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Daughtry Never had a Chance:

There was lots of distress and amazement in the Idol-watching blogosphere after the audience voted Chris Daughtry off the show. Many folks, including Ann Althouse and some of the show's judges, thought Daughtry was the favorite to win it all. I will admit, that after watching some of his performances with Redheadlaw7, I was impressed; that performance of Fuel's Hemorrhage was hot.

Despite his stage presence and rock talent (and the fact that he's a nice guy), I never thought Chris would win. My assumption is that those who vote on American Idol roughly represent those who listen to Top 40 radio (and drive the weekly Billboard chart). And I never thought an authentic rocker, like Chris, could ever win a majority of that audience. While the occasional rock ballad or party song may climb the singles chart, this sort of music is inevitably swamped by catchy (if not also syrupy) pop tunes.

Chris did well so long as his performances were strong, and there were enough remaining contestants to divide up the audience vote. As those left standing dwindled, it was only a matter of time before he was voted off.

Despite his loss, Daughtry will land on his feet. Rumor has it he is going to be the next lead singer of Fuel, because they were so impressed with his performances on the show. Whether or not this pans out, he has a promising rock career ahead of him.

Jacob (mail):
I think every actual authentic rocker's head just exploded, sir. I don't think I'm launching myself into pretentious-land by pointing out how silly it may be to discuss the relative authenticity of American Idol contestants.

I wholly support guilty pleasure television, as well as rooting for a nice contestant over...say...a jerk. But you're aware enough to realize voters on a music show are a certain demographic (teenage lovers of bubblegum pop) without realizing who competes on these shows (attention-seeking opportunists)?
5.13.2006 8:46pm
Creed is the Greatest Band of All Time:
"Authentic" rockers don't sing Creed songs. Ever.
5.13.2006 9:12pm
TomHynes (mail):
If you never thought he had a chance, did you bet against him on Tradesports.com? Up until the end, the market said he had a 50% chance of winning outright. Are you claiming to be smarter than the market?
5.13.2006 9:52pm
Witness (mail):
"an authentic rocker"

LOL. That's a good one.
5.13.2006 11:05pm
Marcus1 (mail) (www):
Jacob,

I can't help but point out that you apparently watch the show. Does that, ipso facto, make you just another syrup-craving teenie-bopper?
5.13.2006 11:35pm
Redheadlaw7 (mail):
I must admit, I thought Chris would win. And as a 30-something who grew up listening to hair bands, ie. Cinderella, Bullet Boys, Winger, Bon Jovi, Slaughter, I thought Chris was dead on doing impersonations of what I like to refer to as the "angry boy bands of the 90's and 00's". It is uncanny how he can sound simultaneously like the lead singer of Fuel, Stain'd, Three Days Grace, Live, Creed, Disturbed, and Matchbox Twenty...all at the same time. I acknowledge that so many of the people that vote for American Idol contestants appreciate and enjoy the generic pop sound and probably swoon over the likes of the Back Street Boys...but for the first time on Idol (with the exception of Bo Bice)...the women of my generation were given something pallatable..although somewhat generic...in Chris Daughtry. He gave us all hope that the power ballad was not dead and that there would be something more than Scott Weiland's musical (albeit masterful) stylings to look forward to. Personally, I'm hoping he accepts Fuel's offer and tours with the band.
5.14.2006 12:25am
Lev:
So this is about a pimped up version of Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour?
5.14.2006 1:47am
John Tabin (mail) (www):
To call Chris an "authentic rocker" is just laughable. He is, at best, a vanilla adult contemporary frontman. There's a reason he didn't make it onto Rock Star.
5.14.2006 7:50am
Jonathan Adler (mail) (www):
John --
Are you suggesting Chris would have been more "authentic" had he been competing to be lead singer of INXS on Rock Star? Or that the current INXS is a more "authentic" rock band than Fuel? (I was a huge INXS fan, but I'd hardly call them an authrentic rock band in their 21st century incarnation.)
5.14.2006 9:56am
Brad (mail):
The discussion of whether Chris is/was an "authentic" alt-rocker becasue he appeared on American Idol strikes me as a bit silly. Yes, American Idol is a reality show which appeals to pop music fans. Yes, pop music fans aren't usually hard core alt-rock fans. Yes, many alt-rockers would cringe at the thought of being on American Idol. But none of these things has anything to do with whether someone on the show is an "authentic" rocker.

First, I'm sure there are many pop artists who would cringe at the thought of being on American Idol. Prince is a good case in point. People I know tell me that American Idol's producers thought about having a Prince-themed week, but couldn't do it because he refused to be on the show. Does the fact that a pop artist refuses to be on the show mean that the show's performer's aren't "authentic" pop performers.

