Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Songs of the Doomed

xfactor_023 Just when you thought I couldn't find a more surreal landscape to explore than the John Edwards trial, something called 'The X-Factor' rolled into town. It's no surprise, really. Back in 2006, that prickly Brit known as Simon Cowell brought American Idol to Greensboro and in doing do helped launch the career of Kellie Pickler, Bucky Covington and other artists whose music you don't buy. Now the man with a gazillion bucks but no properly fitting shirts is back! Sort of. Actually, Simon was nowhere to be seen today as no less than eight thousand delusional hopeful vocalists invaded the coliseum grounds and took Whitney Houston's musical legacy hostage. They also stabbed Etta James' memory square in the throat, but hey, what's a dead legend worth when you covered head to toe in body glitter? Don't answer that - just know that your not so humble lenslinger thought he'd seen it all. Remember, I've covered more Idol auditions than Paula Abdul even remembers attending and while we both may need therapy as a result, I've chosen to just bury the pain. Which is why I scoffed at the idea of an X-Factor audition in my fair city. What could possibly compare to the scads of nut-bags that turned out to shout in Ryan Seacrest's highly man-scaped ears? Isn't X-Factor just a retread of the same old song and dance academy that is American Idol?

Yes and no.

Looking out over the crowd today, I only had one question: "Who pulled the fire alarm at Wal-Mart?" It's the kind of thing I asked myself at every single American Idol stop, but as my eyes adjusted to all that blind ambition, I noticed a distinct difference... Over there, that guy working on his moonwalk - is that my mailman? And the lady spitting out Kesha lyrics - didn't I see her on a retirement village billboard? That's when it hit me: there's no age limit! It seems like a small thing, but it's huge. Whereas Idol kept laser-focused on crushing twenty somethings' dreams, The X Factor is out to humiliate Americans from every age group. Plus, every single crew member seemed to have a thick British accent! Why it's enough to make the likes of Toby Keith write another song about boots up asses. Nobody wants that! Nor does anyone really wanna witness what I did today. I mean, it's one thing to watch a pack of thirteen year old girls ape Lady Ga-Ga. It's quite another to see a man who looks as if he might have been an investment banker before retirement shake his pudgy butt through a gravely rendition of 'Poker Face'. Some things can't be unseen. Which is why I'll be taking a toothbrush to my eyelids for the better part of the evening, in hopes that I'll be ready next week when Rielle Hunter pops out of her limo in a sequined t-shirt and begins singing the chorus to 'Fame".

It could happen...


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