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Elimination Night
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 30, 2012
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
If you are a fan of shows like American Idol and wondered how it all comes together, here's a book for you! It's an anonymously written behind the scenes tale of Sasha, who herds judges and contestants, describes the crazy contracts and egos, and tries to make a living out of all that, all the while dreaming about writing the great American novel with her (now stoned) boyfriend in Hawaii. It's a pretty entertaining story, and the veiled identities are not too obscure--sounded a lot like Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler recently. Ryan aka Wayne in this story was kinda over the top--puppy stew?--but I could see most of his ego taking it all in. What I missed was a little more on the contestants--they were almost thrown in as afterthoughts. Was Little Nub supposed to be Scotty McCreary? It was like a compilation of a bunch of contestants, none of which I related to or really cared about. Maybe that was the point, that it's not really about contestants at all? Dunno. Sasha works hard, forms relationships, and comes to some realizations about the work she is doing, wrapped up neatly at the end. Definitely a fun read, like eating the marshmallows on top of hot cocoa, kind of fun--they are good, a nice treat, then it's over, and you move on.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I've only watched one season of American Idol, but it was enough to thoroughly enjoy this book. I happen to know a singer who auditioned for the show and had to sign an contract that said that no matter what the vote count by the audience, the producers have the last say. To say that the show is rigged for ratings, is an understatement.

While reading Elimination Night was a hoot, I found it difficult to connect with the main character, Sasha(Bill)King. It took almost a hundred pages to decide that I even wanted to finish the book. I loved the backstage antics of the judges, so I kept reading. Joey Lovecraft(Steven Tyler) was especially touching and wise in a ridiculous way. Joey's honesty shined like a beacon in the darkness of the giant egos that put on the show Icon. Joey knew what the game was, yet played it his way, making the show not just about making money, but helping out other singers.

Bibi(Jennifer Lopez), the star judge, was a woman so insecure about herself that she had to have people to do everything for her, including telling her if a contestant was any good or not. How come the more power a woman has, the less she relies on herself? Or so it would seem with the celebrities we read about in the tabloids. Who hasn't heard of Rhianna getting beat up by Chris Brown, and then there's Brittany, who dates bad boys as a way of life. Back the book . . .

The host of the show, Wayne(Ryan Seacrest) is a psychopath, is such a hollow, despicable character, that it's a wonder anyone can work with him. Wayne is the one character that I found hard to believe in this book. Can Ryan really be that bad? I won't give away his most horrendous act, but it's enough to make you lose your breakfast . . . for a week at least.

Seeing the overflowing emotion of the young contestants on the real Idol, it's not hard to imagine the producers of the show wanting to ramp things up for ratings. These kids totally break down when they leave the audition and meet up again with their friends and family. To read a book that tells us how some of this emotion is achieved, makes me not ever watch the show again. And in fact, I wonder if this book will make the ratings go up or down for Idol. Probably up considering our insatiable appetite for watching other people's misery.

Elimination Night rings true to life. It's like reading a 300 page Instyle magazine article. Fun, but not too filling.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2012
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As an aficionado of reality television, in all its silly manifestations, I have often wondered how the shows really work. What is real and what is scripted. How the contestants are chosen. What the crew really does. This funny and frank novel lets the reader in on what goes on behind the scenes during the troubled thirteenth season of a classic American competitive reality show.

Our heroine, Sasha, has taken a job as an assistant producer on "Project Icon." "Project Icon" is a singing competition which has a panel of three celebrity judges, cattle-call contestant rounds, a sleazy, well-groomed host and which eliminates final contestants by means of viewer call-in results -- sound familiar? Sasha's job as an assistant producer turns out to be a glorified low-level "go-fer" who isn't even important enough to be called by her correct name. (Everyone calls her "Bill," for perfectly legitimate reasons.) What Sasha really wants out of life is to write the "American Novel of Immense Profundity" (she has the first three sentences), and save up enough money to join her boyfriend on the beaches of Hawaii. What she gets is a manic year of dealing with the absurdity of the mammoth egos and power plays of studio bosses, horrid gossip columnists, the judges (one of whom is a paranoid movie star and another who is a aging rock legend), and a myriad of weird contestants looking for fame and fortune.

The book is not just fluff. The characters ring true. For instance, the rock legend, Joey, grows through the book from a cartoonish stereotype to a person who is relatable. The author shows his gumption at clawing his way to the top, and his determination to stay relevant. Joey isn't just sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll -- he is an aging star who craves adulation and admits to his many mistakes. The relationship which develops between Sasha and Joey is quite touching (it's not sexual.)

