I admit it. Even after ranting about The WB's Superstar USA last week, I have to cop to the fact that when this level of train-wreck television shows up on the schedule, I'm eerily drawn to it like the mosquito to the zapper. I still say the show is terribly produced -- they continue to do too much recap and preview and not enough of the show itself. Go further with the profiles; let the contestants "sing" for more than 30 seconds; and don't cut the judges short.
But after last night's first "finalist" and elimination episode, if you're into just flat out evil TV -- far more evil than The Joe Schmo Show could ever have been -- then Superstar USA may just be it. These people are so delusional, one can't help but sit there open-mouthed in some combination of shock, terror and amusement. The three judges have the deadpan complements boiled down to a science, but they are still so laudatory that it seems almost incredible that none of the contestants have caught on even a little bit.
Personally, I was disappointed at some of the cuts. If they're really looking for the worst singers/performers, how could they cut Frank? (I can't post a specific link to Frank, but if you go here you'll see him and can get a video clip. And that's a tame one.) Regardless, there are some real "winners" left, and if you thought (as I had) that you saw this before when American Idol held their little William Hung-influenced special, think again. Those people, on some level, had to know they were being made fun of when they were asked to sing in that special; these people are being told their "superstars"!
Still, the thing that finally turned me was the host with the least -- Brian McFayden himself -- actually signing off with a bigtime dig at Ryan Seacrest. At some point near the beginning of this season of Idol, Seacrest decided he needed a little catch-phrase, and after two years on the show and more in radio, he came up with the ever-so-clever, "Seacrest Out." I think he's decided he's going to make simply dropping words cool. (Ryan, you've failed.) I'm pretty sure last night during his intro I heard him say, "Seacrest ... Idol ... Here we go," or something equally annoying.
Well, if I give Superstar USA credit for anything, it's McFayden's sign-off. It was just a little throw-in at the end of the show. In fact, I almost missed it since I was fast-forwarding so as to not watch yet another preview of their final reveal of the hoax. But just as they're about to throw to tape and spend several minutes previewing the final two or three episodes of the series, McFayden turns to the camera, and although he didn't smirk and wink, he might as well have, because the words came pouring out: "McFayden ... gone!"
I can't do it justice in print, but to me, it was a wonderful moment in modern crappy-pop-culture-TV. Good on you Brian -- as far as I'm concerned, you're just as cheesy as Seacrest ever was, and maybe even slightly more clever.