Friday, April 16, 2010

Tension, or why American Idol sucks this season

American Idol, so boring right now. And it's not, as some are saying, because the participants can't sing, because they can, go back a few seasons and listen to the top ten. These guys aren't awful by any stretch, but sadly, they are consistent.
Crystal is always going to be great, Lee probably too, Siobhan is going to scream at some point, and Casey will sound generic, but in tune.

No surprise from week to week, and no tension what so ever.

To me tension is the glue that holds any book together. Tension is created by not letting the reader know what is about to happen, but they know that it is of crucual importance to the POV character, and when it does happen, everything will change.

It involves everything - emotions, pacing, plotting, these are all the groundwork of creating tension. And when it's missing, that's when things get seriously ho hum.

There has been a serious lack of tension in the romances I've read recently. Sexual tension can only take you so far, and when added to a predictable plot, well, it's gets a little dull.

But there should be a new Sherry Thomas book released soon, which is great, and a couple of more books are getting serious buzz and I just cracked the spine on Eileen's book, so I'm excited to read that.

And, Tru Blood is coming back soon.

Summer should be good.


Karen W said...

Sinead, I agree that there isn't any tension in AI this season. That said - what would give it tension? I mean, we still don't know who's going to win, right?

For me, AI never gets actually tense until the final showdown of the top two - or maybe even the top three.

If you are a big fan of tension, pick up any book by Lisa Gardner. SAY GOODBYE, THE NEIGHBOR, OR THE SURVIVORS CLUB all come to mind, but any of her books will do. Talk about page turning. OMG!

Off to see what Sherry Thomas writes....

Stephanie Doyle said...

Sinead - I agree, but if we think back to seasons I don't know if there was tension then either. You knew it was either Cook or Archuletta. You knew it was Lambert - and whoever else the rest of America picked.

But I do agree that tension is key. Thomas is a good example of that. She really gives you a sense of "Are they going to get together?" At least with PA for me.

And who else do you know buzzing... I love the buzz books.

Maureen McGowan said...

Yes, what this season is missing is the unexpected. I do think they are all really good singers. You're so right that when you think back to previous seasons there were more people off key or looking seriously awkward. I still remember Ruben Studdart (the first season I watched) pulling at the fabric of his pants as he sang -- so awkward, so uncomfortable. Sure, he has a nice voice, but still not a performer.

This season, there's nothing that overtly painful, but I've yet to have seen any performance that makes me want to play it again. Last season I actually bought 3 performances on i-tunes (true confession time). Lambert's Ring of Fire and Mad World and Kris Allen's Heartless. Those three performances made me gasp and want to play them over and over.

I think the tension in the great seasons came from wondering what the interesting people would sing next, or how badly the truly in-over-their-heads people would blow it. This year, they're all competent... But making strange choices. I love bagpipes as much as the next girl (LOL) but really, Lee? Really? And if you're going to have a didgeridoo, hire a musician who knows how to play it. I'm sure that wasn't Crystal's fault, but that guy had no idea how to play that thing.

Molly O'Keefe said...

Oh I totally agree but for me AI is never about who is going to win it - it's about the performances. It's about what are they going to do - and that tension is only made better when someone is truly truly gifted - like Cook or Lambert. I felt like I was in good hands so they could take strange little side trips and I looked forward to that - reversing expectations I guess. No one this season is reversing expectations and I'm so not caring. Which is good, because I need to write.

I find with alot of romance novels right now, they've got the impending doom thing going - so, lot's of balls in the air that we know is going to make the black moment bad - so the characters are bonding and having sex and there's this tension, this little tremor of discomfort. And that's great and all - but I want more. I want really high stakes - I want to hope that the hero and heroine DON'T bond.

buzz books? Sinead is in a heavy duty YA period...and she loaned me Maureen's copy of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, (nice of her no?)

I think I've gushed enough over Don'T Kill The Messenger...

Sinead M said...

Yep, for me the buzz is all about YA, because when YA is great it has amazing pacing and really out of the box storytelling.

I loved most of The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr was pretty entertaining.

Sinead M said...

Oh, and thanks for the recommendation, Karen. I really enjoyed her first single title (The perfect husband?) but then have to admit by being really disappinted by Alone and never picking up another of her books.

I need to find those and read them.

Karen W said...

Ah, last year I did download the two Adam Lambert songs and the Kris Allen song. This year, the only one I've downloaded was Kasey James "Jealous Guy". However, the studio version was so homogenized, it bore little resemblance to the live performance, so I was disappointed.

Survivor's Club is my fav, Sinead.

Oh, and thanks whoever (can't remember) recommended The Bronze Horseman. My copy arrived last week and it's on my massive TBR pile!

Stephanie Doyle said...

I bought Lambert's Mad World and Tears of the Clown - but was disappointed when the studio version didn't match what he did live.

I have 3 of Cook's songs from this Idol days.

I have 0 songs from this season.

You're right. This season sucks.

I might have bought Sihbon(spelling I know but I don't feel like looking it up) - but decided not to.

She's been disappointing me lately. And Tim Urban who I HATED has suddenly come on in the last two weeks.

The only thing interesting to me this season has been watching Lee come out of his shell. Going from paint shop clerk to star - but he needs to take it further.

And I can't believe I'm jotting down all these books when my TBR is sick right now... but that's what we do right?

Maureen McGowan said...

Steph, I agree about the studio versions. I actually bought the live versions as well as the studio version of Mad World when I realized. LOL. Video and all. But when it comes up on itunes the video just plays in the background on my laptop.

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