15-Minutes of Fame

In Entertainment News from Reality TV World:

Paula Goodspeed, a 30-year-old former American Idol auditioneer and Paula Abdul fan, was found dead in her car nearby the Entertainer's house on Tuesday evening. According to the LAPD, the death was an apparent suicide caused by a drug overdose.

Forget, for a moment, of how producers of the show went about exploiting this poor, obviously mentally ill (or, at the very least, unstable) young lady and thousands of other individuals, and tell me how, even if they are somewhat deranged or delusional, these kids with absolutely no vocal talent, either believe that they will not humiliate themselves or realize it and allow it to happen for a few moments in the national spotlight?

There are three types of people that try out for a show like this. Some have real talent and they usually know it. If they are lucky enough and things go their way, these are the ones featured, prominantly, in the final 20 or so. For every one of those 20, however, I bet there are 20 more with just as much talent that didn't audition or did and didn't make it that far for one reason or another.

The next group of makes up probably 90% of the individuals that audition. They are people like me 20-years ago. Some have training or experience singing in a band or in the choir at church. Others have fantastic voices but are lacking the training or experience. Generally, though, they all have some talent, can find a key and have enough balls to get out there and try. 

Although, I'm sure, this is the biggest group, I'm sure you see less of these people on TV than any of the others because they are, frankly, the least interesting to watch. You may see a few of them if they happen to have a gimmick, a personality or the right look and some will even get a ticket to Hollywood but, for the most part, the kids you're going to see on TV are the ones from the first group and the last one.

The auditioneers in the last group may have a gimmick or an interesting personality or look, in fact, many of them excel in these areas but they are missing a valuable trait that would prevent them from becoming your next American Idol... talent. I still think a few of them realize that they have no reason being there and just hope to be eccentric enough to have their 15-minutes of fame but so many of them seem so sincere that they would have to be the best actors in the world to play the part of a pathetic loony through the entire show.

There is no doubt that the producers of the show have some part in making the viewer see (and therefore believe) whatever they want them to just by, simply, editing out whatever they want but, like everything else in today's society, we want the drama and the tragedy. Similarly to the way we all slow down and try to get a glimpse of the automobile accident on the other side of the highway, the average American would rather watch the freaks trying to sing in the auditions the first few weeks of the series than see the final seven contestants' interpretations of Barry Manilow tunes from the decade that they were born.

I guess the formula works, though, because so many people are glued to the tube for all of the Reality Shows that fill up the prime time airwaves. The viewers get what they want, the makers of the shows are making money and the contestants... well what about the contestants? The winners have to appreciate all the hard work they put in as championship money on these shows start in the six-digit range and most are paying seven-digits to, at least, the champions of a season-long contest.

I don't here many complaints about the way losers were treated, either because, most of the time, they get what they are looking for too-- their 15-minutes. Some, like William Hung, in exchange for a little national humiliation get a bit more time and some can drag enough out of it to make a few bucks. There are some members of the early Real World episodes that have been cashing in on Reunion Shows and Follow-up Challenges for more than 15-years.

Maybe we can blame the whole politically-correct, everybody-gets-a-trophy, sense-of-entitlement, society that Paula Goodspeed was never told that she didn't have what it takes to be the next American Idol-- or maybe she knew and that really wasn't her goal. A posting on her MySpace page yesterday stated, "Rest in peace, the world knows your name."

That's a pretty big price to pay for your 15-minutes of fame...

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