American Idol Cellcast
I’ve explained before that there is a certain American Idol “enthusiasm” in my world that, as predicted, has not completely waned with the end of the season.
For non-Idol folks, yesterday was a watershed day. It was the first of fifty concerts by the Idol finalists, this one in Portland.
I get almost all my Idol news second-hand, with very few stops at what I take to be thousands of Idol Web sites, blogs and other media options. But the Idol concerts are such a big thing that I couldn’t resist a truly unique opportunity. Here’s how it works:
One of the best-known Idol sites is Rickey.org, which has had over 22 million visitors since April 2004:
Rickey.org is the essential American Idol and Reality TV fansite — and also the official website of Rickey Yaneza.
What I now know is that among its many resources, Rickey.org features Rickey on live video talking about Idol. But yesterday was more special than that. Rickey arranged with a friend in Portland to broadcast audio of the first concert live from her cell phone. Unfortunately, the cellcast did not include video, though there were people their chatting about what they witnessed, along with photos via Twitter. Rickey also filled in the visuals by commenting, mugging and dancing in his video box.
Around 3,000 people showed up for this cellcast. You might imagine that the audio originating from a cell phone in the audience and mediated by all the stops along the way to our computer might sound pretty bad, but it was worse. Some of us know what these performers sound like, and are familiar with the songs, so we can fill in some of the noise and the blanks. But really, it was almost painful to listen to.
My insight was this. It is the 21st century, which I grew up thinking was going to be super-slick in media and in general. In some ways, this experience did employ some pretty amazing tools along the way. But in total, all these cool tools were being strung together ad hoc in a bizarre chain to produce something that sounded worse than the wax cylinder of Thomas Edison reciting Mary Had a Little Lamb.
This is not the 21st century I signed up for.