By Hans Ebert

And so “American Idol” and “The Voice” had their finales a day apart from each other. Who won? Anyone care? Really?

Having watched each sporadically and appalled at the lack of talent on both shows, the programming/content/whatever proved just how much the world has changed and as Pete Towshend wrote, We Won’t Get Fooled Again.

In this numbers driven faked out world, the fakery has made a number of us more cynical, more on guard and able to read through the numbers and the games people and shows play. Reading the Twitter feeds for both “Idol” and “The Voice”, these gave it all away. They were fake. They were desperately trying to drum up interest. Through the celebrity judges, the hosts. But times have changed and people like Ryan Seacrest, Katy Perry, Adam Levine, have all lost their brands.

These people have become non brands- not even a Russell Brand- along with all the solo recording artists who were supposedly selling records. Were they? Really?

Nothing is selling anywhere today when it comes to entertainment though there is a caravan of charlatans with various “business models” looking for angel investors and thinking that Tencent is going to buy into anything to build up thin portfolios and that the sheikhs of Araby are an easy mark. Good luck. Bullshit loves company.

Having known Simon Fuller from his days when he managed the Spice Girls and SClub7 to creating Pop Idol in the UK with its then breakthrough SMS voting system which morphed into the elephantine sized “American Idol” juggernaut, the show was about carefully chosen fringe musicians and music executives to play scripted roles as judges. It was never ever about new talent. It was more about the novelty of having a rude Brit as a judge. The Americans lapped it up. It was a slick and very clever cash cow.

A vital part of creating the illusion was producer Nigel “Nasty Nigel” Lythgoe of “Popstars” fame Simon Cowell’s “Mr Nasty” image was based on “Nasty Nigel”, below. It was after all, showbiz. Cowell milked it dry, became bigger than the show where he was a hired hand and went on to own “X Factor”.

The “Idol” franchise skyrocketed, nosedived much sooner than many think, went through the usual big business politics before mercifully calling it a day. And then came its biggest mistake: trying to make a comeback without learning from its previous mistakes of banking everything on mega expensive judging panels with egos to match.

“American Idol” reboot never had a chance. Nor should it have. The entire cast was wrong starting with the gawdawful panel of judges- one for every music genre and age group. Katy Perry must have seen her already shaky career implode. She was a mess. Lionel Ritchie? Hello? The other bloke? Lost.

There were the usual pre-chosen contestants with all too familiar characters thrown into the mix for entertainment value. And though in more innocent times we might have accepted the plants, their failed recording deals and that they had been “discovered” and dropped by labels, and knew about the ball busting NDA contracts and the scripted circus of the audition rounds, we’ve now seen all this on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, even Twitter. Who watches a television singing competition comprising mediocre karaoke singers?

Same with “The Voice” and a format that hasn’t changed from when the show was first aired. It’s still about swivelling chairs and buzzers and very tired looking judges. This season in particular, Adam Levine looked bored with it all and was probably worrying about losing his hair and wondering if he might have a solo career. As an actor.

Kelly Clarkson bubbled, Alicia Keys just went with the flow as she’s stopped having hits and the Country judge who can’t sing nor write looked vacant without having Gwen Stefani around to be his love interest on the show. That sideshow of lovey doveyness had become icky. It was embarrassing. It had run its course a year earlier.

The contestants? More mediocrity. Despite cramming the show with musical guests needing some airtime and with zero relevance to to the next new Voice, it was a smorgasbord of clutter. It made the faked out version of “The Voice” in China look honest. And that’s saying something as nothing about that show is real.

The Voice China is just a scripted television show aimed at a gullible audience with zero knowledge about music but sold on old showbiz tricks of the trade and snippets of entertainment news which last a nanu second. It’s like Jessie J winning a singing competition in China. Dear gawd, stop this nonsense!

People today have no time for anything and why there’s so much of nothing for everyone. Those behind the “Idol” franchise, “The Voice” and every other television show with judges better get real to the fact that no one’s watching.

For contestants winning is losing because after the end of any of these shows season, they’re back being karaoke singers with very few gigs around even if once winners. Ask Taylor Hicks. Or Kris Allen who beat Adam Lambert in Season 8 of Idol. Or any winner from The Voice. And those recording contracts they won? These led to where?

#AmericanIdol #TheVoice #SimonFuller #SimonCowell #NigelLythgoe #AdamLevine #fakenews #TheVoiceChina #musicindustry #KatyPerry #JessieJ #China


  1. Kris Allen isn’t a karaoke singer with very few gigs, his last album debuted at #1 on itunes Indy chart, he tours literally all the time, has a lot of devoted fans, has had 5 albums and a couple of EPs. There are definitely quite a few obscure winner than him. Check out his website, twitter @KrisAllen or instagram or at least do a little research. If Idol can facilitate the career a working musician, they don’t have to be a superstar.

  2. Wow this is pretty brutal Idol wasn’t as interesting as the original which produced stars like Clarkson, Underwood, Hudson , Lambert who are doing just fine in their careers but I watched The ratings were certainly ok- not the 21 million like prime Idol days but respectable. And certainly a more interesting show than The Voice which really dragged along with mediocre talent this year. Your review is too black and white and you write like no one was watching. Just not true

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