How singing competitions are a lot like horror movies

Like many Montrealers, I take Halloween seriously. It’s not just an excuse to get dressed up; it’s an opportunity to express that latent part of your personality. Ah yes, and get sloshed with a few of your favourite friends. In due form, I spent one evening preparing my costume with my buddy G, who, incidentally, is a horror movie filmmaker. To entertain us as we worked on our Halloween creations, G asked me to pick something to watch from his extensive slasher collection. His eye lit up when I brought out Night of the Demons.

Before judging us, you have to appreciate that I selected it only because it’s so much worse than you think. From Linnea Quigley‘s b-movie training to that disembodied demon head, whose superimposed appearances are clearly being played on a loop. But then there are classic moments: the “lipstick-nipple,” Angela’s grotesque transformation from human to second-hand demon to lead monster, and the razorblade apple pie. True to the genre, those clueless teenagers get viciously massacred one by one, until nobody is left but the Vestian blonde. At least, that’s how I remembered it.

It wasn’t until I saw it again that I realized none of the characters actually die. Except for the two survivors, Angela and gang are merely turned into demons, whether by attempted murder or serious injury (one guy gets his arm chopped off; don’t know how that makes a demon, but that’s for another blog post). Naturally, one of the characters who gets away is poor, virginal, I-just-wanna-cuddle Helen, played by flaxen-haired Allison Barron. The brunettes, sexual deviants, and brown-haired sexual deviants all get it in the end, if not at first.

Today, there was some back-and-forth between Adam Lambert and Out magazine’s editorial staff over the singer’s “handlers” asking the publication to make sure their client didn’t appear too “gay” in their cover story about him. This all reminded me that big gay Glambert only ranked runner-up to squeaky-clean Kris Allen (so immaculate, in fact, that he married his junior high school sweetheart when he was just 23). Will Kris Allen sell more records than Adam Lambert? Of course not. His role will be that of American Idol victor, not successful recording artist. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t like Krissypooh! But this is a publicity contest, and Adam Lambert doesn’t need a dull press release to make headlines.

In much the same vein, who did they bring back for the Night of the Demons sequels? That’s right: Angela.

It’s a bit like the Quebec referendum, isn’t it? Quebecers say they want something fresh and revolutionary, but when push comes to shove, the devil you know always wins. On a day-to-day basis, many francophone Quebecers still want that sexy, dirty, dreamy sovereignty, so long as they don’t have to vote for it.

What’s getting tiresome for me is the long, overdrawn process of attrition. In a slasher flick, this describes when (sexually active) characters drop like flies at the hands of a masked murderer/monster. In singing competitions like American Idol and X Factor, it describes those painful weekly eliminations that ultimately betray the audience’s hypocrisy.

Often, the chasm that divides who should have won and who actually won is wide and deep. Why don’t we just own up to our  desires and vote for the Adam Lamberts and Rhydian Robertses of the world? Who cares if they’re gay or worship David Caruso. Shouldn’t our loyalties lie with the people who interest us most? This isn’t like separating a country; it’s about performance! I don’t remember a single thing that Kris Allen sang, but I recall specific Glambert hairdos. And most people agree the latter was the better singer.

Do we really need more disappointing post-competition careers from our safe choices? Let’s have some fun! Let’s give ourselves what we want!

Does this mean that Jedward are growing on me? Goodness no! They’re really terrible. But like Angela, no matter what happens to them, they’ll come back. The good news is, they’re both blonde, and they’re very likely virgins.

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