Posted by: *carrie* | May 25, 2010

I Can’t Believe I’m Talking About American Idol

Somehow I’ve become a regular viewer of American Idol. (The somehow being because my partner is a sucker for any and all pop music. Even when it’s season 906 of American Idol or whatever we’re on now). The face that I don’t really care much about the show, and don’t get too invested in the performers (even my ‘favorites’) makes it great light viewing and also easy to dissect when I’m so inclined. Plus, this season has Ellen!

There are two completely separate issues I want to address in relation to this season of American Idol.

The first is about condoned sexual harassment. Last week contestant Casey James was voted off, leaving in third place.

American Idol contestant Casey James

Casey’s a pretty talented guy. He should have made it at least as far as the Hollywood rounds based on his talent. During his initial audition with the judges (Simon, Randy, Kara) there was some debate on whether they wanted to let him through. His good bye montage revisited this turn. So we had a chance to review what happened. Kara (a female judge) asked him to take off his shirt. Read that again: at a singing competition, a judge asked a contestant to take off his shirt. Casey chose to play along. Maybe he wasn’t even offended. I was outraged. Especially when Kara, upon seeing Casey half naked, proclaimed she was voting him through.

Idol Contestant Casey James Takes Off His Shirts for Judge Kara Dioguardi

As the season has progressed, there have been casual allusions to this event, apparently all in good fun. Every time it happens, I get pissed off. This was nothing other than sexual harassment. If one of the male judges had solicited a female contestant in this manner, maybe other people would be as outraged as I am. Or maybe they’d assume if she participated, she didn’t care. Here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter. It’s still sexual harassment. It’s still not okay.

The second thing I want to address is healthcare. My favorite contestant (and one of the top two) happens to be a young woman named Crystal Bowersox.

American Idol contestant Crystal Bowersox

She’s talented and edgy and confident. She also happens to have diabetes. Last week she discussed briefly the fact that she has never been healthier than she is now. She credited American Idol for this. If you read in between the lines, she was saying that she could never afford the level of healthcare that she receives while a contestant on the show. I also don’t know what kind of access she has to healthy foods, or how realistic a healthy lifestyle was for her pre-Idol.

I think it’s great that Idol provides the necessary healthcare to its participants. It’s an interesting picture of America, seeing this woman talk about not being able to be as healthy without the money necessary to manage her diabetes, which is a disease that people have their entire lives. It really speaks to the need for better healthcare and access to care in our country.


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