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.