06 March 2008

Google Trend 06 mar 08: American Idol 12

HOLLYWOOD -- It's no surprise that this is a town that thrives on idle gossip. But nothing quite compares to Idol gossip. We're of course referring to American Idol, which every year delivers its share of backstage scandal, but this season the "Have you heard...?" element seems to be getting off to a particularly frenzied start. The Top 12 hadn't even warmed up their seats when the rumour-mongering began in earnest. Irish belter Carly Smithson, Aussie charmer Michael Johns and country crooner Kristy Lee Cook had prior recording contracts? So it isn't so! Soulful David Hernandez used to strip for his supper? Horrors! Filipina dynamo Ramiele Malubay was photographed cavorting naughtily on a Facebook page? Tsk-tsk. Puppy dog teen idol David Archuleta was actually a junior Star Search winner all the way back in 2003? The deception! Rocker chick Amanda Overmeyer has a drunk driving record? Whoa, couldn't have seen that one coming. In this day and age of YouTube/MySpace/TMZ-style instant gratification, a secret past doesn't stay secret for very long, a fact to which fallen Idols from Frenchie Davis to Antonella Barba can easily attest. Whether or not you chose to view recently ousted Danny Noriega as a courageous (Ryan Seacrest's word) individual who remained true to himself or a petulant little brat (we were sorta leaning toward the latter), an old YouTube clip in which a teenaged Noriega delivered a profane Christmas message probably didn't help his cause. But when it comes to making it as an Idol finalist, a past in and of itself can be a valuable thing. Let's face it, if it wasn't for an inherent exhibitionist streak, few would have the gumption to perform in front of 30 million people every week while barely breaking a sweat. And that sort of comfort level could only come with a considerable amount of stage time, no matter how young and sheltered that contestant may appear. Current Idol fave Archuleta may be all "Aw shucks" modesty whenever the audiences and the judges show their appreciation, but it takes no small degree of chutzpah to plant yourself in front of the Season 1 Idols and belt out And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going from Dreamgirls, earning props from Kelly Clarkson in the process. The producers of American Idol are intent on selling a Great Dream Factory vision of Hollywood along the overnight success storylines of a Lana Turner and her fabled discovery as a teenager sipping a soda at Schwab's Drugstore. But the reality is, if Turner was starting out today, she would have her own Facebook page with pictures of her doing suggestive things with a drinking straw and a couple of DUI's under her belt. Of course, there's still hope, like finalist Brooke White, whose demeanour is as pure and virtuous as her name. The former nanny, whose favourite quote is James Taylor's "Shower the people you love, with love," has thus far resisted Simon Cowell's threats to bring her over to the dark side. You go ahead and remain in that beatific light as long as you can, Brooke. Somewhere in the shadows lurks a spurned boyfriend with a few snapshots he's willing to share.

The London Free Press

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