‘Pants on the Ground’ Ratings Hoax, by Ashley Quarles

Courtesy of FoxIn recent years, reality television has become a cultural phenomenon. One of the biggest of those shows is American Idol. It is a show that allows the audience to pick their favorite performer and then vote desperately to get the given contestant through to the next round. However, one of the most popular parts of the show is before the audience is even allowed to vote: the first audition in front of the judges. It is during this time that the tone deaf are shown. For anyone who has been living under a rock for the last decade and hasn’t seen the show, this part actually makes me feel embarrassed for the contestants. Now in its ninth season, the show recently featured a man, General Jerry Platt, singing his original song “Pants on the Ground”. Soon after its airing, the song became a viral sensation, but this audition also brings up questions as to how real this reality show is.

Although the audition in front of the judges is the first part of the process the audience is shown, the process actually begins way before this. First, everyone fills out forms and has to sing for a screener. The select few that make it past this step then go on to audition in front of the producers. The producers then decide who gets the audition in front of the judges we watch on TV, and that’s if they even get to see the judges. One guy said he made it all the way to this step only to sing to a camera in front of the American Idol screen and the judges’ reactions would be added in later. With all of these steps to go through, one would think that the ones that made it to the judges would be amazing, or at least meet the requirements to be on the show. Yet Platt managed to make it all of the way to the judges even though he was 62 at the time and show only allows contestants from the age of 16 to 28. It seems to me that he should have been turned away at step one. It is clear from all of this that at least the beginning of each American Idol season is mostly a big ratings hoax. It makes me wonder how much of the show is real. However, I, along with many other Americans, know this and continue to tune in year after year.


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