And not just because it's a reality show. It disgusts me because I actually like music. I haven't watched enough of the show to see if it actually makes any claims outside of the singing abilities of its contestants, but quite clearly, American Idol thinks that singing ability is of utmost importance.
While it certainly doesn't hurt to have good range and precision, that's like saying whoever has the best paints is the best painter. Shouldn't things like creativity and originality have something to do with who Americans should idolize? Shouldn't having something to say matter?
I think the person that writes the song brings significantly more to the table than the person who sings it. Just looking pretty and having a good set of pipes doesn't make a person a musician.
I have a friend who likes the opera. I didn't understand the attraction. One day he and I were at an opera singer's concert (it wasn't an opera, just a few songs with accompaniment), and so I ask him, what it is that sets this opera singer apart from other opera singers, and why he enjoys listening to it. He explains it to me by looking for the degree of skill of the singer: the range and power and accuracy. Of course, the kind of music you like is just about as subjective as you can get, but is it really that important that you have the best possible instrument to play someone else's music?
I guess it's somewhat strange, the juxtaposition of classically trained musicians with American Idol contestants. The thing is, I've always found the person who plays the instrument to be interchangeable. Yoyo Ma may be the best cellist in the world, but if he didn't play the song, someone else would. But if Mozart wasn't around, there wouldn't've been someone else to write his symphonies.
And so we're left with American Idol, a show so popular that Fox has deemed it worthy of inclusion in the evening news. A show that gets more voters than the president of the USA. A show that has nothing but people I would consider otherwise talentless.