Second, rockers don't go into rock because it's an "authentic" form of music. They go into it to get rich, get the girls, get famous, etc. They may even want to send a message. But the message is not the rock; it is through the rock. As Dennis Miller said in one of his pieces, the only "authentic" rock band ever was the Sex Pistols because they broke up as soon as they got any recognition. Anyone who revels in the trappings that come with rock fame can't really criticize someone who is trying to obtain those trappings through a TV show rather than playing at small clubs, hoping to receive their "big shot."

Chris Daughtry is as "authentic" as most other rock bands because none of them are truely "authentic" in any meaningful way.
5.14.2006 10:36am
Jacob (mail):
Marcus- I have seen the show enough times, though definitely not recently enough to know who this kid is. A quick perusal of my ipod is much more likely to betray any syrupy tendencies more than my viewing habits, anyway. My point wasn't so much that music genre X is bad and should be condemned (I wasn't the one calling the teenagers' music inauthentic, after all). I was pointing out the type of character traits it takes to want to compete on this show so badly and how they may conflict with some of Adler's descriptions of this particular contestant.

For the record, I can't imagine any music group that is formed by a television show (even the hardest, rockingest band by anyone's particular taste) gets to retain its authenticity. But so what? If this kid's able to go out and make music lots of people enjoy, who cares about street cred? It's overrated anyway. At least this way RedheadLaw7 and Professor Adler will be happy, and I don't know anyone who's actually worse off for it.
5.14.2006 10:37am
Orangutan (mail):
For the record, I can't imagine any music group that is formed by a television show...

Partridge Family
Monkees
Brady Bunch Band
David Hasselhoff


Hella authentic.
5.14.2006 11:56am
DK:
Is INXS even the authentic INXS any more?
5.14.2006 1:27pm
whatup:
To call Chris an "authentic rocker" is just laughable. He is, at best, a vanilla adult contemporary frontman.

"[V]anilla"? What does skin color have to do with esthetic judgments? Do racist comments that add virtually nothing to the conversation (except trivial responses as this one) pass muster with the VC editors? What are the other acceptable racist comments among educated Americans (and perhaps others such as Canadians): White-bread? Lily-white? Paleface?
5.14.2006 2:09pm
Witness (mail):
Being on the show is not what makes him inauthentic. I thought Bo Bice was great, and he made it even farther in the contest last year. Here are some reasons why the notion that Daughtry is authentic is laughable:

First, he doesn't have a passion for music. Before American Idol came along, he was just a regular guy, a working family man. That's fine, but a real rocker lives for the music. He plays gigs in grimey dive bars, coffee shop open mics, the street, whatever. He has a band that he jams with whenever he has time. Chris did none of this.

Second, he doesn't have a distinctive voice. He just sings in that generic alt-rock, fake-deep-voice style that you hear on so many mediocre rock records from the last 10-15 years. Instead of being "authentic," he comes off as a Scott Stapp impersonator.

Third, he has no creativity. His supposedly original rock-takes on non-rock songs were actually covers of covers (RHCP's version of Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground," Live's version of Johnny Cash's "Walk the Line"). Unfortunately, the judges were too clueless to realize this and praised him for "making the songs his own."

In sum, he's nothing more than a casual alt-rock impersonator, not an authentic rocker.
5.14.2006 2:36pm
Barbara Skolaut (mail):
Jacob: "voters on a music show are a certain demographic (teenage lovers of bubblegum pop)"

Don't watch American Idol, Jacob, and haven't seen any demographic data on the show and its voters, but....

Judging by the thousands of people who showed up last Friday at various venues around the city when Elliott Yamin made a trip home for a day in Richmond - interviews, appearances, etc., topped off by singing for a sold-out crowd at the Richmond Braves (baseball) game and throwing out the first pitch - at least some of those voters are of all ages, from very young to fairly elderly, and both sexes. There's a fair amount of Elliott-mania going on in Richmond right now.

How do I know this, since I've never seen the program? It's been on the news.

But maybe that's just Richmond. Other cities' mileage may vary.
5.14.2006 3:01pm
M E Hoffer:
I think the biggest reason that CD got "booted" was that he had the deal with Fuel lined up...and, at last known, he took it.
5.14.2006 7:21pm
Hattio (mail):
There may not have been any great bands formed by television shows (No, the Monkees don't count), but there have been some "pre-fab" bands that were awesome. Crosby Stills Nash and Young was a media formed band, and I've heard that the Animals were too.
5.14.2006 8:22pm
Tumbling Dice:
va·nil·la ( P ) Pronunciation Key (v-nl)
...

adj.
...
Lacking adornments or special features; basic or ordinary: “We went through a period of vanilla cars” (Charles Jordan).

