Last night, my favorite TV show, American Idol, came through. All the behind-the-scenes issues were exposed in fascinating detail. Yes, I love singers, and I loved seeing brave crooners stepping up, but for me, last night’s episode was all about the logistical challenges. Belting it out on your front porch in suburbia trying to imagine you are actually an exceptional singer destined to leave small-town America is far more difficult than standing under the glitzy lights of Hollywood.
The coolest part was the costumes. Of course they had measurements, a selected color palette, style ideas and a potential wardrobe assembled for each contestant before the quarantine. Maybe each person consulted remotely with a stylist who then sent them custom made clothing options. That’s how they managed to have great looking, well-fitting outfits as Julia’ shoulderless peach dress, perfectly suited for playing to America from her living room.
Maybe they had hair and makeup consults too. I kept looking at the eye make-up and hair on the women and feeling grateful my daughter wasn’t one of the contestants. I can’t do hair!
I heard the panel say that everone had the same ring light, the same microphone, the same set of equipment supplied by the producers, and the same access to the professionals for consultation, and that it was up to each contestant to create their own scene. As difficult as this must have been, I love this necessity for creativity. One girl used red lighting and what looked like a dozen floor lamps to set a mood in her suburban garage. It was gorgeous. Did they have to unload all the grass clippings and garbage cans to set that up?
If it were me, after failing the hair and make-up challenge, the lack of an audience would be the biggest stumbling block. Pretending that a glowing ring light positioned in front of the stairs heading to the bedrooms that I have been staring at for six weeks, is actually millions of potential fans, requires heroic acting skills or an unshakable belief in self. The most successful contestants had a song to sing that our present reality could not hold back.
To me, this experiment of producing a talent contest of would-be singer stars from their homes, is a fascinating look behind the scenes of glamour and stardom. It was all a bit more human. I loved it.
And it was destracting and entertaining, and I needed that.