character come alive.)

There was a whole show like this– they’ve all got social media already, tons of PR, and so on. In one instance, two sisters came on– one was the accompanist on guitar, the other was supposed to be the contestant. But– what a shock– the 20 year old sister who didn’t come to play got the spot. Katy Perry whispered to Lionel Richie, “She looks like a rock star.” Well, this Payton Taylor was coincidentally all set to go with a whole mini machine in place. I felt bad for the younger sister, who’s 17 and was clearly sandbagged.

Is the show being cynical or is it me? “Idol” obviously is upping its game– as I told you after Sunday’s show. The contestants are all far more accomplished than in the past. There is no William Hung, the 2004 player who was beyond awful. They kept him on as a kind of “Gong Show” hook. No, these people are like Grab n Go pop stars.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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