Pop Culture Sociology Research
The subtopic chosen to investigate for this assignment is American Idol and popular culture. Search terms include American Idol, pop culture, sociology, and culture.
Centellas, M. (2010). Pop culture in the classroom: American Idol, Karl Marx, and Alexis de Tocqueville. Political Science & Politics, 43(3), 561-565.
The article is dedicated to the utilization of pop culture as an important tool for teaching political science. The author of the article is a professor at the University of Mississippi who discusses American Idol theme in his undergraduate comparative politics courses. He insists that such phenomenon as American Idol proved to be effective in explaining teachings of Marx and Tocqueville. The article shows that American Idol is universally recognized, which means that it has a profound cultural impact throughout the world. As the author puts it, “American Idol works because it is so diffused across global pop culture.” Talking about the article, it originates in the peer-reviewed journal Political Science & Politics. The article is an evidence of the global contribution of the show to the pop culture. However, it focuses more on its application to political sciences than to the field of sociology. The article aims to learn the global dimension of American Idol as much as the article by Oren Livio. The only difference is that the former shows how American Idol works for one idea, while the latter shows how the idea of American Idol works across the globe.
Fallon, K. (2015). The end of ‘American Idol’: How Fox’s singing phenomenon changed the face of pop culture.
The article provides the readers with the shortened version of the show development. The author emphasizes that this talent was favored in the beginning, but it lost its attractiveness to the viewers. He pays much attention to the role of the first show’s winner Kelly Clarkson. Apart from that, the value of the show is seen in creating a huge market for cover songs, good singers, and inspiration for multiple parodies. The article focuses on the cultural legacy of American Idol and compares it to other reality shows. In fact, this article originates in a website focusing on politics and pop culture. Though this article provides a critical assessment of the show, the author is a strong supporter of American Idol. Thus, it makes the article an interesting piece of reading. At the same time, the article is dependent on the idea of the American Dream and its fulfillment. Fallon believes that Kelly Clarkson initiated that show’s magic of the relatively easy way to wealth and success. Although Kornhaber also writes about this idea, he disproves of it by providing certain evidence.
Kornhaber, S. (2015). The American Idol dream came true. The Atlantic.
The article assesses the pop culture legacy of the show American Idol. On the one hand, the author recognizes that the show nurtures misconceptions about being successful. It promises its contestants an easy way to fame, popularity and wealth. Even though this idea corresponds with the American Dream, it is still a myth. On the other hand, this show gave the world a range of pop stars, thousands of loyal fans and many similar reality shows. Thus, the show and its cultural dominance created demand and supply for talent shows. The article shows how American Idol changed the ways of becoming celebrities. It also estimates its cultural legacy and provides the readers with important insights into pop culture. Without American Idol, pop culture would look different. The article is published in the magazine. The strength of the article is that it reveals the way the show changed social perception of music. Apparently, it trained viewers to treat music as a sport and as politics. Apart from that, the article shows that talent and hard work are still valued in music culture compared to Fallon’s reliance on the concept of the American Dream.
Lipshutz, J. (2015). The legacy of ‘American Idol’: It was always about the stars. Billboard.
The article tries to embrace as many cultural implications of the show as possible. The author sees broad implications of the show in star-making and making of music tastes of the broad audience. He also emphasizes the role of non-winners of the show because it is more about participation than winning. The author also compares this show to its competitors, the role of which is to be a star factory. Moreover, this article is rich in examples of the consequences of the show airing on the public, viewers, and pop culture. What is more, it distinguishes the main similarities and differences between the show and its copycats. Apparently, this source is published in the magazine. The article is very helpful for the common understanding of the phenomenon of American Idol. It covers many aspects related to this topic and, thus, provides the readers with the broad picture of this talent show. Comparing to Kornhaber’s article, this one takes a humorous approach to the facts’ presentation. In particular, the author writes about memorable comments of Simon Cowell, career reinvention of Jennifer Lopez and funny audition outtakes. Hereby, the readers realize these mocking implications of American Idol in the course of reading.
Livio, O. (2010). Performing the nation: A cross-cultural comparison of idol shows in four countries. In A. Hetsroni (Ed.), Reality television: Merging the global and the local (165-188). New York, NY: Nova Science Publishers.
The article talks about globalization and cultural imperialism related to the influence of the United States through the media. According to the author, the Idol franchise provides the opportunity for the globalizing nature of present times. Thus, he shows how the adaptations of this talent show work in Britain, the United States, Canada, and Israel. The analysis helps to understand both the cultural authenticity and cultural diffusion of the given countries. Apparently, this article shows the impact of the concept of Idol on four different countries. The author shows dissimilar interpretations of the idea in different cultures. Thus, the article helps the readers develop their critical skills in analyzing pop culture, local culture, and global culture. In fact, this article originates in the book dedicated to reality television on the global scale. Therefore, this source would be very interesting to those who are interested in cultural studies. Comparative analysis of four countries allows one to see unspoken implications the show has for local pop culture and society. The article is similar to the one by Centellas because they both focus on the analysis of the show in a different context.
Meizel, K. (2009). Making the dream a reality (show): The celebration of failure in American Idol. Popular Music and Society, 32(4), 475-488.
The article elaborates on the unexpected consequences of the failure for the contestants of American Idol. It appears that defeat in this talent show may pave the way to success as well as the victory. Thus, the author demonstrates the cultural shift in the perception of failure in pop culture. He uses the example of an unlucky Asian American William Hung as evidence to support his claim. Furthermore, he explains the failure of this contestant across several cultural layers. Hereby, this article shows the shift in cultural perception of failure and success. It illustrates that ambition, which is the key element of pursuing the American Dream, is more valuable than winning the contest. Apparently, this article is published in the peer-reviewed journal. In fact, it is a vital source for the understanding of the phenomenon of American Idol. Without it, the comprehension of this reality show would be incomplete. The article is similar to the article by Erin Strecker since both articles discuss failure in American Idol. Furthermore, both authors focus on the personality of William Hung. Nevertheless, Meizel explains how one’s failure in pop culture may become a success in terms of ethnicity, while Strecker simply ridicules the contestants.
Strecker, E. (2015). ‘American Idol’ viral stars: A salute to William Hung, Bikini Girl, ‘Pants on the Ground’ Guy & more. The Hollywood Reporter.
The article lists the auditions that became an important part of American Idol history. The author believes the show is an integral part of pop culture due to its viral instances. Her views are grounded in the fact that American Idol became one of the first shows that people wanted to see online and forward to their friends. Moreover, she sees the cultural legacy of the show in its accessibility to all age categories. Accordingly, American Idol appears to be a family reality show. Moreover, this article is dedicated to the phenomenon of viral videos, and it attempts to explain the reasons for their popularity. It lists the most infamous moments of the show from all fifteen seasons. Apparently, the article originates in an online magazine. The strength of this article is in its interactive format. It provides the readers with the compilation of the top-five memorable auditions by Ian Benardo, Sanjaya Malakar, William Hung, and Katrina Darell. Though the author tries to explain the causes of the failure, her attempts are insufficient. The conclusion of this article would be a list of what not to do in the audition. Nevertheless, the conclusion of a kind is absent. Although Strecker’s article is interesting to read, Meizel’s piece of writing is much better in analyzing one’s failure.
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