With the FOX (s nws) juggernaut American Idol once again rearing its culture-saturating head, it can feel downright impossible for a non-watcher to remain a functional member of society. In today’s Station Conversation, Liz Shannon Miller and Jill Weinberger discuss what happens when the lazy blogger’s last refuge — catching clips online, after the fact — is no longer an option.[show=americanidol]
Liz: So, Jill, I’ve decided that I want to be cool, like the kids today. Is there any way for me to do that that doesn’t involve watching American Idol?
Jill: Dude…you gotta watch AI. Otherwise, you’ll never know what people mean when they say Bikini Girl. And they’ll point at you and laugh.
Liz: I actually don’t know what you mean by that, because I’ve been playing a game today called “Try and watch the buzzworthy bits of American Idol on the Internet.” And that game is FAIL.
Jill: For realz. You know what happens when someone puts an AI clip on YouTube? YouTube MUTES THE SOUND! Admittedly, for some singers this is an improvement.
Liz: And it’s a smart move on YouTube’s part to quickly avoid copyright infringement, and surely not a coincidence that they implemented this latest technology feat the day American Idol returned to Fox.
Jill: I just don’t get why Fox is so squinchy about this. I mean, yes, they’ve paid out for the song rights. But people sing on YouTube all the time, and the artists don’t lose their minds over it.
Liz: It’s not the artist who cares — it’s Fox. They want to redirect traffic to americanidol.com. Which is mean of them, because americanidol.com sucks; it’s little more than poorly hosted dull video with no embedding available. And the ONLY videos currently on the site, after a week of auditions, are pre-packaged interviews and recaps from each city. Because the casual Internet viewer is like, yeah, I totally want to know what people waiting in line to audition in Phoenix have to say!
Jill: Exactly. A day after audition episodes air, there’s all this media coverage and Internet response, and Fox’s response to something hitting big is to shoot down independent posting of clips after air. And yet they won’t distribute or monetize the content themselves! Why don’t they have a poll after each episode to ask what people most want to see again? They could have a new viewer favorite clip show to purchase on iTunes every weekend.
Liz: But they don’t. And thus the Idol online experience is about on par with… Hmmm. Help me come up with something mean.
Jill: Idol is like if you had this great cake at a bakery, and the next day you wanted another slice, so you went to the diner who carries cake from that bakery, and the bakery said “OH NO YOU DON’T! If you want more cake, you can just come to the back door of the bakery and have a day-old slice while sitting on the curb.” The bakery could make more money if they would just sell you a slice of fresh cake, but they prefer to force you to eat a day-old slice for free.
Liz: Yeah. It may be unfair of us to expect completely customized online product, but we can at least hope for a less half-baked solution to the problem. No pun intended.
Jill: On the other hand, after the audition circuit, it’s mostly just Simon being mean and Randy being critical and then the contestant saying something about how neither Simon nor Randy could do better. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Oh, and Paula telling every female contestant who sucks, “First of all, you look beautiful.”
Liz: Hmmm. Now that I think about it, I think I’m OK with limited viewing possibilities.