Proud to be

david cook american idolI am not ashamed to say that I cried tonight, and not because Sally and Susan refused to go to bed before American Idol was over.

Honestly, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that American Idol represents all that is good about America today. And I know, yadda, yadda, there’s a lot wrong with America. The streets are not paved with gold, or cheese, and I am not a gazilionaire, award-winning author.

What is right with AmericaN IDOL

Friendship: Though they might never have met in real life (I picture David A ordering a sarsaparilla at David C’s place of work), David C and David A seem to genuinely like each other.

Facing up to Mistakes: When Simon apologized to David C tonight, my heart overflowethed: Simon, God loves you very much, and he is SO proud of you tonight.

Good Sportsmanship: I might not have appreciated rocker-chick Amanda Overmyer’s style, but at least she never skulked around with a tire iron.

Democratic, Free Elections: With a simple nominating system that takes a mere 19 weeks rather than seventeen years, and a vote-counting method that rewards enthusiasm and participation, there’s no need for the Supreme Court to step in. Amendment #28?

Element of Surprise: Fireworks on the 4th of July, A 4th Indiana Jones movie, children being solidly potty-trained by age 4: These things are all quintessentially American, but not necessarily surprising. David Cook winning by 12 million votes after auditioning by accident, never playing it safe, getting trashed by judges and almost shown up in the final contest: Surprising.

Youth! Energy! Hard Work! (Truth! Beauty! Love! Freedom!). Amen.

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P.S. My dad was embarrassed to tell me that he wanted to watch the show last night (I hope they caught tonight’s, because most of it was fantastic). He said he’d even told his parents about it. My grandparents are lovely, conservative, white-bread, middle-Americans (in a good way) who still watch Lawrence Welk on public television. And I have to say that I think American Idol, as a variety-talent-feel-good show is the Lawrence Welk of the 21st century. Also in a good way.

P.P.S. American Idol bringing out that crazy Renaldo guy singing “You are My Brother” was The.Most.Awesome.Thing.Ever. God bless America!

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Music soothes the savage

Things were tense tonight. Tense and torn. We are positively torn between David A. and David C. I told Dick this morning that I planned to vote for Cook because his accidental rise to fame is so appealing. If you believe that whole thing about him only auditioning by chance while supporting his brother, you gotta admit that America in the 21st century is a dang fine place to live. Dick said maybe I could wait and see how they performed tonight. BUT — that’s hardly the point.

Watching American Idol has brought us much closer as a family. And our musical know-how? Off the charts. But tonight Sally (7) and Susan (3 1/2) nearly came to blows. Sally says she’ll throw up if David Archuleta loses and if he wins, she’ll “scream so loud in the house” (it’s hard for me to tell which of those outcomes she thinks is better). Susan, getting a little tired towards the end, was livid. It was pretty heartbreaking to see our poor Cook falter a bit in critique.

Embarrassing as it is to have embraced American Idol so unreservedly, I have to say that music is what’s working for me lately. Dick and I didn’t have a song ten years ago. In fact, whenever we played newlywed-type games (not often, thank goodness), we made a point of proclaiming our songlessness. Suddenly, though, we are enjoying similar songs. Dick says my taste has improved, but I think it’s his that has improved, dramatically. He has always liked Bjork, after all.

Also singing my song are my iPod, iTunes and the new iLive docking station boombox I got for Mother’s Day from my favorite father-in-law (thanks Grampa!!). The only speakers in our house for years have been our wimpy computer speakers, and since I also love live radio, the iLive is awesome! I found it for $58 at Overstock.com (hope you didn’t pay more than that, Grampa).

The whole iOrganism could seem almost incestuous and repulsive if you didn’t consider that it’s Apple’s response to the evil Microsoft Empire. And frankly, once you invest in the iPod (or have a generous family member; thanks, Grampa! Again!) and iLive, the ability to buy one track at a time on iTunes is nothing short of nirvana. And for iTunes, gift cards can show up in your stocking; thanks Liz and Sean! Basically, the iWorld is an opportunity for people to give you stuff, again and again.

So, we’re downloading American Idol songs on iTunes (Carly Smithson’s I Drove All Night & Blackbird, Brooke White’s I Am, I Said, David Archuleta’s Imagine, David Cook’s All I Really Need is You, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, Innocent & I’m Alive). From that list, it’s clear I should be texting like mad for David Cook. But Dick and I agreed to not vote. His votes and my votes would just cancel each other out, right?

As for our song? Lazy Eye was the first song I downloaded that Dick wanted for himself. We’re also playing the Estonian Kerli (who’s all international, eh?). Coldplay’s new Viva la Vida is awesome. But my favorite new artist is Ingrid Michaelson. Talk about an organic rise to fame. If you buy that whole thing about how she was just putting her stuff up on YouTube until the Grey’s Anatomy people discovered her. I love The Way I Am, Breakable, Die Alone, Far Away, and Starting Now.

Susan, who will do the motions to Once There was a Snowman, but will not sing the words to save her life, knows the chorus to Keep Breathing. And will sing it. I know, it’s an easy chorus. But still.


Susan’s Keep Breathing from jane on Vimeo.

