Would guys like Bing, Frank, and Perry have fared well on todays' American Idol?

Something tells me they would have advanced pretty far but would not have made the final 4. I am a big fan of these guys, but I don’t know if they could have pulled off a “dynamic stage presence”, or have showed enough “flexibility” to make it deep into the contest.
Looking at their carreers;
Bing had 383 songs in the top 30 and 41 #1 hits.
Perry had 121 and 13 respectively.
Frank had 130 top 30’s and 6 #1’s.

Frank may have had the looks and the presence to get to the top but may have lacked the flexibility, Bing has shown he can speed things up a little, but he didn’t really have the looks. Perry is probably in Frank’s camp, but I’ll admit that I never really saw him perform as much as Bing and Frank. Bing was also in movies, but I think that he got there riding his huge popularity in the music industry (if he didn’t have a great voice we would have never seen him on TV).
–Assuming a couple of things; they were already as polished as we knew them to be and they were not famous (they came out of nowhere like the rest of the contestants);

Do you think these guys would have had what it takes?

If the audience were the same as in their era, then yes. Todays audience? No.

Todays audience, just to clear that up.

I wonder that a lot about guys.

We were watching “The Last Waltz” last night, and my wife asked my if I thought Van Morrison would have won it.

I’ve often wondered if a guy like Axl Rose could have made it as far Daughtry or Bice.

I think it’s impossible to say. Before seeing Hicks make it so far, I would have said “no” on Van. But, he’s able to do a lot of different forms. He’s got soul and pop sensibilities. He can really mix his voice up, make a song his own, all the stuff that you need to do to win week after week.

As bad as it is to have to say it, I believe today’s audience would reject all three of those old guys before the final 4. Frank would last longest because he had that animal magnetism that breaks an audience’s will. What would break Frank would be his taste: he wouldn’t sing some of the shit that passes for music these days.

The last big performer who could make it to the top would be Elvis. We’re still in his shadow. He took the shadow away from Frank.

If the producers were really into music of today, Ray Charles would be the standard, but that will never happen in mayonnaise country.

I would think folks like Jackie Wilson, Little Richard and Chuck Berry would have a much better chance today than your three candidates. Bing was a crooner, Frank was mostly a balladeer and jazz singer, and Como was somnambulent.


Why? He sang the shit that passed for music back in those days.

You do have a point in that Frank did record some schlock of the day. There are quite a few doggies from the Novelty Song era that are trash in any timeframe. He also recorded some less-than-stellar material from the 60’s and 70’s, including the dreadful Something Stupid with daughter Nancy. I never cared for Strangers in the Night nor the other attempts he made in his twilight years to get back on the charts. About the only thing he did of any value (for my tastes) in that period was the collaboration with Antonio Carlos Jobim and things like The Summer Wind.

Later on, when he returned to the material that had made him famous (the Great American Songbook of Porter, Gershwin, Mercer, Kahn, Kern, and the real craftsmen of popular song) and had the backup of topnotch bands in his tours and TV specials, the crummy years were tossed aside and he became the Frank of old who wouldn’t stoop to doing the third-rate trash of the later decades.

Music of today suffers (for geezers like me) from no melody and no class. Frank was a master at delivering songs of that category. American Idol wouldn’t be interested.

Fascinating question!

I think the short answer is “no.” While the young Bing Crosby performed with more energy (he adopted crooning when he realized it sounded better on primitive radio), he and Como never performed with what passes for today’s “showmanship.” Sinatra would do better, but his voice (even young Sinatra) would be judged too ragged.

I also wonder how some of the top women singers would fare? Rosemary Clooney, the big-band version of Doris Day, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald.

For that matter, what about the 1964 Beatles?

Wrong.Franks voice whern he was young was smooooooth. Listen to the real old stuff and be amazed. Smoking ,drinking and age diminished his talent to just better than anyone else. He would have won in a walk. Several guys have tried to sing like him,including that horrible red headed kid last year. Dylan might have had trouble.

Frank would have had Simon killed.

I think he would have had his knees broken, then his house burned down. That’s probably more satisfying.

