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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Lazaro Haters Are Missing the Point

With the elimination of Devin Velez on March 28's American Idol, the blogosphere has lit up with "why hasn't Lazaro been eliminated yet?" mantra.  People opine that Lazaro Arbos is not a top-notch vocalist (in fact, many say he's horrible), there are better singers than him who have been eliminated, and that American Idol is a singing competition whereby only the best singer should win the title or at least advance to the finals. 

They also argue that Lazaro's success so far in avoiding eleimination is attributable to "the cute factor" and "the pity vote" ostensibly because of his severe speech impediment and his penchant to shed a tear or two when things don't go right for him.

These folks are completely missing the point.

American Idol does bill itself as a singing competition.  However, the real purpose of the show is to find a new artist who is popular and potentially successful commercially.  That's what it is all about: to discover someone who can sell records and make record producers, songwriters and studios even richer than they are.

The idea that Elvis Presley was technically the very best singer in America for three decades is laughable.  That The Beatles were the best vocalists technically in the world is also comical.  They weren't, and they even knew that.  The true great singers in this world are not being discovered and hence, do not have huge careers in commercial music.

What these superstars had was a unique ability to record a song with sufficient studio assistance to amplify their vocals and cover up any weaknesses and perform in such a way that girls from all over--the ones who drive the record industry--would go nuts over them. 

In essence, that is what American Idol is seeking: "the wow factor. " The winners of this so-called singing competition with a few exceptions had lesser careers so far than those who failed to make it to the top.  Clay Aiken, David Archuleta, Jennifer Hudson, Chris Daughtry, Adam Lambert and others did not win the competition outright and were better vocalists than the ones who had won.   Yet they have launched successful recording careers.  But David Cook, Lee DeWyze, Kris Allen and Taylor Hicks did win.  Where are they today?

So how valid is the voting that allows up to 50 votes per person?  If this is, in fact, a pure singing competition that ignores the popular appeal of the contestant no matter the reason, then only qualified judges should decide the outcome and leave the viewers out of the selection process.  Of course, that would negatively impact ratings and advertising dollars.

To suggest that Lazaro Arbos has survived the Top 7 because of sympathy or his appeal to young tweens is not incorrect.  But it is exactly what the producers are looking for--a popular artist who can sell records.  With coaching and professional handling, Lazaro could be successful in the industry given that he already is popular in key demographic blocs.   See: Justin Bieber. 

These fans have been completely loyal to Lazaro.  How long that loyalty will hold out is speculative.  But  denouncing him because he is not a great singer completely misses the point of the show. hocoblogs@@@

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