For the third year in a row, a relatively good-looking white guy who plays the guitar won American Idol. Lee Dewyze followed in the footsteps of Kris Allen and David Cook, and as my colleague Abbey Simmons pointed out, the generic guitarist dude has beaten tween stars, glam rockers and folksy musicians.
Read Abbey’s Full Recap of the Season Finale>>
But before this trend of guitarists, the Idol winners were a diverse collection of genres, from pop to R&B to country. So what happened to change the face of American Idol and turn it into The Search for the Next John Mayer?
In season 7, American Idol introduced a new rule allowing contestants to perform with musical instruments on stage, and while it seemed like a great idea at the time, three seasons have proven that it’s not. Instead of opening the field to a wide variety of genuine musicians, allowing instruments on Idol has paved the way for dudes with guitars to steamroll the competition.
The dude part is important. Sure, Crystal Bowersox also had a guitar, but that doesn’t have the same broad appeal as a guy showing off his sensitive side by strumming his guitar.
It’s not that surprising, since it mimics a truth we all learned in college. Abbey referred to Lee Dewyze as the guy in your dorm who played his guitar to serenade the ladies, and that’s exactly what happened. Guys with guitars get all the chicks, and now that they’re given a national stage, they also get all the votes.
Unfortunately, the only way to stop the cycle is to stop letting contestants use instruments. American Idol needs to go back to being a singing competition, because right now the best singers don’t stand a chance against cute guys with guitars. For this season, it was obvious to anyone with two ears that Crystal Bowersox was an infinitely better singer than Lee in the final performance show, yet when it came to results, it was the dude who plays a guitar that won.
Guitars need to be banned from American Idol. They possess a strange, magical energy that confuses young girls and tricks them into doing something against their better judgment. As long as musical instruments are allowed on the Idol stage, dudes with guitars will always win and the diversity of talent we saw when the past winners returned to honor Simon Cowell will all blend together into an army of John Mayers. And nobody wants that.
(Image courtesy of FOX)
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