The season six premiere featured a girl who was born a crack baby, an Army Reservist whose husband was fighting in Iraq and 6-foot-4 woman who was forced to leave the Air Force because of her weak heart.
These are the people who are supposed to make us feel good about the show. They are the underdogs looking for their big break. Remember Fantasia? She couldn't read when she auditioned for the show during season three. She won. How much better is her life now?
But for the most part, the odds that that will happen are meager. Of the 10,000 people who auditioned in Minneapolis, Minn., only 17 moved on to the "Hollywood" round. The show is set up to make it appear that each of those 10,000 contestants sang for judges Paula Abdul, Simon Cowel, Randy Jackson and guest judge Jewel.
But a little research proves that most contestants don't ever see the sacred three. Rather, as an MSNBC reporter who wrote an essay about her audition reported, contestants are broken into 12 groups. Each contestant sings about 15 seconds of a song for two judges. They are given a ticket that allows them to move on to sing for "So You Think You Can Dance" and "American Idol" producer Nigel Lythgoe. He then picks who sings for Paula, Randy and Simon. This means that every odd-ball on the show had to go through three other people who each made him think he was good enough.
Meanwhile, Simon and Company pretend to be astounded that these people actually think they can sing. Paula continually sips (17 times that were caught on camera on the first night) from her red Coca-Cola cup and occasionally throws up her arms in total disgust. Other times, when she is feeling charitable, she will punch Simon in the shoulder for being "rude." Randy says something like, "No dog, no," and Simon put the nail in the coffin with a comment like: "That. Was. Horrendous."
Most of the time, we laugh because we assume the people are simply being funny — or so we hope.
Photos: "American Idol"
The highlight of the two-day premiere was 27-year-old Darwin "Misha" Reedy of Seattle. The buxom platinum blonde who sported a Dutchboy style hairdo and bright red lipstick told Ryan Seacrest that her look (she wore a gold blouse, a knee-length black skirt and sneakers) could be summed up in one word: "Sexy."
She then told the judges she wrote a novella about a talent competition featuring a character inspired by Simon. She was joined by her nearly identical mother who beamed with pride when her daughter swayed back and forth as she sang a monotone version of the Pussy Cat Doll's "Don't Cha." Darwin didn't make it through and she seemed OK with that.