QUIBBLES & BITS

Deni Dietz

"Hi, I’m Deni and I’m addicted to American Idol."

"Hi, Deni."

"I think Randy Jackson needs a dictionary, Paula Abdul needs an intervention, and I love to hate Simon Cowell. In fact, as we speak, I’m creating a story character with Simon in mind."

What? You authors who read Murderati don’t have a famous [or infamous] person in mind when you write your books? My bulletin board is filled with magazine cut-outs of Famous/Infamous People, whom I use as book characters.

Anyway, Beatrice — who, as we speak. is attaching garters to her stockings a’la Betty Boop and begging me to remind you that her paranormal erotica JAMES DEAN AND THE MOONLIGHT MADNESS SALE is at Loose Id — thinks there should be a reality show called AUTHOR IDOL. Authors would stand in the spotlight, flames flickering on a screen behind them, and read an excerpt from one of their books. They’d be judged on stage presence, what they are wearing, how they styled their hair. . .and maybe even a wee bit on what they read. The numbers to call — to vote — would be superimposed underneath. After the reading judges would comment. . .

To those of you who don’t watch American Idol, I’ll bring you up to date. We’re down to what is known as the 3F (three finalists). The Chosen One (TCO) — the chrome-domed singer whom the judges have been "pimping" since the first week — was voted off by the viewers last week in what was referred to as a "shocker!" [Note the exclamation point; it’s been used in everything I’ve read about last week’s show.]

It wasn’t a shocker! to me. Maybe that’s because, as an author, I deal with something called motivation.

So, why did TCO get the boot? [you ask]. What was the shocking! motivation? Well, he gave a mediocre, also known as "meh" performance, but so did the gray-haired finalist who looks like a drunken lounge singer and/or constipated ballad singer. The "nice guy" finalist, who is 90% deaf in one ear, sounded a little bit like a goat, and the "pretty girl" singer forgot 4 seconds worth of lyrics in her first rendition of an Elvis song. [Whereupon, she was accused of "shaking her ass" to get votes because during the FOUR SECONDS of forgetfulness she turned around toward the band while she regained her composure].

When TCO "rocker" Chris was voted off, the judges were shocked!, I tell you, shocked!, but only a little less shocked! than Chris himself. Could his votes have mistakenly gone to another contestant? he wondered.

Immediately after the Wednesday night results show, women on the Internet Forums began to vilify the pretty girl, as if the Supreme Court had chosen her to advance to the next round, despite votes to the contrary.

[Yes, okay, I’m addicted to "American Idol forums" too, especially the forums on a site called televisionwithoutpity.com. I like to read the comments. It’s research. I have two teens in my mysteries and I need to know the latest slang – heh!]

Since the pretty girl, Katharine-with-an-a, is obviously not TCO [rumor has it the producers want a guy to win], the Idol judges have enjoyed a sadistic, almost orgasmic gratification in trashing her performances. They especially like to embarrass her. Paraphrasing the judges: Randy: "That just didn’t work for me, dawg. It was kinda pitchy." Paula: "Mumble, mumble. . .the moth finds the melon finds the corn flake. . .mumble." Simon:"With that performance, you’ll be going home."

As soon as Simon said Katharine would be going home, I knew she was safe. As soon as Paula stared lovingly at Chris and said, "See you in the finals," I knew he was toast.

Which brings us once again to motivation. What the Idol judges, especially Simon, don’t seem to understand is that Americans like to root for the underdog — on TV, in movies and in books. Millions of people dialed in for the pretty girl, not just because she’s pretty, but because they felt she was too harshly judged. Millions more voted for the nice guy, who has been the acknowledged underdog from the very beginning. I don’t know why millions of viewers voted for the lounge lizard — I’m still trying to figure that one out — but the fact that he’s the recent pick of a website called votefortheworst.com might have something to do with it. Or maybe it’s because viewers confuse frenetic giberish [he forgot the words in his first Elvis song, too] and spastic dancing with enthusiasm/exuberance.

I was going to talk about gender — do girls vote for the boy singers and vice versa? — and tie it into the age-old debate: Do men buy books written by woman and, for that matter, do women buy books written by women? Or can men really write from a woman’s POV [and vice versa]. But I’ll save that for next week’s Quibble.

Over and Out,
Deni

5 thoughts on “QUIBBLES & BITS

  1. Elaine

    Since I don’t watch ‘Idol’, I can’t comment on how or why some entertainers make it and some don’t-(forget talent or not) other than maybe the ‘messages’ by the judges are reverse-psychology to get the audience going?

    The famous visual images for characters? I kinda sorta fashioned Molly Doyle after Dana Delaney for appearance and my daughters & daughter-in-law for characteristics. And Randall? Ha! He’s Brian Dennehy to the core. In fact, I’ve had tons of emails from readers who picked that up right away. Bitsy Morgan in the series is that great departed actress Sylvia Sydney and Daria DeMarco is Angelica Houston. Dan Lucero, the D.A. is a curly haired verstion of Hugh Jackman. So now my secret is out. I’m not a great character developer. I am a fraud.

    As for men writing women, and women writing men? I haven’t noticed any glaring goofs except for one writer (who shall remain nameless) who’s main series character is a woman. I picked up his first book and froze in my tracks when he had her ‘squat down’ to check something out. That stopped me right there. Women don’t ‘squat’. It’s a crude description. That immediately left me with the feeling that he either knows little about women, or has little regard for them. Call me crazy, or too picky – but I didn’t finish the book and haven’t read any more of his.

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  2. Carstairs38

    I have a feeling that the underdog rooting was the only reason P stuck around as long as he did in the last round of Dancing with the Stars. Trust me, that guy couldn’t dance his way out of a wet paper bag to save his life.

    MarkWho doesn’t watch American Idol but does watch Dancing with the Stars

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  3. Pari

    I never can watch American Idol at the beginning of the season because it’s too mean and too uncomfortable.

    Then, later in the season, I can’t because of the time of day it’s on — and, no, I don’t know how to use our recorder right.

    But, at the very end of the season, when it’s down to just a few, I try to catch a few minutes of the shows to see the real talent. Boy, some of the singers have been astounding — for all the right reasons.

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  4. Deb P

    “…do women buy books written by women?”

    ABSOLUTELY!! 98% of my favorite authors are women and when I’m debating buying an unknown mystery author, I’ll buy a woman author over a man every time. I don’t mind death since obviously most mysteries include one or more murders, but I don’t like dead bodies falling right and left, nor gratuitous sex. There are exceptions, of course, but generally, women mystery authors don’t include those things. And I’m not alone – my women friends also read AND buy women mystery authors. My men friends generally read AND buy men mystery authors. Thank goodness there are plenty of both to go around.

    Deb

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