After he was eliminated on Wednesday's "American Idol," Chris Sligh breathed a sigh of relief. He could finally get back to his three loves: his wife, his band and ... his blog.
As with many people these days, Sligh enjoys chronicling his life in a public online diary (FromMyMindToYourEyes.blogspot.com). He even blogged in detail, using his signature wit, about his experience auditioning for "Idol."
Once he made the Hollywood round, however, producers for the show shut down his blog along with those by the other remaining contestants, including Antonella Barba's MySpace page (see "Antonella Barba: 'I Want To Be Known For Singing, Not In Any Other Way' "). That's been policy since "Idol" launched.
"We don't want anything slipping out," co-executive producer Nigel Lythgoe explained. "If we've got major stars coming on that we want to do a big publicity thing with — 'Hey, Michael Jackson is coming on this week' — then I've got to leave that up to Fox publicity to put it out there, not have it slip out with somebody telling their mom."
A good point, certainly, but Sligh and others aren't sold. "I think it would be an interesting read just to see the day-to-day, what people go through," said Sligh, who started blogging again the day after his elimination (see "Chris Sligh: 'I Actually Almost Dropped Out' "), plugging his band Half Past Forever's just-released album. ("If you liked me on the show, you will absolutely love this album. No rhythm problems here," he wrote, referring to criticism of his swan song.)
"We work seven days a week, 10 to 15 hours a day, and not all of that is stuff that America doesn't need to know about [or] that's going to take away from the show," he continued. "So I wish they would allow us to blog."
DJSlim, author of IdolBlogLive.com, noted that "Rock Star: Supernova" posted written and video blogs from the contestants on the show's site. "It really helped to get to know the individual singers," he said. "Blogging is huge right now, and 'Idol' needs to see that and take advantage of it. ... Who cares if we find out any of the show's secrets?"
Leslie Hunt, a season-six semifinalist, believes there's more to the no-blogging rule than keeping show secrets, and it's actually for the benefit of the singers.
"To tell you the truth, they actually really discourage you from being online at all because of what it can do for your self-esteem and for your performance," she explained. "I guess in past seasons people literally read a really, really negative comment about them online and then walked onto the stage a second later. Sometimes when you're in the spotlight, it's just a good idea to turn a blind eye, to keep things in perspective."
"I just think you need to be focused," fellow semifinalist Alaina Alexander agreed. "And when you're worrying about blogging and this and that — even though, yes, it's cool to share your experience — I understand the point where they really just want us to focus on this experience, because it's only going to happen once. So it's better to just keep more grounded and not worried about getting everything else out there until the time comes to share it."
Chris Daughtry, the breakout star of season five, records video blogs now but never had a desire to chronicle his "Idol" experience. "I think that people saw basically what went on on the show," he said. "It's a lot of sitting around and waiting and it's kinda boring, actually, when you're not on that stage. So there's really not much to write about."
Well, we'll soon see about that. Now that he's back online, Sligh said he plans to release a backlog of entries he wrote throughout his six weeks of performing.
"Obviously, they have some things that they don't want me to talk about, but it will be very, very cool," he promised.