Now that the top 12 American Idol finalists have been whittled down and the competition is heating up (more mentors, less back story), the television ratings juggernaut is once again dominating conversations by office water-coolers, on Facebook and via Twitter. Even my pals who freak over anything Fox manage to sneak a peek at Idol. So pervasive is its influence.
When Idol first aired it was more or less considered a music industry joke because of its mass appeal to the lowest common denominator. It was once believed only tween girls and grandmas voted and nobody took any part of it very seriously. But when Kelly Clarkson’s career took off, Idol was instantly legitimized. Nobody seemed to notice the format is as hokey and old-fashioned as a high school talent show. Glee and the High School Musical films have changed that perception as well.