'American Idol' on Serious Eats

American Idol Anoop Desai's 60-Page College Honor's Thesis on Barbecue

I'm not really watching American Idol this season because the last thing I need is another umpteen hours of television a week, but if I were watching, I'd be pulling for Anoop Desai. I mean, how can you not love a contestant who wrote a 60-page college honors thesis about barbecue? Sixty pages! Wow. Desai wrote the paper as an undergrad at the University of North Carolina, a state that knows a thing or two about 'cue. The table of contents is listed below, but you can download and read the whole thing from anoopdog.com [pdf]. Desai is now a grad student at UNC, but this University of Kansas grad and KC barbecue partisan won't hold that against him. Table... More

Happy Meal Toys Not Making Rock Band Devo Happy

"I make little kids happy and big kids mad." -New Wave Nigel The iconic "energy dome" made famous by New Wave band Devo in its "Whip It" music video and various stage performances is a look you want to steal so badly, but take lessons from McDonald's—don't. As part of an American Idol–themed line of Happy Meal toys, McDonald's introduced New Wave Nigel. He may look so 1980s mod in his orange jumpsuit, fuchsia shades, and energy dome, but this Devo-ian imitation is not flattering the band, which is now suing the the chain. "Plus, we don't like McDonald's," bassist Gerald Casale told Australian Associated Press. Casale designed the upside-down flower-pot hat, which is both copyrighted and trademarked. Watch... More

Ice Cream Idol

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?... More

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