backlash to the backlash

Why Professional Singers Should Be Allowed on ‘American Idol’

Courtesy of Fox

Fans are up in arms this morning about the overrepresentation of professional singers on the new season of American Idol. notes that Kristy Lee Cook (left), the winsome kickboxer (and cage fighter!), who purportedly sold her favorite horse to pay her way to the Philadelphia auditions, was at one time under contract to Arista Nashville and Britney Spears production company (evidently some would still consider this an advantage). Additionally, Brooke White — the 24-year-old nanny who claimed she’d never seen an R-rated movie (and was impressively able to make a Corinne Bailey Rae song sound even more boring) — has 13,000 MySpace friends and pictures of herself sharing a stage with Kiefer Sutherland. Rickey says he’s “too lazy to do the research” but speculates that she, like Cook, has probably released an album too. We’re also too lazy to do the research, but from the looks of White’s MySpace page, he’s probably right.

The biggest ringer of all, though, says Idolator, is Carly Hennessy, the Irish singer (she’ll be on upcoming episodes) who was given a $2.2 million marketing and production budget from MCA Records in 2005, but failed to sell any records, mostly owing to music-industry foul-ups. American Idol producer Nigel Lythgow has even tipped Hennessy to win this year’s season.

Still, we’re not worried. In fact, much of the fun of American Idol comes from seeing bland, entitled semi-pros get put in their place by the tone-deaf Sanjayas of the world. Remember Melinda Doolittle, last season’s annoying, falsely modest (though hugely talented) professional backup singer? She’d recorded with Kirk Franklin, Michael McDonald, and Aaron Neville, then she came on Idol and lost to Blake Lewis. No matter how unfair it may seem to have pros in an amateur competition, we can all be sure that, in the end, America’s bad taste will prevail.

Kristy Lee Cook []
Brook White []
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Why Professional Singers Should Be Allowed on ‘American Idol’