Tuesday night’s American Idol will feature the finalists performing the music of Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber. I really do not have a problem with this per se. However, I do recall on several occassions when the judges have commented that a contestants performance is better suited for the Broadway stage and not what would make a good money-making pop star. To me, the finalists should be well versed in multiple genres of music. Why should they appeal to only screaming, teenage fans? There are other outlets for people with some degree of musical talent.
There have actually been attempts to integrate musical theatre songs into the realm of “popular” culture. In the late 70s, the soundtrack from the movie Grease generated several songs which were popular hits. In the late 90s, the British boy band Boyzone had a modest US hit with the song “No Matter What” from Webber’s Whistle Down the Wind.
Recently, former American Idol contestants have also gone on to appear on the musical stage. Third season champion Fantasia Barrino was cast as Celie in The Color Purple. In January 2008, second season runner-up Clay Aiken joined the cast of Spamalot as Sir Robin.
While the music of the theatrical stage may not appeal to everyone, it will be very interesting to see the American Idol contestants takes on the songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber. They may introduce audiences who would otherwise steer clear from the genre or one of them may become tomorrow’s Broadway star.