Simon says top 24 were selected for personality, not talent; columnist defends the Brittenum twins

Simon Cowell is not optimistic about the group of 24 singers that begin performing on Tuesday, at least in terms of their talent. “You’re not going to find 12 amazing singers this year. But you’re going to get 12 characters, I’m sure of that. It’s a real sort of chocolate box of talent — or lack thereof,” he told the New York Post.

He admits that the judges and producers selected people who will make good TV rather than make good records. “When we made the decisions about who was going through, we tried to mix it up as much as possible so that there would be people who the audience would genuinely be interested in,” he said.

Simon does not apologize for this focus, however. “It’s a drama. When we first pitched the show to [British TV], we said: ‘This is a soap opera with a music backdrop. It’s much more about that thumbs-up or thumbs-down than the music.’ I’ve said for years, if you rely on just the music, you’ve got a problem,” he told the paper.

Meanwhile, we finally sad goodbye to two of those personalities this week: the Brittenum twins were officiallon Wednesday’s episode; Ryan Seacrest narrated a segment that used footage from a FOX affiliate to let the audience know of their troubles. On phillyBurbs’ Idol blog, Dave McGurgan defends the twins, arguing that “many Idol contestants have had rap sheets, including last season’s runner-up, Bo Bice. Everyone makes mistakes and Terrell Brittenum is no exception.”

He adds that “producers made Terrell look like an ego-centric and pompous jerk bossing other contestants around” even though he “is highly motivated to win the competition. His only crime is frustration with his brother and fellow Idol contestants who don’t share his passion. … [H]is brother Derrell is right: America just isn’t ready for an outspoken black man to become their Idol. It’s as if the Brittenum boys’ larger-than-life personas are too ghetto for mainstream America. I say nonsense.”

‘I Can’t Decide’ [New York Post]
American Idol: In defense of Terrell Brittenum [phillyBurbs.com]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.