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Friday, February 24, 2006

American Idol Fans Take Note: Vote for the Worst.Com is Back!


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If you were following the controversies surrounding American Idol last May you had the joint pleasures of speculation about how the British Press had published Carrie Underwood as the Winner prior to the final vote being taken on American Television and speculation, caused by a former idol contestant, that Idol Judge Paula Abdul had had an off-camera naughty relationship with one of the youthful idol contestants.

To add fuel to the fire, while attempting to defend Paula's honor (rather sucessfully and humorously in the bargain) Fox producers were faced with the spectre of dealing with a counter-force to their call-in contest in the form of Votefortheworst.com which tried to convince Idol watchers, fans and haters to take matters into their own hands and throw the results of the competition by deliberately voting for the worst performers, just to cause the producers great pain and suffering.

Why would they want to do this?

Possible motives:

1) Because they can.

2) Given enough computers and enough monkees, sooner or later someone will try just about everything to get attention, even writing a post like this one.

3) Simon Cowell, judge and co-producer just might be annoying enough each week for some show watchers to want to make him squirm by facing the possibility of forcing him to give a record contract and promote someone who has little chance of making back his investment.

4) Because as gags go it beats the heck out of running someones shorts up a flag pole, even Randy Jackson's.

5) With a little luck and promotion they might be able to draw hundreds of thousands of viewers to their site and make a few bucks off of the ads they run. Really? Could filthy lucre really be the real motivation? Say it isn't so, Joe. Sorry, they've had over a million hits so far, could be a factor, nay even a smoking gun, but who could blame them?

One thing is certain. The 2006 version of Vote for the worst.com is a much slicker, hipper website than 2005's production. There is a lot more content, much less graphic content from the show, and enough satire and ridicule to make them a legitimate form of parody in most people's eyes.

Will they have an impact this year? That depends on the viewers. They claim to have been the force that put Carrie Underwood over the top.

Maybe. For all the Vote for the Worst.com ranting about Carrie "Farmbot" Underwood's lack of talent, the fact is that in her final showdown with Bo Bice, the final face-off was also between the cultures of rock and roll and country music, of north and south, of urban and country, and while these are sweeping generalizations with much crossover, underneath them lie solid audience segments such that all other things being equal, differences in musical style would have certainly played a big role in the closeness of the final vote which Fox News claimed was only a 134 vote difference.

Certainly Bice is incredibly talented and more mature than Underwood, and my own preferences lean towards Rock and Roll, and the closeness of the vote tally suggest that the VotefortheWorst.com website may have had exactly the impact it claims, that is thrown the final vote towards Underwood.

But what about a Bice Backlash? Could Bo's fans been incensed at the interference and voted more heatedly, once, Bice, three times more often than before?

That was last season. We may never know. What I can say is that VotefortheWorst.com is back and as a Peter Files Blog reader you are on notice that you have already missed some of this season's fun, BUT, now there is a recap for you to catch up on and to follow the sites new comprehensive and incisive (as in teeth not insight) coverage of this season's episodes, including their suggestions for the worst performer of Tuesday's episode and the appeal that their website's fans vote for that person so that He and/or she stays in the running for another week. They even supply the telephone number to call in so that you do not even have to watch the show to follow der instructions.

Funny? Yes?

Reality Television? Yes, very real. So real that it takes the show to an entirely different level. Thursday nights when who is safe and who will leave has a new dimension now and audiences will be wondering if the person leaving the show was truly the worst performer in the judgement of the mainstream audience or if the person voted off went before "their time".

Now in truth, in the early stages of the competition it probably hardly matters. The bottom 50% will probably vary very little in the end no matter what the website says. It is in the endgame, where the results get closer that the picks on the website of who to save, the rundown of each episode, and the comments by fans in their forum section will become more important.

They also have a little safeguard that was unpublicized or little publicized last time when they had a little "Server problem" perhaps due to Fox's nervousness (if any) about their impact on results. As they say, the only thing worse than bad publicity is no publicity.

You have to give American Idol credit for this - Idol is one of the great publicity engines of the current media age. You might almost suspect that VotefortheWorst.com was created by them just to stir things up if it wasn't so annoying....wait a second, isn't Simon Cowell rather, well, annoying?

Simon, Theodore, Alvin!

Now all they need is a contestant whose parent was conceived on the grassy knoll or at Graceland to really spice things up!

Oops. Almost forgot to mention, the updated website has some new sections worth checking out!

False Idols a weekly column that bites its way through a review of Idol's weekly activity. Sparing no rods it gives you the low, low, low, lowdown on the week's competition and likely prospects for current and upcoming vote for the worst picks of the week.

