Television Without Pity Decade In Review: Idol #2 @clayaiken #1
Decade in Review: Favorite Reality TV
2. American Idol (debuted June 2002)
Sure, there had been televised talent shows before but never one on the level of American Idol. Putting Star Search to shame, the entertainment industry got a major platform for launching the careers of innumerable young wannabe singers (and even spawning a god-awful movie), all the while keeping viewers hooked with the promise that they were ones deciding who won and went home. And while we initially tuned in to see former pop star Paula Abdul (before we knew just how crazy she was), the real draw turned out to be Simon Cowell. Never had we seen such an abrasive judge laying out harsh criticism to the tuneless masses like this, which of course made his faint praise of actually worthy contestants much more believable. And if it wasn’t for Idol, Ryan Seacrest would be a local radio DJ instead of the multi-millionaire Dick Clark for the new millennium that he became. Oh, if only…
Best Contestant: Clay Aiken (Season 2). He may not have won (and we’d still like a recount on that Ruben Studdard victory), and he may not have been as flashy or flamboyant as Adam Lambert, but this nerdy, bespectacled redhead showed the world that talent comes in many unlikely packages long before Susan Boyle.
Television Without Pity
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