Originally Posted by Pollyanna
I find the judges seem to be pretty knowledgeable - either industry people or performers themselves (in Oz Idol anyway). The issue is their focus and brief, which as you say is about populism. They're paid to be narrow-minded.
Do we appeal to the lowest common denominator, satisfied that we are catering for a presumed majority (of consumers at least) or do we challenge audiences' preconceptions, give them the chance to stretch a little?
Given the tightness of the scene today, uncompromisingly honest musical expression is a luxury very few can afford. The best most of us can manage is to find the most populist side of our musical tastes and focus on that side of it to get gigs ... the crazy, out there stuff we enjoy is relegated to side projects.
The judges could be better. - I mean would you think someone like Simon a great judge of drumming abilities?
Unfortunately today much of the live scene around me has gone the way of the DUI Law Bar scene (ie extremely diminished), or as cover groups playing at Yuppie birthday parties. There just isn't a strong market for music, sadly. But as far as American Idol is concerned, as I see it, they have basically two possible missions - to produce quality singers, or be the highest rated TV program each week. I think we all know which one they chose.