Do you watch American Idol? Have you ever watched American Idol? Of course you have! It's popular. But it's sad, too. Every year the country spends half a television season watching contestants sing. They vote for their favorite performer — or against yours. The weeks grind on. Someone wins, even though we all realize that there is no culturally significant difference between a champion and her trail of vanquished competitors. Despite increasingly smaller numbers, Americans still watch in droves. With regard to the show as a catapult to fame, however, we might have moved on.
But that's not what's sad about American Idol — or sadder still about The X Factor. What's sad is that it doesn't give you the winner you want. The first couple of seasons, we didn't what know we wanted, which was lucky for Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. The culture was just different enough then. But eventually — maybe after Underwood's season in 2005 — you'd listen to the advice of the judges and hear comments from friends, critics, and select social-media guides and realize you don't really want to watch a stranger evolve into a star.
The winner we want never looked like a loser. The winner we want is a fully developed, perversely gifted mutant entertainer. That winner we want has already won. And the winner we want is Celine Dion.
1. Kidz Bop Kids, "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" (Kidz Bop 23)
They did it! They made it more annoying! Congratulations to the Kidz Bop team of scientists for their tireless efforts at making the hardest possible things to listen to. They shouldn't play Metallica at Guantanamo Bay. They should play this. (Just kidding, they shouldn't torture people!) Not annoying enough for you? There's always the chipmunk version for super extreme masochists.
Best YouTube Comment: "Sounds better than taylor swift. Sorry swifties." — balayamegalaya
As the Grantland staff looks back this week on the highlights of the year in music, TV, film, and sports, we would obviously be remiss if we left out the one medium to rule them all: the Internet. Here are our picks for the best (and worst) of the Information Superhighway in 2012.
"My Way" has never been my favorite Sinatra song by a long shot, but there's no denying that Frank consistently ripped the sky open with his live performances of this Paul Anka setting of the French song "Comme d'habitude." After a Florida dinner with Frank and some of his heavies at which Sinatra told Anka "I'm quitting the business. I'm sick of it. I'm getting the hell out," Anka wrote the song from his imagined version of Frank's point of view. Sinatra recorded it in 1968, and it became an instant classic and a crown jewel in his repertoire. You've been marvelous, absolutely marvelous. Now get the hell out of my house!
Best YouTube Comment: "best song of all times!!!!!!!!!!" —pedrourdemales
Never in my 12-year concert-going career (Miseducation Tour-present) had I been less prepared for what was to come than I was last night. Not one to ask too many questions, all I knew upon arriving at Gotham Hall in midtown Manhattan was that I was about to see a Mariah Carey concert. As someone who can trace the sudden onset of his puberty to Ms. Carey on a tire swing, this was enough for me to cancel all other plans and show up for the festivities. Upon arriving, however, I knew something wasn't quite right: Why were so many people immaculately dressed up? Why was there a red carpet outside? Why the commotion? Was Diddy here or something? I was thoroughly confused and hadn't even stepped inside yet.
And then I stepped inside. This was not just a Mariah concert. I had just stumbled into Divas Live 2012.