Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Full disclosure time. I have been an American Idol fan from the moment it burst forth as a summer replacement show on FOX over five years ago. I am not an unbiased source. Plus--I am exponentially excited because this is the first time I am watching American Idol on HDTV and writing about it on an official blog. In a desperate attempt to purify all of my extreme thoughts and emotions over tonight's season opening episode, I dumped them all into a food processor for five minutes and strained the results through a double layer of cheese cloth. And then I counted to ten.
It didn't help at all. Welcome back, American Idol. I am still your biggest fan. Don't fool yourselves television lovers, this is not a Reality show. It is the most compelling drama on TV. Simon, Paula, Ryan and Randy are the main characters. The contestants are the guest stars. And we...the lucky viewers...are still here to gape in wonder at the astonishing results.
How do I love thee AI, let me count the ways. Did we have freakish early season comic relief? Yes, we most certainly did. I loved Alexis the sparkle eyed wanna be a vet girl who sang a Grace Slick song. Alas, the judges did not agree. I hated the chubby dude in drag who underwent a hair waxing for the cause. Painful and creepy, yet I could not turn away.
We also witnessed Temptress Brown in the first hour, a hefty 16 year old teen girl linebacker with a Mom in a wheelchair. In spite of all my crossed fingers, she could not sing a note. Sounds like a set up, right, oh those Fox puppet-masters. But I still cried like a baby when they sent her on her way without a yellow ticket. She got a group hug from the whole gang on the way out, while Simon, the dark haired judge with the hidden heart of gold promised he would talk about her ten cats. You know what Nose Fans...we all work hard to get through the day. Who cares if it takes a TV show to make us feel human again? I applaud the artful manipulation.
Through the three ring circus, tonight's episode had some very promising real singers from the city of Brotherly Love to remind us of what this show is all about. The diamond in the dust talent, began to blossom before our very eyes. I will now employ Jane's "Goosebump" meter on a scale of 1 to 5 to measure tonight's vocal performances. Joey, the guy who lost 200 pounds and found his groove with a Maroon Five song gets a 3.5 on the GBM. Chris Watson, the handsome black guy with dreadlocks is a 3.7. Angela, the pretty African American lady with the handicapped daughter gets a 4.0. Christi the blond from Oregon, who has no Reader's Digest background story but looks fabulous, loves horses and sang a heavenly version of Amazing Grace gets my highest GBM score of a 4.3. I don't quite get the appeal of Brooke White, the virginal snow queen that they saved for last, but anyone that gives Simon another opportunity for a not quite R rated double entendre works for me.
Any negatives? Simon--I like you better in a black t-shirt. But maybe that was the high-def talking. Any more positives? Don't get me started because it's late and I still have to go to a real job tomorrow. We are living in stressful and volatile times. There is a war in Iraq. There is a tight Presidential race on the horizon. The DOW just tanked again today. And for all of us who love television, the writer's strike has certainly taken its toll.
But for the next few months, we can all look forward to a weekly gathering around the electronic blue glow of AI; empowering....thrilling...weird....unfair...and tonight, surprisingly warm. Just like life and America itself. No wonder we love it so.