The lowbrow appeal of American Idol, at least in the early weeks, is in watching the hopelessly inept singers. I find it impossible to get through more than about 10 minutes of the show without using the word "delusional".
And that's fine, until you realize that you're laughing at three kinds of people. There are the ones that aren't nearly as good as their parents and spouses have told them, and they just need a reality check. There are ones who know they are bad but willingly humiliate themselves for 15 seconds of airtime, and that's just sad.
And then there are the ones who are absolutely convinced that they are great singers. Even after hearing from the judges, or hearing themselves back on tape, they remain convinced. They are the ones who leave the audition screaming and yelling. Clearly, the judges are idiots, the show is rigged, the music industry won't take risks... their denial is astonishingly deep and robust. These same people often also tell the camera how attractive they are, how snappily they dress, and how well they dance ... contrary to all the evidence on display.
This is hilarious... until you stop to realize that these people are delusional in a clinical sense. They are so out of touch with reality, it is harming their everyday lives. Some of them are practically stalking the peripatetic auditions. The rest of their lives are on hold waiting for a break that will never, ever happen for them.
And I can't help wondering: when did other people's mental illness become a fit subject for public ridicule and primetime amusement?