Monday, October 6, 2008

American Idle

So, as many of you know, there's been quite a hooplah about the Disney-MGM Studios these last few months.
Some of you don't know? Well, then, let me (using the brilliant news source refresh your memory:
-Fantasmic! is losing showtimes, to roughly 2 shows a week
-Sounds Dangerous with Drew Carey is going to be opening up late: about 6 hours before the park closes
-One Man's Dream will be closing it's doors about 3 PM daily

What in the hell could be causing this kind of a disturbance in the force? It must be something...big. Colossal, even. Maybe it's a new ride. But it can't be! It's closing up attractions on all sides of the park! What's doing this?

Would you believe...American Idol?
No? Me either.
Unfortunately, it's true. Disney heads have been concocting this brand-new show to plop into Disney-MGM Studios, right where the Monster Soundstage went.

*Sigh*...Where do I begin?

This is, without a doubt, one of the WORST ideas WDI has shit out in the last decade. Fucking Stitch's Great Escape was a better concept than this! And NO-ONE likes that concept! Why in fuck's name would WDI think it's intelligent to create a show based on a series that isn't even Disney-owned, and has been around for the last 8 years?
Let's think back on that first point: Disney spent money on this. Presumably mad money. Serious dollars. They don't own the American Idol name. But someone at WDI thought this should be done.
Higher-Up:"Guys, I love what we have here at the Studios. But it could use something a little more...known. Not everyone knows what Muppets are, but they sure as hell know what American Idol is!"
Underling: "But...that show was popular 8 years ago. It was a fad. No one really cares that much anymore!"
H-U: "YOU BASTARD! You won't be laughing when you see my other idea!" *holds up a poster for a Furby roller coaster featuring Spice Girls music*
This idea is just...bad. It's cashing in on an idea that should have been cashed in on in 2000. If they had done so then, this attraction would be gone by now. That's how outdated the whole concept is. Did the Astuter Computer Revue teach them NOTHING?
As you can tell, I'm being a big outrageous today. That's because I'm in an outrageous mood. Why? Because this idea is fucking LUDICROUS. Honestly. But what if it isn't outdated? What if, by some divine miracle, Idol-mania sweeps America again? Here's problem #2:
-At least 2/3 of the viewing audience stop watching "American Idol" after the audition rounds. One of the show's major draws is that you get to see people fuck up the Star-Spangled Banner on live TV. Drag queens sing Bowie, guys in chicken outfits breakdance, and at least one angry young man an episode curses Simon Cowell for not supporting his dream like his mother does. It's a draw because it's getting to watch people at their lowest. Some just do it to be on television, and some honest-to-God believe they have talent. Sure, it's pleasant to see some talent thrown in there, but we all know what we like. If it wasn't popular, there wouldn't be entire episodes of the show dedicated to poor auditions. When's the last time you've seen an entire show dedicated to the best auditions around? Sure, Kelly Clarkson is still a big deal, but how many American Idol winners of late have drawn a commotion as big as that of everyone's favorite neer-do-well, William Hung?

"The American Idol Experience" won't offer that kind of entertainment. The show will - for incredibly understandable reasons - privately audition people, then let audiences watch the best of the best throughout the day, culminating in a finale that (I would assume) will take place in the ampitheatre where "Fantasmic!" is housed. Which brings me to my greatest gripe with this whole idea: perfectly amazing attractions are being downsized to make room for this shit.
Fantasmic! is easily (aside from Illuminations) the best show Disney has to offer in their Florida resort. Fantasmic manages to make audiences applaud and scream with joy everytime I've seen it; it never fails to make people cheer when Mickey appears on the top of that mountain (which literally just made me think of Sorcerer Mickey as a Christ figure...I'll go into that another time, I guess). The show is just...brilliant. So the only thing that would be the cause for Disney to cut showtimes like this HAS to be nothing short of perfect. The greatest achievement in entertainment ever beheld by human eyes. Nope. It's "The American Idol Experience". Disney honestly believes that crowds for this show will be a match to that of Fantasmic!, which already has a line going allllll the way down that winding path to the ampitheatre an hour before the show even starts. It's a pity.
Then there's One Man's Dream.
Personally, I'm amazed this one is even still in the Studios. It's one of my favorite attractions of all time at WDW - one that honors the legacy of the man who brought this to us almost single-handedly. However, this wasn't supposed to last that long. It opened during one of Disney's annual celebrations (the "Celebrate the Future" one), and was supposed to be closed up afterwards. But, for some reason, WDI thought it'd be wise to keep it going.
One of the smartest ideas they've ever had.
But I personally am surprised that the WDI of today hasn't decided to gut that building and turn it into something else. I'm pleased, but surprised. They'd better by God never hurt that show too bad; but I guess closing it up early every day is better than shutting it down totally. Actually, when you think about it, "One Man's Dream" will have some weeks where it gets more people than Fantasmic!. Food for thought.
Then...there's Sounds Dangerous. To be honest, if they closed this and turned it into a queue area for the "Experience", my biggest argument would be that the building deserves better than to be used as a waiting area for hell; a Disney purgatory.

Honestly, I like the idea behind the show, but like "Experience", this was outdated about 3 months after it opened. If you watch the television monitors while you wait, you'll see trivia for shows that aren't even in reruns anymore. Not many people go there these days, but if they rehashed it - kept the same "sensory attraction" theme, but with a different, more accessible star - it may be a hit. But the Drew Carey theme has to go. The man isn't popular anymore, and if Disney can afford to buy the rights to a show that's past its prime AND build a giant monument to it, they can afford to slap, say, Robert Downey Jr.'s face on this show. Just a suggestion. God knows Disney has a bad habit of creating attractions around only celebrities who are 15-minute men (Bill Nye the Science Guy has appearances in TWO shows).

Anyway....yeah. "The American Idol Experience". I'm pretty sure I'm only going to experience this once, just to say I did it, but honestly...I can't see this one lasting more than a year. Poor idea, poor theme, and bad timing all add up to what's probably going to be a major bomb. Synergy at its lowest.

My little blue friend, you've earned good marks today.

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