On Thursday morning (the morning after Taylor Hicks won American Idol) on an email group of Christian writers, someone posed the question: "…wondering if … it is possible for me to care any less about who the new (or used, or future) American Idol is, or where it can be explained why this announcement was on every TV news show…"
There followed a lively discussion.
For many of the novelists (including me), the answer is easy. Human drama. Having a dream and pursuing it for all your worth. Taking it on the chin and getting up again; even more, taking it on the chin and smiling into the camera. Watching American Idol is a wonderful character study.
And as a writer, how can I not appreciate the guts and the bravery, what it takes to offer up the talent one is given and wait for others to take potshots at it? Publishing isn’t for wimps. When my books are released, they are fair game. Yes, I’ve won awards and get heartwarming letters and emails from readers who have loved the stories I’ve told. But I’ve also been trampled on by professional reviewers and readers and writers. I’ve held up my "baby" and had people call it "ugly."
I’ve got to tell you, knowing what it feels like to have my baby called ugly was in the forefront of my mind when I commented on the AI performances in this blog. I’ve tried to always avoid dissing someone, especially if I knew it was a matter of taste. i.e. Chris Daughtry has an amazing talent, but his style wasn’t for me; doesn’t mean he isn’t talented, just that his singing didn’t float my boat. I’m a believer in "truth and grace." I think we can speak honestly without being cruel. (Simon, take note.)
Anyway I’ve watched these kids (from where I stand, they are kids!) on American Idol for the past two years and admired them for their courage and hurt with them when they blew it and rooted for them when they did well. I’ve loved watching them grow more polished over the course of the competition, and I’ve also admired those who have remained true to who they are.
And for a moment, let’s forget those singers who make it to the final 12. There is nothing more painful, funny, and occasionally inspiring than those first weeks of tryouts. One friend said, "How many times over the past three years of following this show have I heard from a really bad singer, ‘But Simon’s wrong!! People have always told me I could sing!!’ Well, honey, people lied. And they didn’t love you enough to tell you the truth…" So true!!! Talk about grist for a writer’s mind.
I am unapologetically an American Idol fan. And now that the season is over until next January, I’m feeling cut adrift and unsure what to do with myself on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Pitiful, isn’t it?