Idolized: Music, Media, and Identity in American Idol

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Overview

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.

Indiana University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Chris McDonald
"An engaging analysis of one of the most important developments of the past decade for popular music on television." —Chris McDonald, author of Rush, Rock Music, and the Middle Class
Matt Stahl
"Meizel’s ambitious book is a model of clarity and seriousness in its treatment of American Idol, American identity, the American mood in the early 21st century." —Matt Stahl, University of Western Ontario
From the Publisher
"An engaging analysis of one of the most important developments of the past decade for popular music on television." —Chris McDonald, author of Rush, Rock Music, and the Middle Class—Chris McDonald, author of Rush, Rock Music, and the Middle Class
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253222718
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 2/15/2011
  • Series: Ethnomusicology Multimedia Series
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

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

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: No Boundaries
1. Facing Reality: American Idol as Reality Television
2. Facing the Music
3. Win or Lose: Success and Failure and the American Dream
4. Idol Worship: Civil and Sacral Religion in American Idol
5. Going Places
6. Politics as Usual
7. The United Nations of Pop: Global Franchise and Geopolitics
Epilogue: Crystallized

Notes
Works Cited
Index

Indiana University Press

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