I will admit it: I am an American Idol fan. I am that person… the one that sits glued to the tv for the hour or two hours that the show is on twice a week, slyly crossing my fingers behind my back with anticipated hope that my favorite, the person that I have deemed my personal American Idol, makes it through to the next round. While I don’t go so far as to actually calling in my vote to the show I will also make an admission of guilt to going online to try and cast a vote. Once I found out you had to sign in with facebook I closed the web page but I did check it out. Call it what you want: embarrassing, lame, amateurish but I can’t help it. I just love the show.
I know this is not abnormal… after all millions and millions of people do the same thing as I every week but what is different is that I actually dislike the type of music that American Idol typically produces. I can’t stand musicians who can’t write their own lyrics or bands that put out album after album neglecting to add any actual heart and grit into it, so the fact that I am so completely captivated by a show that historically has produced musicians who are basically created to make a quick buck is beyond me.
Music for me has always been about the emotion it produces, especially live music. Most of my favorite memories involve a live show in some way: seeing the Rolling Stones with my dad, watching Bob Dylan in an arena that typically holds 11,000 people, in an absolutely memorizing set when he only sold 2,000 tickets, spending a July evening sitting in the grass with Ryan at Simon Estes watching the Black Crowes when I was seven months pregnant, JJ Cale in a small theater in Petaluma, playing hacky sack with members of George Clinton and the Parliament when I was 15, watching Melissa Etheridge(who to me is a TRUE rockstar- a dying breed these days) at the Civic Center with my mom, taking my brother to his first Foo Fighters show and watching his face light up the first time he heard the infamous Dave Grohl scream, my mom giving up her ticket so I could see Page and Plant from Zepplin with my dad… you get the picture. All of these musicians possess that special quality to me, the ability to write these songs with these lyrics that captivate you, that make you feel what they feel, that sometimes moves you to tears. Songs that make you want to get up and dance anytime you hear it (David Bowie I am talking to you) or that make you want to roll down the windows and blast the sound as loud as your car stereo will go (Gov’t Mule anyone?) or that song that makes you want to move mountains and run a marathon or something (Stranglehold is my “Power” song) or a song that just gets to your bones (Silver Springs by Fleetwood Mac). Personally, this isn’t something that any American Idol winner has ever been able to do for me.
I think for me, actually I know for me, American Idol isn’t really about the music. I do enjoy watching the constants grow each week and I like deciding if I would have picked that song for them… I love when the non typical American Idol contestant pops up, someone like Crystal last year or Casey this year or even Hailey when she nailed that killer rendition of House of the Rising Sun. But I think it mainly signifies family time to me. Each week Ryan and Lilah and I sit in front of the tv on the couch to watch together, regardless of what work we have to do or if the house needs to be cleaned. These days life is so busy that it’s not abnormal to skip the truly important stuff. The stuff that keeps families smiling and keeps us from all losing our minds and slipping away from each other. The moments that are about nothing more than just laughing and cheering and debating and just being.
Tonight I may not be writing a novel or saving the rainforest or winning the Nobel Peace Prize or even doing laundry, but I can tell you that I will be sitting there on the couch with my husband and my daughter and possibly even Finn cheering and laughing while we find out who wins the title of this years American Idol. Together.
As Randy would say, I guess that makes me in it to win it.