I ask myself often why I watch American Idol. As someone who gets regular membership mailings from the American Association of Retired Persons ( AARP) and is more in tune with doo wop than hip hop, it remains a mystery as to why I tune into Fox on Tuesday for the display of youthful talent and on Wednesday to see who got kicked off.
My interest in Idol could be that at my age I want to relive that long lost era of youth from bygone years and become one with the millennial generation. But truthfully it is probably that I get some sad pleasure in seeing Simon Cowell rip the shreds out of the egos of wide-eyed twenty somethings or delight in Paula Abdul’s over the top gushing brought on by an imbalance in her meds.
This year I can justify my fascination with Idol because my home boy Danny Gokey of Milwaukee, Wisconsin is one of the last standing and has a legitimate shot at becoming the eighth holder of the crown. Danny not only has a great voice and fantastic stage presence, but he has overcome unbelievable hardship as his wife passed on just months before the competition began. I tell myself that it is time to end the string of country beauties and southern soul and put a hearty badger from America’s Dairyland in the national spotlight.
But the reality of my mild obsession with Idol is that it is the television version of the American dream with everyday young people pursuing their dream and laying it on the line every week before millions of viewers and that arrogant ( but usually on target) Simon Cowell. Most of us have small dreams – a good marriage, a worthy job, a nice house and well adjusted kids. The Idol contestants, however, want more and are willing to pay the price to grab that big dream. Their quest is truly American.
Even if Danny Gokey doesn’t become the new American Idol, I will watch next year and endure the incredulous looks of my friends who ask why I waste my time with that ” mindless” show. I really don’t care about their criticism of my television viewing habits; as I see it I am doing research on the latest chapter in the American dream.