By the time this column runs, we'll have a new American Idol, and if you are an actual fan of music, you could probably give a fuck whom the winner is. Reason being is that everyone who actually likes music knows that the show is a terrible forum for plastic pop consumerism, over-singing, and a showcase for the crumbling mental state of Paula Abdul. Instead of lining the pockets of Rupert Murdoch, I bring you two options that are similar to American Idol but are much cooler.


Huge the world over (well, the world not including us), Eurovision pits the best European performers head to head, and the winner is voted upon by fans. In that aspect, it's very much like American Idol, but what isn't like American Idol is the talent that represented Finland in this year's competition—a costumed metal band named Lordi. Not only did Lordi upset the usual Finland contestants (think lots of gay Euro pop and singers that fill the void left by Celine Dion when she fled pop music and went all Vegas), they won the whole damn show. With their, um, "hit" single "Hard Rock Hallelujah," the band—who resembles GWAR, but without the giant squirting papier mâché penis—is thus crowned greatest performing act... the rest of the planet gets a metal band that looks like demonic Orcs, and we get Taylor Hicks. That is not fair.

Google Idol—googleidol.com

Want to watch a couple hot guys from Denmark lip sync and seductively dance to a Backstreet Boys song? Yeah sure, who doesn't? Thankfully you can do just that, and vote for them as well, all thanks to Google Idol. Here you can play the roll of Simon Cowell as you reward/punish acts based on their head-to-head videos. While most videos on Google Idol are terrible in quality—often recorded with poorly lit web cams—they are all universally charming and oddly entertaining in a voyeuristic way. The hilarity of a French kid spazzing out in his bedroom to Drowning Pool's "Bodies" is absolutely priceless, the kind of three-minute video clip that perfectly embodies the wonder and uselessness that is the internet.

Plus the competition on Google Idol is far more tolerant than American Idol, even providing a "Gay" category—one that Clay Aiken could surely win, if he entered that is. Not that he's gay, or alleged to be gay. Nope, no sir, not him.