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Friday, 8 April 2011

Iggy Pop - American Idol

Of course he's an American idol. He's Iggy Pop, but c'mon.
We can forgive much. Butter ads from the punk glitterati, insurance ads from Mr Pop himself, but is this a step too far?
As self promotion goes an appearance on a show like this can push record sales for someone with a new album out, or even revitalize the career of a pop star of yesteryear whose popularity is slipping, but what would Iggy get out of it?
He's not got an album to sell, and even with his legendary status he is, and always will be, an outsider to the mainstream.
There's nothing wrong with the performance as it's Iggy by numbers.
It's just that while I would personally love everyone to get into Iggy, and through him The Stooges, I don't think this show is really the vehicle for that.
Even the addition of Tyler as a very obvious lure to the rockier demographic is pathetically staged.
I'm all for self expression and even giving the run of the mill drones a bloody nose with a punktastic performance that catches them out from leftfield, but I'm not feeling it here. This doesn't comes across as subversive or even as a tongue in cheek fuck you performance.
It's confused me why the fuck he would want to do it.


  1. Well, look, Iggy spent DECADES without reaping either [his well deserved] recognition or paycheques, so I'm not really able to begrudge him his dues now -- even if belated and misplaced. Also, not to put too fine a point on it, but 'American Idol' has quite a reach, stateside, deservedly so or not, and, as such, it's almost a dead cert that his appearance on the show resulted in him [and his music] reaching at least a handful of kids who might not otherwise have much of an opportunity to connect with The Great Man. To illustrate, you need only to hold up Bowie's 1972 performance of 'Starman' on TOTP or the NY Dolls' 1973 Old Grey Whistling Kettle performance, each of which successfully managed to seriously kickstart a lifelong passion in bored kids who had absolutely no interest in the then-current field of poptastic doings... kids who went on to stir up the nucleus of Britain's Class of 76. I distinctly remember that Saturday evening in 1980 when I saw the Ramones on the Sha-Na-Na tv show -- a dodgy vehicle, but a moment which, in those pre-youtube days -- absolutely knocked the younger Me for six.

  2. I wouldn't begrudge a penny that Iggy makes and I don't have a single problem with him doing ads for television and such, but I don't see him picking up many new converts through this performance. These types of shows attracts a certain audience, one that I don't see keying into Iggy.
    I take your point about Bowie on TOTP/NY Dolls on OGWT, but that was a different era. TOTPs hade a huge audience abd reflected what people were buying at the time. OGWT was a show aimed at music fans. American Idol seems rooted in a shallow money spinning approach music and this is why I had a WTF moment.

  3. Fair play, really, but from where I'm sat, the shallow money-spinning approach to music ALSO encompasses performing almost exclusively at huge, costly outdoor music festivals and trotting out nothing but endless re-hashings of material that's 40+ years old. I think the real American Idol WTF Moment was that insipidly generic excuse of a back-up band that Iggy had behind him.

    Incidentally, as far as picking up new and younger listeners goes, it might be worth noting that the reformed Stooges have played -- and are scheduled to play -- WAY more gigs overseas than stateside. I get your point, though, and I do recognise all that IS correct about it, but as far as live exposure goes, Iggy [and/or The Stooges] just don't get anywhere near the live exposure stateside as they do in other countries.

    Then again, I thought the Bay City Rollers were gonna be the next Beatles, so I'm not always right!

  4. hey- i'd rather iggy make some $$$ and freak out amerikkka on tv than some pop star

  5. Do you really think he freaked out anyone with that performance?
    I just don't see how this slot on American Idol will have helped him pick up new listeners.
    There will of course be some, but it's a balance thing.
    Ultimately I consider he has sort of devalued himself doing this, more so than any ad campaign for an insurance company.

  6. I can't think of any rocker who's lasted as long as Iggy has done, without taking the occasional shit upon their own legacy. I'm able to forgive Iggy a lot more than I'm able to forgive, say, Mick Jagger.

    Do I think that he freaked anyone out with that performance? No, course not, and nor do I buy into the argument that it was in some way subversive. But I quite like the fact that someone in their 60s was able to prove on national tv that they could completely kick performers a quarter of their age across the floorboards and back.

  7. AI has got millions of middle american "head in the sand viewers". if one (one!) kid out their among the great unwashed had the lightning bolt hit em and said"wow- there's somethin' out there to check out", then the Igster has done well.

  8. We've all had our road to Damascus moments. Bowie and NY Dolls as mentioned above. As a fan off Iggy Pop myself I still feel that fell well short of a performance that would have ignited anyones interests on a show that few people who would appreciate Iggy would have watched.