I loved this book. It's fun and funny. I have always wondered why there aren't more books written about the reality television experience - from all perspectives. One chapter in this book goes into the lengthy and weighty legal contracts everyone (from the judges to the employees to the contestants) signs, which might have something to do with why reality shows are steeped in so much mystery. One has to practically sign in blood to participate on any level. That also may be why this novel is written by Anonymous. But this anonymous author seems to know his/her stuff, and everything written here, (and there is some really outlandish stuff) rings true. If you have ever wondered if there is any "real" in reality television, here's your chance to find out.

Recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
With the proliferation of ridiculous TV reality shows, an industry of the absurd and unbelievable has been created. And the American public seems to have a voracious appetite for the next big thing as any semblance of truthfulness has been eroded for the sake of manufactured drama. As someone who loves much of reality television, I can (at least) admit that it generally appeals to my baser instincts. "American Idol" is the clear (I would say thinly veiled, but there's no veil at all) target of the new satiric novel "Elimination Night." Penned by Anonymous, I was really looking forward to an insightful and hilarious skewering of one of TV's biggest institutions. Instead of laughing along with the novel, though, I found sections of it downright painful. There is a difference between satire and maliciousness, and the book is so spot-on in its depictions as to be somewhat uncomfortable to read.

Ostensibly, the story is about a young TV producer who accidentally finds herself in the mayhem of an "American Idol" like program. A monumental shake up has just occurred within the program as the biggest judge has left for his own show, creating a void that must be filled by a new panel. Sound familiar? With a cast of characters that represent personalities such as Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, and Ryan Seacrest (among others), "Elimination Night" doesn't try to employ cleverness to tell its tale. The plot, such as it is, revolves around one season of the show from the selection of the new judges through the finale night. The central character is simply a stand-in to report on the craziness and nastiness and double standards associated with this type of programming. Her narrative arc is secondary to the book's main purpose. As far as I could tell, the primary intent was to shower vitriol on all the characters and their real life counterparts by association.

That's my problem with "Elimination Night." It's too transparent. It doesn't create characters or story lines as a good book should. It simply mocks real people and situations. If you are familiar with the truths and rumors about Lopez, Tyler, Seacrest, Cowell and the rest, the author takes every opportunity to tweak actual events to his or her unpleasant end. I know it may sound like I hated "Elimination Night" but, in truth, I didn't. I read it with a sick fascination, a strange sense of unease. I'm certainly not saying that the novel represents what actually happened, but it certainly plays to every tale you've heard about these people during this time frame. Maybe it is a send-up of reality TV by appealing to the same lurid fascination. I was prepared to love a bitter and wicked satire. But the novel, for my taste, ended up lacking much imagination by sticking too close to actual events. Yes, it's enhanced and even more ludicrous, but still way too identifiable. KGHarris, 2/13.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I don't watch American Idol or shows of that ilk, but I do enjoy a handful of reality programs and have always wondered if the shows are scripted and managed by the whims of production staff. The more I tune in, the more cynical I become about the judging. And thus, I enjoyed Elimination Night far more than I expected to.

It's not really a roman a clef, a la The Devil Wears Prada. It's more of a madcap behind-the-scenes tale of a production assistant as she observes life from her intimate position behind America's tentpole reality show. Are producers really this cruel? Probably. Are pampered celebrities really like ill-mannered toddlers? Perhaps. It's an interesting perspective, regardless.

I didn't think I was going to like this book. It starts off with an exhausting breakneck pace of calamities heaped on top of each other, interspersed with pedestrian interludes about the protagonist's personal life. Somewhere along the line (either around the Bonnie subplot or the Celery Incident), I got hooked into the story, and started to care what happened in the end.

And I did like the end. I found it satisfying for the main character's coming-of-age sort of story arc, and gave me a wide smile for the irrepressible antics of one unexpectedly self-aware Joey Lovecraft.

I wouldn't even mind following the heroine around for another season of Project Icon. I was expecting an absurdist fluff piece, but grew to enjoy the read. I even recommend it. This isn't great literature, but it doesn't need to be. I had fun and was entertained.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
THEN IT SEEMS THE AUTHOR became bored and in the last couple of chapters went into fantasy land and tried to wrap the story up in a haphazard way. I would have really enjoyed a more constructed wrap up instead of the author trying to turn it into a mystery.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I should start by saying that I didn't find this book 'uproariously funny'. In fact, it didn't get even remotely funny until about halfway through. Basically, it starts out as Chick Lit without the gay best friend. Just a little tired.

However, about halfway through, once they got into the meat of the auditions and contest, it got really interesting (never very funny). If you have seen and enjoyed - or hated - shows like American Idol or America's Got Talent, you'll be fascinated at the behind the scenes machinations. While I hope these machinations were slightly exaggerated for effect, it's still a very telling look at the unreality of reality shows. Now, keep in mind as I write this, I love reality shows! However, I don't believe much of what they show me. So for those who are a little cynical about them, while still loving them, you'll probably enjoy this one very much.

