“American Idol” is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friends. And it keeps going and going like the Energizer bunny. And, heck, I can make many more pop culture references in regards to the granddaddy of American modern reality talent competitions, but I am going to stop there and conclude with this. “American Idol” has become a staple of American culture – it is the apple pie of talent competitions – if not for it we would not currently be experiencing shows like “America’s Got Talent”, “The Voice”, “The X Factor,” “Dancing With The Stars,” – need I go on? (Okay, I’m sure another show would have come around and sparked this new millennium talent competition craze – but let’s focus on the show that just keeps on breathing.)
Season 11 of “American Idol” begins tonight and it has become a habit of mine to ponder on the day of the season premiere whether or not I am really going to watch the show again. Like many, I have been watching this show since season one and have come back like a bug attracted to light every season even with the knowledge that despite the change of judges, contestants, songs (not always), and rules; the show will remain ostensibly the same.
So why do you keep watching it Matt? Great question, myself. It is that fateful day again when I perpend my viewership. I come to a similar conclusion prior to episode one each year. I may be watching this out of pure habit – man is a creature of habit – but I believe I watch it because the formula works. “American Idol” has mastered inward rock star ”dreams.” If you watch any episode of the show (especially during the auditions) you are bound to hear the word “dream” said by somebody – good or bad singer. Any music lover has at one time in their lives dreamed of being a “rock star.” Think about it. Do you ever sing in the shower and make sure you are in key? Have you ever picked up an instrument (the guitar for example), taught yourself the basics, and started strumming out basic chord progressions and painful vocals? Admit it. We all have a little “rock star” in us and while the dream of being a musician may have died after listening back to the recording of your best James Taylor impression, that doesn’t mean that we cannot live vicariously through those who are exceptionally talented and relatable to us.
That is the purpose of “American Idol.” Some contestants go from everyday Joes or Janes to performing in front of live crowds and it is exciting to watch their rise to success – or cheer against those who annoy you terribly (and there are many). Plus, there are many audacious individuals who try out and are totally worse than you are and they tend to be humorously bad.
So with only a few hours left to go before American Idol Season 11 kicks off I submit this statement. I was in 7th grade when I started watching and I am now commuting into work every morning – I’m not stopping now!
For those who take the annual plight, I commend you. Enjoy Season 11.