By now, all or most of American Idol
junkies are familiar with Corey Clark’s reputed affair with pop music judge Paula Abdul. Excuse me, but why is this shocking? Perhaps, it is shocking in the context that we see TV reality shows as real life. But, of course, these “judges” are only human. And so are the “contestants.”
Is has been long known that power is a great aphrodisiac. Look at how many women flocked around Donald Rumsfeld after 911. He was a strong commanding figure. As time wore on, his faults became ever present. So just combine a powerful, available, attractive older woman with a young, strapping, good looking young man and, voila, you have your typical recipe for problems.
It is more surprising that we are actually astonished. If this were reversed and the male judge were the one being accused of such an indiscretion, less might be made of the fact. This does not, however, mean that Paula Abdul is not guilty of cavorting with contestants. In fact, I had noticed that she tended to be more flattering to male contestants than to the females except for the women that might not percieved as competition. When Constantine was voted off, we all saw a distraught Paula Abdul with tears streaming down her cheeks in a mutual consoling pose with his mother. Did I miss a week?
Paula is certainly the nicest of the three judges. Randy Jackson hails from where? ( I mean who heard of him prior to American Idol?) His critiques seem to be based on his “gut feeling” at the time. I have sat through and listened to a performance that was clearly off pitch in places only to hear Randy Jackson say that it was a performance of “perfect pitch.” And, I have some hearing loss in my left ear. So I hold my breath through Paula’s niceties and wait for Simon to give the real take. Okay, Simon can be a brute. In fact, when I first began to watch American Idol, I had a hard time sleeping remembering the cruelty with which Simon launched his attacks. I was convinced that Simon was the stuff that serial killers are made of, a bed wetter /animal torturer.So much for pop psychology.
As time and the season wore on, I began to cherish Simon’s opinions because they were quite simply the most fair and unbiased. And, remember those performances that Randy “I’m a music producer so I know” Jackson proclaimed as pitch perfect, Simon corrected to my satisfaction. Not that I haven’t felt sorry for the contestants. Let’s face it, Simon can be mean. Reality TV is often mean. Maybe that’s why we like it. It may the modern day “kick the dog rather than the boss” in us.
We sit back and watch these shows with these “judges” who are in positions of power and allow them to do their judging. We participate by virtue of the fact that we watch. We like to see people in power wielding decisions over other people’s lives. We feel powerful. Apprentice, Contender, Survival, Bachelor and so on and so forth all operate on the basis of “who’s the best” rather than on the uniqueness of individuals. In American Idol, WE are voting. We, too are in power.
Therefore, when someone like Paula Abdul does something stupid, we are taken aback. And, let’s face it, it was stupid to frolic with Corey Clark. She should have had better judgement than to extend herself to such a creep. Yet, she was fallible like the rest of us. Does that mean we should judge the judges? Or are they just human like the rest of us?
And what about Corey Clark himself? He has spent the past week or more clogging up the airwaves talking about his affair with Paula so that he can “get back at the big American Idol machine.” Yet when asked if Paula should lose her job, he looks askance. “Lose her job? No, why?” he asks with a surprised expression. Excuse me, but didn’t anyone give these contestants a basic IQ test. Did he think that by alerting Fox TV, telling his “story on ABC” and to anyone else who would listen that Paula’s violation of the rules wouldn’t get her into hot water? Or didn’t he care?
On one televised show this week, we at home were treated to two other contestants speaking via live feed to Corey in the studio. They asked him, “Corey, isn’t this about your book deal or your CD release?” No, he assured them. That had nothing to do with it. The timing is just coincedental. Give us a break, please.
So, Corey Clark probably is a scoundrel, an opportunist and, perhaps a bit of a con artist. Paula Abdul used poor judgement (pardon the pun) and probably should rethink her taste in “men.” However, it is us, the viewers who need to sit back and consider what human faults do we have that we like to watch this crap. But, who am I to talk. Tomorrow night’s show has only 4 more contestants and I have to hurry because another American Idol scandelee may be on Larry King.