by Johnny Punish
Is American Idol Racist? Did we just witness our electorate again default to tribalism?
On Sunday’s Disney-themed episode of American Idol, three contestants were sent home after a live vote. Each of the finalists sang one song from a Disney animated classic. In a first for the franchise, the show aired live nationwide. America got to vote for their favorites in real-time, with the results revealed by host Ryan Seacrest at the end of the episode.
The American Idol top 7 seven vote-getters — Gabby Barrett, Cade Foehner, Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Maddie Poppe, Jurnee Siani, Catie Turner and Michael J. Woodard — moved on while the bottom three were eliminated from the competition.
That meant Dennis Lorenzo, Michelle Sussett and Ada Vox were sent packing. Many people were quick to point out that all three contestants eliminated were people of color. Lorenzo is African-American, Sussett is a refugee from Venezuela, and Vox, who is also drag queen, is Fillipino.
In my house, to me, it was painfully obvious what was going on. Last week, the judges had to save the People of Color (POC) to get them on this Top 10 show because America voted them out last week. My guests were all hoping it was just a weird quirk and America would get it right. I was hoping with them. But alas Idol gave America the keys and they did it again like clockwork. Same exact thing! Predictable!
For me, I was hoping Vegas had a line on the vote cause I would have cashed in big time. I literally called it out right from the beginning whilst my guests where still hoping America would NOT go full Trump again! I appreciate the hope. I admire it. But I would NEVER bet on it.
I mean not only were the bottom three all people of color, Jurnee Siani, who is African-American and married to a woman, was with them in the bottom four. She moved on to the next round in the competition, but that means that all the white, straight people weren’t even close from being eliminated this week.
Many people were extremely saddened by the exit of Ada Vox, who was considered to be one of the most talented and most diverse competitors on this season of American Idol. Christopher Thornton wrote, “Once again, just like Election Night 2016, America got the votes wrong. Ada was robbed. #AmericanIdol”
Madison added, “Jesus Christ I’m crying. I knew this would happen. AMERICA IS PREJUDICE AND HOMOPHOBIC AS FUCK, @AdaVox SLAYED WEEK AFTER WEEK. SHE WAS THE FUCKING BEST ON THE FUCKING SHOW. IM DISGUSTED #AmericanIdol”
Tonight we saw some amazing and strong performers go home. Whiteness was picked over talent. This is a reminder that POC and queer visibility are the least of what American Idol viewers want. Obviously, there’s still more work that has to be done.
in case y’all forgot how racist, homophobic, & bigoted our country is, here are some tweets from american idol’s voting base. this show continues to be dictated by close-minded hicks. this isn’t american idol… it’s white, middle american idol. #AmericanIdol pic.twitter.com/sJE6vOrseV— Dylan (@scholaurship) April 30, 2018
So the bottom four in Idol were the drag queen, the Latina immigrant, the black man, and the lesbian. Yeah, I’m done watching. @AdaVox has more talent than everyone else in the room combined. #AmericanIdol— Ian Blumenfeld (@itblumenfeld) April 30, 2018
Am I watching the same show as everyone else?? Jurnee has one of the best voices there hands down & I guarantee if her voice came out of Gabby Barrett she’d be regarded as the best; America’s racism & homophobia is really showing #AmericanIdol— luke 🏳️🌈 (@RealLifeFlop) April 30, 2018
So is American Idol Racist?
Oh Hell NO!
Idol is a super great show giving young people a shot. They really tried to their best to make it fair and open for everyone and it was. America Idol gets a super A+ and deserves full respect!
However, in Trump’s “Frightened of Losing our Culture” America, good people who live in fear of predators that do NOT exist have NO PATH to exercise their very best self. Sadly, they are forced into tribal boxes by politicians and profiteers who exploit without consequence. It’s retarding our country. This regressing has gotta stop folks!
It really upsets me because this terrible exploitation of all of us outlines the very sad vision-less walls that exist between “us” and “them”. We can do so much better. We must!
So I call on you and everyone reading this post to consistently reject walls at every turn in every place. Let’s not default to narrowed minded vision less “color” politics because we’re afraid of predators that do NOT exist.
Yes, culture will evolve as it always does. That’s normal folks! It’s nothing to fear! Yes we lose things but we gain even more. So drop the fear! Embrace the future! Let’s rise above and truly reach our potential by reaching out across lines, building bridges and connecting our world to all our brothers and sisters.
We have a long way to go to make America and American Idol Great Again!
Punish was educated at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (1980-81) and California State University Fullerton (1981-1984) with studies in accounting and business. Before the “internets” were invented, he owned and ran (5) U.S. national newspapers.
He has over 100 original songs written. He also records and produces music. A member of ASCAP, Punish has several songs placed in feature films. His music is promoted worldwide and played on all digital networks and net radio.
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