All right, a confession up front.
I watch “American Idol.” Every week. Just about every fricking show. And I’ve been doing it for most of the last ten years.
It’s embarrassing. Aside from news and sports, I watch very little else on TV–no sit coms, no cops and investigators series, no reality shows.
And that’s the thing about “American Idol”–it is a reality show. The ultimate reality show. These are real people (some sympathetic, some not so much) with real dreams in a real competition. The other reality shows have struck me as being contrived and silly, the product of the minds of some hip Hollywood producers, trying to guess what the rest of us, who are not so hip, will spend our time on.
But singing music, singing your hearts out? That’s real. We’ve all done it–in the shower, in our cars, in the bars. We’ve all imagined what it would be like to stand up on stage and hear the audience wildly cheer us.
In addition to the singing, you get the melodrama on “American Idol,” although clearly much of that is contrived by the producers–the guy with the wife in a wheelchair, the single mother who wants nothing more than to help her darling child, the girl who’s singing for her dead grandfather, etc. The list goes on and on, and we buy into it.
But ultimately, it’s about the singing. It’s about whether we can see this guy as the next Elvis or Michael Jackson, and that girl as the next Mariah Carey or Melissa Etheridge.
It’s been said that music is the sound track of our lives. I hear a song, whether it’s from five years ago or 50 years ago, and it automatically takes me back to that time in my life–the awkwardness of adolescent romance, the drug-aided craziness of the 60s, the suprising allure of the disco culture.
My God, what would our lives be like without music? Dry, sterile, lifeless.
So there it is. There’s my rationalization for watching the damn show for the last decade.
Now, as to why I and my friends and family members then spend so much time exchanging incisive comments about the contestants–“He’s good but a country singer will never win” and “She’s a good singer but she’s boring!” and “He screams too much! He’s got to calm down!” and “I love him! He’s so unpredictable!”…..Well, I’ll have to think about it. I haven’t come up with anything yet.
Wait. How about this? It’s fun.