Idolized: Music, Media, and Identity in American Idol

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Indiana University Press, 2011 - Performing Arts - 301 pages
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The hit television program American Idol provides a stage where the politics of national, regional, ethnic, and religious identity are performed for millions of viewers. Diversity is carefully highlighted and coached into a viable commodity by judges, argues Katherine Meizel, with contestants packaged into familiar portraits of American identities. Consumer choice, as expressed by audience voting, also shapes the course of the show--negotiating ideas of democracy and opportunity closely associated with the American Dream. Through interviews with audience members and participants, and careful analyses of television broadcasts, commercial recordings, and print and online media, Meizel demonstrates that commercial music and the music industry are not simply forces to be criticized or resisted, but critical sites for redefining American culture.

  

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Contents

No Boundaries
1
American Idol as Reality Television
19
2 Facing the Music
51
Success and Failure and the American Dream
81
Civil and Sacral Religion in American Idol
102
5 Going Places
134
6 Politics as Usual
160
Global Franchise and Geopolitics
192
Crystallized
220
Notes
229
Works Cited
263
Index
293
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Katherine Meizel is Visiting Assistant Professor at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.

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