I've never been a fan of American Idol. It always seemed like an ultra-glorified version of college a cappella to me. But then, perhaps I'm biased. I went to a small liberal arts school in New England, where it was practically impossible to walk across campus without being aurally assaulted by an all-vocal version of "Karma Chameleon". The show just raises so many questions: Why don’t the contestants get to sing original work? Why must they be under 30 years old? Why is Simon Cowell's chest so horrifyingly tan?
And now, why has Edy's/Dryer's created a line of American Idol ice creams?
The ice creams are part of contest. Vote for a flavor—Cookies 'n' Dreams, Cheesecake Diva, Mint Karaoke Cookie, Most Orange-inal, or One Split Wonder—and enter to win the grand prize: a trip for four to the American Idol finale in Los Angeles. (The same sweepstakes was run last year, and the winning flavor was the aptly named Take the Cake.)
Each flavor has its own song sung in its own style by one of two former Idol contestants, Chris Richardson and Melinda Doolittle. They range from disco to country to hip hop to, my personal favorite, R&B:
I was sad and lonely, scared
Opened the freezer
And guess who was there?
I held on to your carton as if you were mine
Cheesecake Diva, you’re delicious
And totally fine
As I clicked through the Edy's website, which includes interviews with the past Idols (Edy's: Who would you share a bowl of ice cream with? Richardson: Halle Berry), I couldn't help but feel that this was a perfect example of what I dislike so much about American Idol. These people dream desperately of becoming famous musical artists, yet here they are singing jingles about banana splits. The show exploits their talent for the purposes of marketing and commercial gain. In the end, it isn't so much about who is going to be the next great pop star as it is about who is going to be the next great spokesperson.
I ask you: whatever happened to plain old screaming for ice cream?
About the author: Lucy Baker is a graduate student in the writing program at Sarah Lawrence College. Before returning to school to pursue an MFA, she was an assistant cookbook editor at HarperCollins. She lives in Brooklyn and is currently obsessed with all things fennel.