Suddenly, it dawned on me. I'm a little slow, so you'll have to bear with me.
Television has turned music into competition. No kidding. It started with the nonsense known as American Idol, transformed into such other nonsense as Dancing With the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance and the grammatically incorrect America's Got Talent.
I was innocently watching Sunday night's football game when I saw NBC promoting a program called The Sing Off (no jokes please) where I assume singers face-off in a competitive talent competition that is probably to be decided by viewer votes (via telephone for money) with a two-hour premiere next week.
It is hosted by Nick Lachey (we're supposed to know who he is) and judged by Ben Folds, Shawn Stockman and Nicole Schwerzinger. Go ahead and Google them, because I'm pretty sure you only know Ben Folds because his name is on a group that he fronts.
The web site asks us who do you think will win (also grammatically incorrect) and we are left with 8 choices, eight of whom we have never heard of - presumably until we see the show in 8 days. I'd be curious as to whom is leading the vote totals with a week left to view the program? Hmm ... can anybody say pre-determined?
I voted for Beelezbubs (because it sounds like the producer) and when I clicked SUBMIT, I found that 34% had voted for Maxx Factor, 22% for Face and 32% for Voices of Lee. But how can that be, when the program has not aired? I wondered quietly to myself.
Beelzebubs got a scant 4% of the vote, which came (one figures) from his family and friends.
If you can read this and know who any of these people are, you're either lying or directly involved with the show, and have probably voted a few hundred times.
My problem comes in having television as a competition in so-called artistic endeavors. What happened to The Sculpt Off or The Paint Off? Why is it confined to singing? I'd guess it's because the rabble (i.e. TV viewers) are not sophisticated enough to carry off a program devoted to sculpting or painting. That's why we are given shows about baking cakes, home redecorating and singing. We all have an opinion on that.
Meanwhile, television has become a competitive field for music and other arts that would be best left to public opinion outside of TV. We did quite well when musicians were popularized by things like record sales and public appearances. We don't need TV shows to foist music on us. I guess I'm old fashioned. Or maybe I'd prefer to wait until I've actually heard someone sing, dance or bake a cake to determine whether or not I think they've got talent.
Whom do I think will win? NBC, that's whom.