Ad for Idol 8 admits looks matter, not singing

Fox has begun airing promos for American Idol 8, and they take rather different approaches, and even admit the show isn’t really a pure singing contest (duh). While the show has tame clips of auditions up on its web site, the good stuff is airing on TV.

One of the ads is clearly designed to play to the show’s dream mythology, while the other is designed to play to people who like conflict between the judges and/or heterosexual men’s penises. The first one features David Cook with lots of eye makeup and a sort of fantasy about his experience on the show, while the other features a bikini-wearing woman with “a ridiculous voice,” as the announcer says, who makes it through to Hollywood.

The second seems to illustrate Simon Cowell’s tie-breaking ability; if the four judges split, he makes the final call. More fascinating is the argument it makes, because it essentially confesses that singing ability doesn’t matter on the show; looks and personality do. That’s not any kind of surprise to anyone who’s actually watched the show, but that Fox’s commercials admit it is quite surprising. Here’s David Cook fantasizing:

And bikini girl, via MJ’s Big Blog:

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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.