The Art of the Audition | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian
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The Art of the Audition

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Who says the glut of channels, media outlets and the good old Interweb are making our society more fragmented? United with millions of my countrymen, I dutifully flip on Fox every Tuesday and Wednesday night and spend an hour (or two) cringing at that ubiquitous Show of Shows, "American Idol." Idol has been talked to death, but one of my favorite analyses of the auditions is the idea that each can be enjoyed as individual pieces of performance art. This observation seems like a stretch, but is masturbating under an art gallery floor any less of a stretch? The interpretation struck me as I watched last week, and begin to watch each segment for its artistic merit. Sure, some of performers have psychological maladies. But others are bona fide artists, as far as I'm concerned. These pieces ranked highest on my list as successful works: Darwin Mischa Reedy, obviously. (The "mother/daughter" pairing reminds me a little of the performance art duo the Chadwicks, Jimbo Blachly and Lytle Shaw.) Taylor Hicks look-alike/NOT gay hairdresser Brenna Kyner (I read her as a comment on the American sense of entitlement.) Not only the “bad" auditions can be classified this way. Appearing in Minneapolis was the army reservist who worked in her dad’s auto shop, had a husband in Iraq and seems headed there herself. Her choice to wear her fatigues shoves the performance past an audition and into the realm of art for me. One could argue the entire audition process is a piece of performance art. Except that this dude was in earnest. I think.
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