It’s that time of year again! A wondrous time that brings our country together. Where armchair quarterbacks are free to judge those who have chosen to attempt to excel at their sport and live the American dream. No, I’m not talking about the Super Bowl. Of course I am referring to Season 10 of American Idol!
Hundreds of thousands of dreaming teenagers and “twenty-somethings” travel for hours, sometimes days, to stand in never-ending lines awaiting their turn to showcase their talents in a 3 minute audition in front of a panel of judges and the millions watching at home. A small percentage of these hopefuls will receive their Golden Ticket but only one will make it to Wonka’s Big Dance! (Wait, wrong show!) As for the rest, they will be sent home, most immediately, to wonder how Randy, Jennifer and Stephen could not have seen the superstar within. I will now bestow upon those that did not advance the magical key to unlock this mystery so that they may be forever free from this quandary…
Close your eyes and listen to yourself when they air your segment on T.V. This is what the judges and the rest of America heard when you sang your un-intelligible rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” in the key of G-U-Suck!
It causes me to ask what, exactly, are these people hearing when they sing? In 9 prior seasons of the show’s broadcast, have they not seen the caliber of the people who belt their way to the finals? Did the kid who sang Sinatra’s “I Did it My Way” not realize that if Old Blue Eyes was still alive today he would have been more than willing to sip on a cyanide martini while sitting in a closed garage with his 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham still running? Did the girl who sounded like two dolphins mating not realize that she was causing internal head bleeds of those within 15 ft.? They didn’t come close to comparing to the likes of Sanjaya, let alone someone with talent like Carrie Underwood or Chris Daughtry. Yet, each year these "train-wrecks" are my favorite part of the show. This leads me to wonder; what do people hear when I sing?
There are days when the house is empty and I perform a one-man concert in the shower at the top of my lungs (most times with 2 or more encores). What if a neighbor was to walk by and hear the show? Would they hear what I hear; a voice as powerful as Chris Robinson from the Black Crowes and as smooth as Mel Torme on a foggy day or would they say, “Why is that nice young man on the corner stomping on his cat’s head?”
This can also spill over into the category of what we see. Stylistic taste differs, that is for certain, but can Bjork really put on white, feathered covered dress with a wrap-around swan neck, equipped with a head and beak, and think, “Yeah, THAT’S THE ONE!!!”? I guess it's true...one man’s fashion is another man’s, well, meat dress.
I am literally giving myself a complex as there are so many layers of this rotten fruit to peel back. In the end, we are all being judged on some level each time we encounter someone else. It is a part of human nature, a part of thinking, and will be passed down for many generations to come. Therefore, I say embrace the fact that we judge. Judge passionately and often, learn from those who are being judged and take from each a lesson on life. Judging is only a negative when used to demean someone else and a positive when used to better ourselves. As I type this final sentence I am realizing that I, too, am about to be judged.
“Who's judging American Idol? Paula Abdul? Paula Abdul judging a singing contest is like Christopher Reeve judging a dance contest!”