As for my rating, although I enjoyed the second half of the book, I found the first half - all the set up and very Chick Lit-like - very hard to get through. So three stars from me.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 28, 2013
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As someone who hitched on to the American Idol about six years ago (supposedly, when the show was past its prime), I thought ELIMINATION NIGHT would be somewhat of a "interesting" (juicy) look at the depravity behind the scenes of the hedonistic reality show. Sure, it's a work of fiction, but sometimes reality-based fiction can be just as tantalizing. The anonymous author even added a degree of authenticity and alludes to the fear of the author being fired or sued if discovered. But, other than a few obvious embellishments, the book really didn't "reveal" anything most Idol-watchers didn't know or assume to know already. The book is readable, but I found it a little disappointing.

If anyone has a casual watching interest in Idol, they are probably primed on the basic understanding that the show tends to focus on its staff just as much as the annual contestants ... as the previous winners generally fade from our minds (save a few), the judges (unfortunately) never do. ELIMINATION NIGHT basically hammers home the expected/known selfish, narcissistic behavior of judges and the "gimmicky", false nature of a reality competition show that heavily mirrors American Idol. In fact, one of the biggest challenges I had reading the book was getting the images of real American Idol personalities out of my mind ... the entire way through.

A key to some oh-so-coincidental similarities between ELIMINATION NIGHT and American Idol:
"Project Icon" = American Idol
"Big Corp" (network owner) = Newscorp (network owner)
"Rabbit" (network) = Fox (network)
"Nigel Crowther" (former mean judge) = Simon Cowell (former mean judge)
"Talent Factor" (former mean judge's new show) = X Factor (former mean judge's new show)
"Wayne Shoreline" (host) = Ryan Seacrest (host)
"Joey Lovecraft" (judge) = Steven Tyler (judge)
"Honeyload" (judge's former band) = Aerosmith (judge's former band)
"Blade Morgan" (judge's jealous ex-bandmate) = Joe Perry (judge's jealous ex-bandmate)
"Bibi Vasquez" (judge) = Jennifer Lopez (judge)
"J D Coolz" (mainstay judge) = Randy Jackson (mainstay judge)
"Booya ka ka" (mainstay judge trademark comment) = "Yo Dawg" (mainstay judge trademark comment)

Even though the book is fiction, ELIMINATION NIGHT still teeters on the line of being based on embellished fact. The storylines of the main characters play out quite similar to American Idol's season 10 with the book's main character, Sasha, an assistant producer of "Project Icon", giving readers a fly-on-the-wall perspective of the show's ridiculous behind-the-scenes shenanigans. While the title of assistant producer sounds high-brow, we discover Sasha's nothing more than a low-level task-master/gopher responsible for accommodating every whim of the show's "talent" ... the narcissistic, insecure and jealous judges, NOT the aspiring vocalists. This allows us to see the fragile, piece-meal framework that hides behind the pageantry and polish of the final show; similar to how "The Larry Sanders Show" provided insight to the workings of late-night talk shows. On one hand, the storyline is relatively fun and is full of "did this really happen?" and "is she/he really like this?" moments. Questioning what is real and what isn't makes the book worth reading in the first place. Readers may even find themselves searching the internet to see if some of the stories are, in fact, true (thankfully, there is no evidence that Joey Lovecraft's alter-ego actually defecated on stage to spite his band-mate). On the other hand, the book lacks an immersive quality that really never had me wanting "more" or being particularly drawn to Sasha, the book's main character. Because of this, I found ELIMINATION NIGHT's brevity to be its greatest appeal.

ELIMINATION NIGHT offers a mixed bag: Idol fans may love it for its food-for-thought quality and others may hate it for possibly revealing the ugliness behind the show's grandness. While one does not need to be an Idol fan to enjoy the book, it certainly helps to at least be familiar with the show ... it's the carrot on the stick. The allusion of providing an insider's perspective of American Idol is what personally drew me (a casual Idol viewer) to read it. If Idol never existed, I can't really say I would be interested in ELIMINATION NIGHT.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Rarely do I not finish a book but this is one I should never have started. What a waste of money! Please Anonymous, do us a favor and don't write anymore books!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 6, 2013
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Very clearly based on the recent season of American Idol that introduced Jennifer Lopez and that guy from Aerosmith as judges, though names and minor details have been changed...this book seeks to be a first person tale from the point of view of one of the assistant producers on the show.

Of course she's underpaid and subject to lots of ridiculous requests. She gets to see judges and contestants behaving badly. She has a rocky romantic life and a horrible apartment. Not a bad character overall.

It ends up coming off as somewhere between a tell all and fanfiction. But it's fluffy and fairly cute and has lots of fun little things for American Idol fans to recognize.

To be honest, I haven't watched Idol in years - my college roommates used to back when it was new, but even I enjoyed this.

It's fairly forgettable, but pretty enjoyable while you're in the middle of it.
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