As the Simon Cowell-powered tank that is American Idol motors up for another season of glorified karaoke this week, proving the franchise just keeps collecting fans, it seemed fitting to pore over the clips from Idol's kinder Canadian cousin, which official Idol label Sony BMG rushed out just before the holiday season. The three DVDs -- one combines the first two seasons into a mega-package, while the most recent seasons have their own individual releases -- are officially subtitled 'Greatest Performances,' but a more accurate tagline would've been Low-Budget Cash Grab.
All three feature the final pair's penultimate sing-off episode (read three tunes apiece, including each singer's version of that season's mawkish first single), with all the commercials edited out, plus expanded interviews (read windy, unedited versions of the banal chatty bits they throw in between songs to sketch in the competitors' personalities). It's a shoddily assembled set offering virtually nothing you didn't see on the show. Where are the bloopers? Backstage footage? Rehearsals? Seeing the Idols tear up T.O.?
Aside from the minimal material, the biggest problem here is that the singers aren't skilled enough to wanna watch without the thrill of battle. The point of reality competitions is that viewers get to experience competitive tension and witness the participants' growth over time, and seeing the weak final faceoffs just doesn't cut it. Mildly interesting: noting Canadian Idol's gradual improvement in production values and the slight upswing in the singers' talent.