Last week, this column took ABC to task for broadcasting Rihanna’s tawdry
opening number for the song “S&M” at the 2011Billboard Music Awards.
Just a few days later, Fox did essentially the same thing by airing a salacious
dance number by Lady Gaga during one of the most-watched television events of
the year, the May 25thAmerican Idol finale. For airing a
sexually provocative live performance during what should have been a
family-friendly show, American Idol has been named Worst TV Show of
Perhaps it shouldn’t have come as
a surprise that Gaga’s performance of her single “The Edge of Glory” would have
sent Idol over the cliff. For the entire season, the reality-show
juggernaut had been flirting with the edge of good taste, primarily at the hands
(or rather the mouth) of first-time judge Steven Tyler, whose penchant for
profanity shocked even his fellow judges.
Gaga’s performance, however,
differs from Tyler’s spontaneous vulgarity because her lurid dancing was
well-rehearsed, staged atop a massive precipice built specifically for this
number. During her performance she stripped to studded black bra and panties as
she straddled the organ set next to her. Later, a bare-chested male dancer
joined her and their highly suggestive moves included bending Gaga forward while
grabbing her from behind, then mounting her as she writhed on the floor.
The blatant sexuality appeared even more alarming
given the fact that the two finalists – Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina – are
both still teenagers in high school, and producers took great care to project
them as squeaky-clean, All-American kids. It’s a shame they didn’t extend that
standard to the entire show.
The season proved to be a huge ratings success for
Idol after four straight seasons of declining viewership. This season’s
two-hour finale saw a 21% increase over last year’s, averaging a whopping 29
million viewers. A sizeable portion of those viewers was made up of families who
were under the impression Idol was one of the view shows they can watch
together. Sadly, they were wrong.
For deliberately airing racy content when millions of families tune in,
American Idol has been named Worst TV Show of the Week.
Parents Television Council,
Clean Up TV Now, Because our children are watching, The
nation's most influential advocacy organization, Protecting
children against sex, violence and profanity in
entertainment, Parents Television Council Seal of Approval,
and Family Guide to Prime Time Television
are trademarks of the Parents Television Council.