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Hillesha, Baracook, and McArchuleta

Did you vote? I hope so, because tonight at 8 pm, the results of this most protracted primary runoff season will be announced and America will be down to the two major candidates. Will it be Hillesha vs. McArchuleta or Baracook vs. McArchuleta? Will anyone suggest that Hillesha and Baracook combine forces to battle McArchuleta?

You know, of course, that if you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain, right?* About taxes or wars or crappy schools or pitchy voices or asinine song choices. I know, it’s disheartening that it’s all so staged and phony. Not to mention demographically rigged. Blue-collar women like Hillesha, ‘tween girls and everyone over 75 likes McArchuleta, rockers and other assorted cool people like Baracook.

THIS is American Idol.

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No real political views were harmed or expressed in the making of this post.

*Unless you vote in the form of conscientiously-abstaining from voting in our troubled democracy, naturally.

I’m linking this up to Writer-Mommy’s Writing Wednesday carnival on Hope, because, baby, this is my hope for America.

American Idol Girls

truth.jpgI want you to know that I think reality shows are completely trashy and of no redeeming value. And the worst is when I start watching a show and then can’t. turn. it. off. Have you seen any of that Moment of Truth show? It really is bad. But, since I’m in the baring-my-soul mood, I wanted to answer what is being advertised as one of tonight’s hard questions:

Do you think that you’re a better mother to your children than your mother was to you?

Uh, yeah, like a million-trillion times NOT. My mom is great — besides the usual mommy-wonderfulness, she’s the kind of person who, if she were on that LOST show, everybody would have gotten back home in Season 1. I don’t know what awful things my kids did before this life to get stuck with me. I was going to feel bad for suggesting that my sweet, innocent little babies had ever done anything wrong, but then Susan (3 1/2 yr old Susan) had her third potty accident of the day, and maybe the question I should be asking myself is what did I do wrong?

Anyway, Dick has YM (church youth group) tonight, so I let Sally and Susan watch American Idol with me. If you want a recap of the entire thing, head over to Musings of a Housewife. And for a serious anthropological/fashion question, see Tara Thinks. I’m just gonna hit a couple highlights.

Of course, the 80s were the golden age for music, so this week had a lot of potential for greatness, but, tragically, no one sang Jesse’s Girl or Wild Boys or David Bowie or U2 or anything from Flashdance or Some Kind of Wonderful or — I could go on all night. Not much to say about Guys night because David Archuleta was good, but not fantastic-awesome-goose-bump-inducing. I actually liked Jason Castro a lot. Love the song Hallelujah (first heard on House) and love his eyes, but, please somebody cut those dreds. Loved the Simple Minds song by Michael Johns.

The best part of tonight was getting Sally’s take on Simon. Dick thinks Simon is a god and always right about everybody. I do not have enough musical talent to judge music, so I really appreciate that Simon talks in simple, colorful words that tell me what to think. And I love Paula because when I was thirteen some girlfriends and I did a lip sync to He’s a Cold-hearted Snake, one of the great songs of Western culture. Our choreography was smokin’ too.

Amanda Overmyer actually looked like someone I might trust to take my blood tonight. And she sang well, too. After hearing Simon’s praise of Amanda, Sally said, “I thought she sounded kinda screamy, like a little girl.” ‘Cause she ought to know how screamy a little girl can sound. Carly Smithson was fantastic; might have to download I Drove All Night. Can we take up a collection to get her tattoo removed? Oh, you think that since she does tattooing for a living she probably likes it? Oh, well. hmmm.

Brook White was good again, but why does she keep her eyes closed so much? I agreed with Simon (’cause I’m cool like that) and really liked the acoustic-ish (there still was a full band, with serious guitar-ing) version. That technique is great on such an iconic song. My mind can provide all these great associations and accompaniments, and like Randy (’cause I’m cool like that too) said, I can focus on her voice. Which is great and not pageanty at all.

Woooooh!!! We love you, David Archuleta!

So, Dick and I have NEVER watched an American Idol season before, and here we sit, Dick on his laptop and me with my book, schlepping through all the contestants, and here comes our baby, David Archuleta, ours because he lives just a few miles away, and we are GLUED to the screen as he sings Imagine.

david-archuleta.jpg

Jane (tear in her eye): I’ve got goosebumps. Hair sticking up on the back of my neck.

Dick (actually looking away from the computer for 5 minutes straight): I’ve gotta text in for him. (Dick knows how to text?) Dick actually sets down the laptop and finds our phones so we can vote.

Quick, call 1-866-IDOLS 10 or text “vote” to 5710. And if you want to see some more David, here’s his audition from Hollywood Week.

He was also on Star Search, apparently (Thanks, Marcy). Now this (and knowing that he has a voice coach) for some reason makes me not be so infatuated with him. I don’t know why. Isn’t it fine, even great, that he has been developing this talent for a long time? Apparently, it’s even cooler if the person didn’t know they were so talented or didn’t have to try hard to be talented. But really, it should be inspiring, motivating, encouraging to know that even people with ENORMOUS RAW TALENT work hard. Right?

Anyway, I’m off to download some of his tunes from Itunes.