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Commentary: ‘American Idol’ nothing to praise

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As another season of “American Idol” winds down and the hopeful contestants are narrowed, I am once again reminded of the show’s redundancy and lack of results.

Each new season brings with it the hopes and dreams of thousands to become the next Kelly Clarkson or Adam Lambert, but what they fail to see is these dreams will be the cause of their demise.

The problem with “American Idol” and shows like it, is that they fail to produce originality. Contestants strive to be just like current stars and don’t deviate from the path previous competitors have laid for them. Judges reinforce this by comparing performances to those heard in previous seasons as a form of praise. And then comes the problem with judging and voting.

The judges are appointed because they’ve already achieved some form of success in the music industry. They tend to use personal experiences as benchmarks to compare the new talents. On the other side of this is American voting.

Viewers sit at home and watch performances to determine if they are worthy of a quick phone call or text. When they’re watching they are continually comparing the voices to things they’ve heard on the radio. They stick to what is traditional and known to be effective.

This method of judgment leaves no room for creativity and the artists who churn out each season serve as proof.

Clarkson found one sound that worked for her during her time on “Idol” and I’m pretty sure she used that to produce one song and give it an album’s worth of different names.

A few seasons later we got Chris Daughtry, and I’m not sure how he did it, but he recreated one song by Clarkson with a male’s voice, and we now have two albums worth of the unoriginal work.

While the show starts with people who possess raw talent, they go through such a tedious screening process that they end up sanded down and polished to become essentially the same monotonous voice.

As I scan the history of music, I fail to see any “greats” that resulted from a talent show. Typically they came from small-town or local stardom and caused a stir with their radical sound or lyrics (see the Beatles, Joan Jett, Elvis Presley, etc.) These artists’ signature quirks tend to gain a cult-like following that pens the band’s place in history.

With “Idol’s” strict monitoring of what becomes the new standard of “great,” music fans can have no hope of hearing anything new or seeing any outlandish traits from the show’s victors.

As the top five finalists perform this week and America casts their vote, it may be unclear who will finish on top, but there should be no question that unless they can recreate themselves after the show, their careers will certainly not be memorable ones.

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