Just sayin...
5.14.2006 9:43pm
Jacob (mail):
You're right, Barbara. I narrowed the demographic a bit from Prof. Adler's original "people who listen to Top 40," which is certainly larger than just teenagers. I still think that a much smaller number of them are the ones who actually take the time to vote, though, and that Prof. Adler's estimate of them was pretty accurate (which is why I was surprised by his estimate of the contestant in question).

I'm sure lots of towns will support their own in these shows (well, towns and small cities like Richmond), and why not? I have no idea who this Elliott Yamin dude is, but for all I know he's a fantastic guy who's really talented and saves kids from burning houses in his spare time. The only things I do know about him are that he was on American Idol and that he's from Richmond. The former tells me little other than he's willing to whore himself out on tv, and the latter only tells me stuff if I give in to my Virginia stereotypes.
5.14.2006 9:55pm
Roger Meiners (mail):
Jon,
Have you started smoking smoething again??
Roger
5.14.2006 10:46pm
cw (mail):
You can't be authentic when you look like and sound every wantabe in Seattle. The other three contestants seem to be unable or unwilling to adopt a pose, and I think that is why they are still in the contest. More than anything that show is about personalities and the more original personalities--that can sing--are the ones that do well. Think about Clay and Ruben and Fantasia. Think about how well that Pickler woman did. Chris was not a unique personality or singer. He was essentially a type, a type that's a dime a dozen. Good luck with Fuel. I've never heard them but I'd bet they're a dime a dozen too.

I mean really, isn't the whole rocker thing about played out by now?
5.15.2006 1:24am
cw (mail):
You can't be authentic when you look like and sound every wantabe in Seattle. The other three contestants seem to be unable or unwilling to adopt a pose, and I think that is why they are still in the contest. More than anything that show is about personalities and the more original personalities--that can sing--are the ones that do well. Think about Clay and Ruben and Fantasia. Think about how well that Pickler woman did. Chris was not a unique personality or singer. He was essentially a type, a type that's a dime a dozen. Good luck with Fuel. I've never heard them but I'd bet they're a dime a dozen too.

I mean really, isn't the whole rocker thing about played out by now?
5.15.2006 1:27am
cw (mail):
You can't be authentic when you look like and sound every wantabe in Seattle. The other three contestants seem to be unable or unwilling to adopt a pose, and I think that is why they are still in the contest. More than anything that show is about personalities and the more original personalities--that can sing--are the ones that do well. Think about Clay and Ruben and Fantasia. Think about how well that Pickler woman did. Chris was not a unique personality or singer. He was essentially a type, a type that's a dime a dozen. Good luck with Fuel. I've never heard them but I'd bet they're a dime a dozen too.

I mean really, isn't the whole rocker thing about played out by now?
5.15.2006 1:27am
cw (mail):
sorry about the double posts
5.15.2006 1:28am
cw (mail):
auugh.... triple posts! The stupid thing told me my password was bad then it must have posted these anyway.
5.15.2006 1:29am
S. Keith (mail):
I loved Simon's riposte when he sang a Creed song - something along the lines of, "Listen, Creed wouldn't be caught dead on this show."
5.15.2006 12:17pm
dweeb:
This is sad. I come to this blog looking for intellectual stimulation and discussion of truly important issues. Then, a post that attempts to elevates American Idol to this level, and worse yet, it comes from Jonathan Adler. I've never been more ashamed to be a Clevelander and CWRU alumnus.
5.15.2006 1:20pm
Deb (mail):
This is for Witness and for everyone else who read his comments and didn't realize.

"First, he doesn't have a passion for music. Before American Idol came along, he was just a regular guy, a working family man. That's fine, but a real rocker lives for the music. He plays gigs in grimey dive bars, coffee shop open mics, the street, whatever. He has a band that he jams with whenever he has time. Chris did none of this."

FYI Chris has been singing since he was 16 yrs old and up until AI, was in a band called Absent Element, singing in grimey dive bars and festivals for years. They also have an album out. Chris is the real deal. So according to your version of what makes a "real rocker", looks like Chris fits that mold now doesn't he?

"Second, he doesn't have a distinctive voice. He just sings in that generic alt-rock, fake-deep-voice style that you hear on so many mediocre rock records from the last 10-15 years. Instead of being "authentic," he comes off as a Scott Stapp impersonator."

If you actually followed the show and caught his performances, you might not be so dense with your comments about something you know nothing about. Did you happen to catch him singing "Walk the Line"? Yes........Live sang it first, but take a second to hear their version against Chris' and it's fairly obvious that Live's version is mediocre and Chris' version was hot because of his distinctive voice. Ever compare him singing "Hemmorage" to the original? It's no wonder Fuel is offering him a job.

