Last September I wrote this rant against Canadian Idol and Newfoundland. It was a fairly well received rant with comments approving of it and several blogs linking to it. However, I thought then that it was a bit too late. I was complaining about how stupid my fellow Newfoundlanders were being a reality TV show contest after it was over and done with.
But somewhere in the back of my brain I tucked away a little idea I had and kept it nurtured with hate and contempt to use at the appropriate moment.
Now is the appropriate moment.
My friends, in one month Canadian Idol is coming back to Newfoundland for tryouts. This normally leads to a couple of days of craziness in the capitol city followed by a whole summer of the province collectively losing their shit trying to rally around whatever Newfoundlander has made it to the final 10 or so. Because only by winning Canadian Idol can this province earn the respectability of the rest of Canada.
When you read that last sentence your reaction should be "well, that's a batshit crazy notion." If it isn't, then go away and bash your head off something solid until come to your senses.
I want Newfoundland to be respected more by the rest of Canada. We all do. However, Canadian Idol isn't the way to do it. I would argue that the more stories that get out about people lining up at pay phones to vote, telecommunication systems being snarled by the volume of voters and people bitching and whining on the websites and Open Line shows about conspiracies to deny Newfoundland it's God given right to have a Canadian Idol winner, the more fucking ridiculous we sound.
So this is one small way to gain back some respect – ignore Canadian Idol. Completely.
When they arrive in St. John's for auditions, very few people should show up. Ideally, no one should show up, but let's not dream in technicolour here. I am saying a record low number would be a good start. When the shows start to air, don't watch them. When the inevitable one or two Newfoundlanders make it through to the rounds where you can vote for them... don't do it.
I know that last part is hard. It feels like you're screwing over some poor kid and crushing his or her dreams of fame and success. You really aren't. If the person is talented, truly gifted, and has the drive, then they will make it anyway. I really believe that. Just as I really believe that Canadian Idol taints new singers as much as it helps them. Very few have any kind of marginal success, let alone long-term success.
Furthermore, there were certainly signs last summer that the popularity of the show is at an ebb anyway. A quarter of a million fewer people watched the finale in September 2006 than in 2005.
I'm not saying don't support local singers and musicians. Far, far from it. I love the Newfoundland music scene. When I was home at Christmas I dropped easily $100 trying to catch up with some of the music I had missed since I moved up north. I am very much pro supporting of Newfoundland musicians.
But here's what you do instead of watching Canadian Idol...you go out and see a musician play somewhere that night. Here's what you do instead of plunking money in pay phones or texting in a vote...you spend the money and buy a CD from a local artist.
That way local musicians profit and not phone companies and telecommunication businesses. And, just as importantly as far as I'm concerned, we don't look like idiots on the national stage. Win win all the way around.
Now, if this seems reasonable and sane, then here's what I want you to do. Link to me. Yes, it's terrible pandering for traffic, but here's the thing. On a good day I get 150 unique visitors. That is not nearly to actually get the ball rolling. I need my fellow Newfoundland bloggers to spread the word. Link to this article or express your own opinion on this.
Spread the word, my blogger brethren. And with luck we will end Canadian Idol and bring some degree of sanity back to our province.