American Idol as Music, Not Contest

Last week it was the duets.  This week it was the “second songs”, the songs that were chosen for the contestants by the judges, rather than those they chose for themselves.  Usually it is all about the contest, who will win, who will lose, and the tension of that permeates each episode of American Idol.  Yes, I am an Idol fan, big time, get over it.

What feels different to me this year is that I listen to it, I look forward to listening to it, just for the music.  Last week I was transfixed by the duets.  They were astonishing, just to listen to, as music.  I found myself looking forward to each and every performance of everyone remaining just because I think they are good singers and musicians; even Casey, who I think is fluff, is a really nice singer.

This week there were three.  And  I was really sorry to see Big Mike go home.  He is a good singer and a really good guy, that was obvious.  But I don’t think he will actually be going home, I think his life is changed and he will be going on ~ which is why I am an American Idol fan.   And the first three performances were just okay.  It seems always to be that when the contestants get to just choose a song, without topic, theme or mentor, they don’t do so well.  They seem to choose what they just happen to like and not necessarily what is the right thing for them.  Isn’t that just like we all do, choosing what we like but not always what works.  But I digress (as usual).

This week it was the “second songs”, the songs the judges chose for the three remaining singers; they chose what they thought would be great and great they were, all three!  Casey sang Daughters by John Mayer and it was beautiful.  Mama Sox sang Baby I’m Amazed by Paul McCartney and it shook the house.  Lee sang Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen and it brought the house down.  I found myself just listening to the performances, not thinking at all about who would win and who would lose, just listening to the performances.

So that is what I love about American Idol, it is real people trying to accomplish their dreams.  And this year, because these last four or so contestants have stayed remarkably true to themselves and their own styles, it really is about the music.

“Bach gave us God’s word, Mozart gave us God’s laughter, Beethoven gave us God’s fire and God gave us music so we could pray without words.” ~ Anonymous