For many of us David Archuleta fans, Season 7 of A.I. was an eye-opener to both the beauty of David’s performances and the ugliness of some of the media slams against him.
In fact, I cancelled a long-held subscription to Entertainment Weekly back then because they lost all credibility for me. Not only did they fail to appreciate how uniquely talented and original David is, but I was shocked at how mean-spirited and downright nasty they were toward him.
I thought I’d moved past my anger and disappointment, then I read this:
David doesn’t need autotune, so he’s “robotic”???? For me, that sentiment alone captures so much of what’s wrong with the music industry today. A place where real singing and musicianship have less value than repetitive hooks and shooting foam from your D-cups.
And I fear that the proliferation of shows like Idol, The Voice, X-Factor etc. will only make things worse. They take an art form that should be about bringing people together, connecting heart to heart, soul to soul, and make it a cut-throat competition — both between the contestants themselves and their fans.
Yes, these shows are there to make a profit, and the more fierce the “fight,” the higher each show’s ratings, the more readers for entertainment/gossip rags and more hits on websites that fuel fan wars.
Guess I’m a hater too, ’cause I hate all this.
I also hate how magazines, websites and radio stations manipulate and exploit the devotion we have for David, and other artists, and twist it for their own purposes. Hits down on your radio station or magazine’s website? No problem, run an Idol poll and you can show your advertisers a massive traffic bump.
Idol and its offshoots twist music fandom into something more like sports fandom, where your team must crush all others.
I love Mumford and Sons, but if they’d been contestants on Idol in Season 7 — or included on a Q102 poll — I’d have had to make a choice on who to support — that feels wrong to me. It seems David fans are torn between wanting to support our guy –and each other– and not getting sucked into the ugliness and fake rivalries perpetuated by these soulless sites.
Of course, for David and the other contestants, the real battle is fought when they leave the show and enter the snake-pit that is today’s music industry — a place where real talents like Jordin Sparks end up wobbling on platforms to Glee-ish songs to please their label.
But just when I start to get discouraged by the dark side of the entertainment industry, along comes David … no kidding … right after I’d scribbled out these ramblings, I saw this interview. He’s such a breath of fresh air I felt as though I’d been holding mine. I replayed a second time only to watch the interviewer’s expression as David talks about the power of music to heal and inspire. I’m pretty sure it mirrors all of ours.
The best antidote to hate? Love, baby, love.
P.S. So what do you guys think?