Grading the Idols by "Professor Chan" or the Season 5 overview by the Vote Worst "Celebrity Critic" complete with Judge analysis.

If you wander around the site you will also find a message board, info about season's 4 and 5, and of course the website's store operated by Cafepress.com/voteworst which offers an amusing assortment of merchandise for the Votefortheworst crowd, my favorites being what I like to think of as the "Randy Bear" and the "Make Paula Cry" bumper stickers.

Of course, I am not sure that the votefortheworst strategy is always guaranteed to make Paula cry. Sometimes Paula likes what other people hate. One can never tell with Paula can one?

So here's the quandry. If you've read this far, and actually have gone so far as to have considered voting on American Idol results, or, alternatively don't care about American Idol, but are just darn ornery, given this information, are you going to do anything with it.

After all you can:

1) Ignore this post and American Idol completely. One might call that the sane adult option.

2) Watch American Idol and do no voting because the phone is just to darn far. That is the couch potato syndrome approach, otherwise known as the "L Factor"TM approach, a PeterFiles blog original term where L means Lazy.

3) Watch American Idol and vote for who you think is best. That is the true blue American Way sort of Competitor.

4) Watch Idol and Vote for the Worst, that is the Vote for the Worst, stick it to the Producers and audience approach, which Kant would not approve of but Brooklyn might overwhelmingly support.

5) The mixed bag approach where you vote repeatedly, alternating between options 3 & 4 so that your favorite is in the end, up against the worst. This is what I consider to be the "Winning Ugly" strategy, and as a Chicagoan and a long time Chicago Sports fan, Go White Sox 2005 World Champions, one I heartily support.

What will YOU do?

What will you do.

Please leave a comment and let me know.

Also, is that Simon's real hair?

Are those...never mind this is a safe for work site, safe for home. Only Paula's doctor knows for sure whether she wears contact lenses.

Is it time for Randy to switch to a new catch phrase? Is that Yo, Dawg, getting kind of tired. Now I know, Yo, Cat, might not be da thing, but there has got to be something new on the front.

UPDATE: For those who did not see my 5/26/05 posting American Idol Results Fixed? Say it isn't So Simon Fuller! in which I documented the early British press release of Idol results before all traces could be wiped from the internet, you might find it interesting reading now that we know that the margin of difference between Bo and Carrie was only 146 votes. Heck, Simon, Randy and Paula could make that many calls just with auto dial, add a few crew members and, well, you get the idea.

I'm not saying that they did of course....

If you are interested in the gagging of the Vote for the Worst website you might also want to check out my 5/3/05 post,

www.Votefortheworst.com - Nemesis of American Idol - Voted Off the Internet

Note: After reading this post you may wish to check out my update to this post written on May 24, 2005 the day of the Tuesday Night Round IV American Idols Finals by clicking here.

By reading the updated Votefortheworst.com website, I learned that they had then, and have now a backup website, WWW.votefortheworst.org which should serve as a backup in case some problems with the main website occur during the final weeks of idol.

One last link, to search for American Idol related sites just use the search box in blue above at the top of the page. For American Idol related videos and CD's you can use the Amazon search box to save time.

So, if you make the call, which call will you make?

Best or Worst?

Only your phone service will know for sure. And Dick Cheney of course.


P.S. Thanks to the visitors from http://www.forum.bonafidebice.com, the Bo Bice forum for dropping by.

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Anonymous Lulu1001 said...

Sometimes I indulge in grassy knoll theories about why Bo lost, but mostly I think that the UK press report happened because everyone associated with Idol knew Carrie would win. Someone just blurted it out too soon. I think they knew it because the vote totals were so high for her - I suspect that when Bo's acappella In a Dream didn't even get more votes than Carrie, they knew she had it sewn up.

I actually go further and think that they wanted Bo as the runner-up to ensure that Carrie would win. A talented, mature musician will never beat a teen favorite on that show, and they know it. They needed Carrie to win because they knew she'd sell millions of albums, so they made sure it would happen by stacking the odds in her favor from start to finish.

I think someone on Bo's PR team spread the story about the close vote, but I doubt it's true.

As for VFTW? I suppose they may have helped keep Scott around a little longer, but I'm not even sure about that. I suspect a lot of people identified with Scott and let's face it, the guys were an under-performing bunch last year.

2/26/2006 8:28 AM  
Anonymous john said...

may i win a psp or not ? please hepl me, vote YES ( not "no" )

4/12/2006 9:17 PM  

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