1.18.2011

Sandy H. Has Recovered From Post-Traumatic Dancing With The Stars Disorder

“If I’m being honest with you…..”
Thoughts on American Idol by Sandy H.

In June of 2002, the first season of American Idol launched and in Pass Christian, Mississippi, Leigh Ann and I were mesmerized by this marvelous new form of reality television.  Brooke and Randy were out of college, off the family payroll, and onto actual gentle employment.  Bill was away on business most weekdays so Leigh Ann and I would join the family cats in front of the television twice a week religiously.  Leigh Ann would be draped over the sofa in sweaty riding clothes, and I would be wearing something… well, fabulous probably, and sipping a glass of pinot grigio.  Kelly Clarkson became our girl.  For the first and only time in my life I voted EVERY WEEK for her. (No thanks necessary, K C. It was my pleasure.)

But the real draw, the guilty pleasure every week was British judge Simon Cowell.  When he would start a sentence with, “If I’m being honest with you…” you knew, you absolutely KNEW someone was about to be eviscerated, savaged, driven to tears or blind rage.  Some poor nineteen-year old had stood for hours in the blazing sun or pouring rain to sing (and in those days it was really bad Mariah Carey or Celine Dion) in a stadium or hotel ballroom or old theater.  She had driven hundreds of miles and brought her two best friends and grandparents, all of whom had told her she was waaaay more talented than anyone on the radio.  And then Simon would say, “Do you have a singing teacher? Do you have a lawyer? Then you should get a lawyer and sue her.”  His compliments, because they were rare, were all the sweeter and more precious.  You saw pure, sheer happiness and pride in the singers’ faces.

How is American Idol, which starts Wednesday and Thursday nights this week, going to survive without him?  Can new judges Stephen Tyler and Jennifer Lopez  step up?  Will returning dawg-man Randy Jackson, who will sit in Simon’s chair and give the final critique, be more demanding? Well, "if I’m being honest with you,” I don’t see it happening.  Still, you’ve had a good run, American Idol.  Although I for one will be watching, at least in the beginning, what I’m really looking forward to is Simon’s new show, The X Factor, starting in the fall.  Searing comments.  Humiliating moments.  And hearing him say, “All I could think of when you were performing, is how I would pay you to stop.”

Check out charming and lovable Kelly's audition below.  BONUS FEATURE: vintage Seacrest!  And don't even get me started on co-host Brian Dunkleman, who stupidly bowed out after one season because the show was "too mean."  I wonder if Ryan Seacrest sends him a holiday card from aboard his yacht every year.

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