"No Creativity" ???????? I'd like to see a "rocker" survive Stevie Wonder, Country and an Elvis competition and still manage to rock the house. Are you that critical that it never occured to you that it took creativity to scrounge up rock versions of those songs?? It's not like they handed him those versions as choices.

I find this forum a little too "let's pick on this guy" Easy on the criticism people. Do you really have all the facts??

I myself was a Chris fan, but I didn't want him to win because AI is (as one person put it), a bubble gum pop show and a talented artist deserves better than that. Why did he participate then? For exposure fools. Absent Element isn't the greatest, and you have never heard of them because they can't afford to tour as they are a struggling band just starting out.

For those who actually value character and integrity, here's some info about Chris that you might find interesting in response to incinuations that people become rockers for the fame and are not genuine people.

Interview with Chris:

Who is your hero? "My Wife"
What has been your biggest achievement so far? "Teaching my son to ride a bike."
Why did you choose to sing "I Walk the Line"? "The lyrics have special meaning to me and my family"

I think this guy desreves a little more credit.
5.15.2006 8:07pm
Redheadlaw7 (mail):
Nicely put Deb.
5.15.2006 8:47pm
cw (mail):
He's a hack. That's why he's out. If enough people liked him enough they would have voted for him, especially when it's down to the final four. And if you liked him, don't worry, because you can see 20 more of him this weekend in any fairly large-sized city in the united states.
5.15.2006 10:13pm
Witness (mail):
"looks like Chris fits that mold now doesn't he?"

Um, no. First of all, your portrayal of his involvement with "Absent Element" is overblown. Second, even assuming that he was actively involved in this band, it cuts against your point. If he were an authentic rocker with an eye toward forging his own, distinctive path in the industry, he would stick with "Absent Element" and use his newfound fame to make them a legitimate national act, driven by his own vision of what rock music should be. He would not abandon them the moment Fuel comes-a-calling. Do you see the difference?

"Chris' version was hot because of his distinctive voice."

Sorry, his voice is not distinctive. If *you* spent more time listening to real rock music than mainstream pop-rock and American Idol, you'd know the difference. Chris sounds like every other deep-voice alt-rocker that forgettably passed through the annals of music in the last decade. He's a Scott Stapp/Rob Thomas impersonator and nothing more.

"Are you that critical that it never occured to you that it took creativity to scrounge up rock versions of those songs??"

It takes creativity to "scroung up" well-known covers of Stevie Wonder and Johnny Cash and to "scrounge up" two of Elvis's more well-known songs? If so, I stand corrected. Unfortantely for you, that point is just beyond silly.
5.15.2006 11:48pm
Deb (mail):
As it has been pointed out already, the majority of AI voters want a pop star, not a rock star. For the most part, musicians outside of the pop culture are artists, not paid-for-hire morons who only know how to sing, not write music. (Yes, Chris can play the guitar as well as write music) Getting voted off is the best thing that could've happened to him. Otherwise, he'd be stuck in a contract with AI singing songs someone else wrote, not that he wouldn't bring home the bank if he did, it would just defeat the purpose of his intent.

Actually I'm looking forward to seeing Chris when he does tour. I don't spend my money on dime-a-dozen, but I would support an aspiring artist who strives to be a hero to his family. For a change, it'll be nice to know that my money is helping to realize the dream of a person who was willing to sacrifice all of it when he married at 20 and adopted 2 kids.

I was impressed to find such a contestant on that show (the reason I started watching this year) with virtue, humility and an unwillingness to compromise himself by fitting into the mold of AI. It's a shame cynical attitudes prevent you from admitting the possibility that maybe this guy isn't your typical dime-a-dozen. I disagree that a person like him is common amongst the other groups of that music genre.

Yeah, in general alt-rock bands all sound the same (including Absent Element), but throughout the show these contestants got to work with veterans in the industry and they acquired experience/training that will no doubt increase their chances for success. Chris has a killer voice and for those who enjoy his type of voice, compounded with sex appeal off the charts......I'll be in line buying tickets supporting an american family, not your average fame seeker.

For those out there who appreciate girly sentiment, his band mass produced t-shirt sales to raise funds so that his wife could see him sing in Hollywood. I don't know why people are in such a hurry to crap on others. Believe it or not, there is such a thing as a sweet american family.
5.16.2006 12:33am
Witness (mail):
Deb,

You're right. Chris seems like a hell of a nice guy. I'd buy him a beer anytime. I just don't consider him to be all that authentic or original. So I would never buy his record.

But that's not to say that I automatically discount "rockers" who appear on AI as inauthentic. Like I said, I thought Bo Bice was terrific last year. And I think there's a reason he got farther than Chris did this year - he was way better.
5.16.2006 12:46am
Deb (mail):
Fair enough
5.16.2006 2:26am