Oooh, and stolen his girl, too!

If you mean Bob Dylan, then that goes without saying.

The Beatles… well, if they were identical to how they each were in 1964 but without them ever being the Beatles, I think it would go like this (keep in mind that I don’t watch AmIdol, so my assumptions could be off):
John: I don’t know if he would have done well. He was a good enough singer, but not enough to be a star on his own with.
Paul: He might have done very well. He had a voice that works well for pop, and the girls liked him.
George: I don’t think he would have done well. His singing improved later on, but he wasn’t much good with it earlier.
Ringo: He definitely had the personality to be well liked by the audience, but I don’t know if the judges would let him go far because his singing was average at best.

I don’t watch American Idol, probably because guys like this would be discounted (not a big Como fan, but he did some all right stuff). I don’t think anyone who has won could touch a yong Frank who was/is quite simply one of the best singers of the last century (and who helped redefine popular music for that matter).

To me idol is more about vocal pyrotechnics and flash rather than substance. More specifically it seems to be about a very specific type of style, singing and presence which doesn’t interest me.

It also seems to be about ridicule, in which I am even less interested.

Of the three, Frank would be the most likely to be able to carry the show because he was very adaptable, charismatic, and powerful (when he wanted to be) vocally.
Someone brought up the Beatles and of them, Paul would be the most likely to do well, which says more about AI than it does about the Beatles (who were definitely greater than the sum of their parts).

And, of those three, I feel that Jackie Wilson would have had the best chance of the three. Berry’s style is not one that seems to have appeal with the viewers of that program, and Little Richard would probably have the same issues about crashing and burning there as he has had elsewhere.

American Idol is all about having a wide-ranging, powerful voice. That’s it. Interpretation, songwriting, and all that are just not on the list of skills that matter. Mariah Carey would do great - Bonnie Raitt, not so much.

Of pop singers, I can think of a few who would have done well:

Michael Bolton
Burton Cummings
Freddie Mercury
Sammy Hagar

And others of their ilk. Singers like Sinatra were all about nuance, phrasing, and timing, and this just doesn’t come across in this format, where they don’t even sing complete songs. And of course, other forms of talent like the ability to play an instrument well or songwriting skills matter not one bit.

That’s what bugs me the most about American Idol. The type of skill that they portray as important is actually common. There are zillions of people who can sing well. That doesn’t make them artists. I wish American Idol had portions of the competition where the contestants had to showcase songs they wrote, and play instruments, and then be judged on overall talent (i.e. a great songwriter doesn’t have to be a great singer. A great singer/songwriter doesn’t have to be a wonder on the guitar, etc).

If they did that, then people like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Neko Case and the Beatles and Paul Simon would be the prototypes - not Mariah Carey and Backstreet Boy clones.

John would not pass the audition (heh), but his confession booth tirade would be TV gold. “I don’t b---- care what that Simon feller thinks; I’m going to the toppermost of the b---- poppermost, and you can b---- well believe it, you sweater-wearing poofter…[takes drag of cigarette and tosses it on ground] B----- kiss my ----. — -----!”

Paul would get a yes from all three judges, and Paula would swoon. He would get to the semis, but at some point, either in the semis or halfway through the finals, be the “WTF?!” guy that no one can believe gets voted off.

George would not pass the audition, and it would probably not be broadcast.

Ringo would be one of those people with a heartwrenching backstory. He was soooo sickly as a child! And his doting mother bought him a drumset! He can barely read or write! But he’s so charming: those rings and those blue eyes and big nose! He would get as far as the Green Mile, then be told, “I’m sorry, it’s a no,” and smilingly wipe away tears outside the building while Ryan patted his shoulder.

Keep in mind: it’s POP. It trades in common coin, or it doesn’t trade at all. Simon is the stand-in for the uneducated listener - the “customer who’s always right” who demands to be entertained in the accepted fashion, and will give you hell if he doesn’t get his way.

You could argue that singer-songwriters don’t transition well to television, but I think the heart of the matter is that subtlety doesn’t transition well. Especially not in a competition. And AI is first and foremost about competition.