American Idol: Mario InterruptusBy David K. / Tuesday, March 15th, 2005
"Humankind cannot bear very much reality…" — T. S. Eliot
It wasn’t until this season’s debut of American Idol that I realized how morally spent I’d become post last year’s election. That debacle was a significant turning point for me. Within the mandala of my little brain it was the exact moment The Seal was opened and Western civilization began it’s final ghoulish descent. Being a sensible fellow I decided that I might as well revel in what little joy I could still suckle from American culture’s debauched tit — and just wallow in the fallout. Take my seat in steerage on the Ship of Fools.
Bored stupid by shows like Survivor, Fear Factor, Nanny 911 and Who Wants to Marry a Hooker Lovin’ Millionaire, all that was left a queer, showbiz-lovin’ pop-music fan like myself were re-runs of the Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour and uber hot affairs like American Idol. So with my new mindset in place — despite suicide bombers exploding and my Social Security inching closer to being traded on Wall Street — my most pressing concern this March was: Which AI contestants would make The Top 12 — and which contestant would be plucked from Fame’s nimbus after the discovery of some criminal, perhaps pornographic, misstep.
In Fame American Style 2005, we can no longer have one event happen without the other. The old fame game would see an Idol-ette get pushed up upon a pedestal, be allotted a short or long run (depending on the talent) and then inevitably at some point, get thrown, with much media glee, to the lions. But everything is set now on super-highway super-speed, and so many everybodies clamor for their flash-bulb-popping 15 minutes that fame and disgrace walk hand in hand. It’s like a heartbeat, on the uptick you’re famous, on the down, you’re Corey Feldman.
Like many of us, my viewing pleasure this year was guaranteed, (so I thought) by (what would have been) the constant presence of Latino charmer Mario Vasquez working his mojo to the top of the motley AI heap. But now, post Mario’s mysterious bow out, I don’t like the little fucker anymore.
Sure, I think turnabout is fair play, the contestant dropping the judges — and yes the contract the Idol winner must sign is Faustian (apparently, the Idol franchise takes 50% of the income, as opposed to the industry standard of 10%) — still, the adorable little goofball disrupted my reverie and swooning — my being vacuously distracted. And that just won’t do.
In short, I wasn’t spellbound by anyone else on the show — well, OK, maybe Bo Bice (God, I hope he stops wearing underwear or starts padding his basket — he’s supposed to be a rocker, for Chrissake! ) and the near-tranny Mikalah Gordon — but deep down I knew — like Mario himself must have sussed out when surveying the teeth of the eleven other disciples — that all of the show’s genuine star power — and ability to make young girls moist — would regularly be broadcast from the little Bronx heartthrob with the mocha coloring. So this meant what? That Mario’s innocence must have (oh, horror!) been feigned!? And then, as when the snake entered Eden, we learn that he is no innocent at all, and that he had already worked as a professional, singing backup on “Whatever Happens” for Michael Jackson (double the horror!) Well, my fragile nervous system can only take so much reality (TV)!
In this age of wicked-hot famewhoring why am I surprised? OK, so I’m dim — but did Mario have to be? I mean, why does he assume that the American media/public/Walmarters are going to grant him a shelf-life any longer than — uhm, that other fuzzy-headed AI alumni, Justin Guarini. Perhaps sensing this — and despite "private family issues," Mario was in hyperdrive yesterday talking to every media outlet that would have him (which is to say: ALL OF THEM). But despite these golden chunks of Entertainment Tonight exposure, he — just like our president — told us nothing.
What was important, to Mario, I suppose, is that he was still able to diddle the clit of our collective interest a wee bit longer — just long enough for him to attract a counter offer, rather than be tied up for three months on a grueling summer Idols tour.
WORD! Mario, darling — here’s a clue. You’re a curiosity right now. You’re not pulling the publicity because you’re the next Justin Timberlake…it’s cuz you quit, dude. After tonight your news value sinks. Also, while I’ve got your attention — that whole homo speculation thing that you were dodging? Well, announcing to Regis and Kelly this morning that you “used to work for Vera Wang,” set off every gaydar unit from here to Antarctica. Call Judge Judy, girlfriend! CASE CLOSED!
Mario’s association with Michael Jackson gave a certain fetid frisson to the whole affair, but in the end…well, I just lost interest in him and — worse — respect. A virtue I wasn’t even aware I was in possession of anymore! The shock! Now, just within the passing of a few hours, Mario has already become another American Idol ghost — like Frenchie or the three other contestants who had to be removed for murder, assault or getting jiggy with their tits on a website. Proving once again that it’s all just tacky showbiz in Bush’s Amerika.
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