Much has been made of the Sexy Dork phenomenon. Last year really drove home the point, with superlative nerds like Neil Patrick Harris, Michael Cera and a certain big-eared, comic book-collecting president-elect getting lauded left and right and achieving sex symbol status. But no single show on TV has single-handedly championed the dweeb contingent with quite the single-minded and (unintentionally) avant-garde dedication that American Idol has.
So there this photo of Clay Aiken in the TWoP bullpen (...I'm just going to let you all marinate in that one for a moment and start again with a new paragraph).
It's a printout of Clay's face, up close, from a very recent photo and while it vexes me for many, many reasons, it mostly vexes me because in this photo he looks exactly like Martina Navratilova. And I like Martina Navratilova, so the connection is doubly troubling. But it did remind me that, with the new season of American Idol right around the corner, waiting to devour us all whole for the forseeable future, I should probably lay down some Idol primer here on the Telefile. So while I was researching for the Ten Most Insane Performances In Idol History (coming Monday, and thus concludes this segment of the TWoP True Hollywood Story: Joe Writes A Damn Blog Entry), I came to one conclusion that I felt needed to be addressed all by itself. It's a truth I now feel more strongly than anything I've ever felt about Idol. And that truth, quite simply, is this:
OH MY GOD, WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T SING "TURN THE BEAT AROUND"!
Never before has one song done so much damage to the fragile ears of America. For one thing, it's not even that good a song -- not in its original Vickie Sue Robinson incarnation, not in its Gloria Estefan incarnation, and not in any of its FAR too many Idol variations.
Or have you forgotten Carmen Rasmusen's version? I didn't watch much of Season 2, and since there seems to be one contestant each season who gets the "Goat Girl/Boy" designation for their vibrato, most of them not being that bad, I fell into a "How bad could she really be?" place. After some YouTube-ing, I got my answer, and that answer was "Feta" because never before has the combination of goat and cheese been more profound.
Or how about Diana DeGarmo's rendition, with its almost otherworldly flatness, not to mention the Fringe Skirt That Ate Up With People? There's no reason for you to remember Season 4's Amanda Avila, but she bombed with it too and was off the show within two weeks. And of course, last season, poor Haley Scarnato not only added the disco non-anthem to her long list of "Songs That Have Kicked My Ass" but also had to sing it twice because it's the song she got voted out on.
Seriously, Season 7-ers, don't do it. I don't care if it's Disco Night, Gloria Estefan Night, Songs That Are Also Imperatives Night or what: there's a better option out there. And stay away from "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," too, damn.