“American Idol” reveals “a veritable hunger for realistic evaluation,” writes Christopher Ames on Chronicle of Higher Education.
Time and time again, contestants in the early episodes of this year’s season whine obviously off key and then insist they are highly talented â€” in spite of the judges’ protestations. Most of those kids have not learned how to sing, but they have mastered the self-esteem and “attitude” so valued in our culture. The persistent dynamic of these episodes is expertise putting down untalented braggadocio.
In a world full of people rating themselves highly, audiences seem to long for the enforcement of standards of taste and judgment.
“Idol” reflects a shared belief in genuine standards, writes Ames, a college provost and dean. There is such a thine as “in tune.” Expertise is respected. In addition, “the auditions reveal that individuals are often not good judges of their own ability.”