Monday, December 9, 2013
Confessions of a Reality Music Show Junkie
I didn't begin watching American Idol until its fourth season, and I only did so at the urging of my daughter Deanne. She talked and talked about it. So when the fourth season began I decided to give it a try. My husband Rick was in the library/den reading and I was in the living room watching the season opener -- laughing like crazy at some of the truly bizarre contestants trying out. It was very entertaining, but I didn't figure I'd last more than a week or two watching the show. But an odd thing happened. My laughter drew Rick into the living room, wondering what in the world I was watching that was so funny. He made the mistake of sitting down on the sofa "for just a minute or two," and that was that. By the end of the show we were both hooked. I haven't missed an episode since that night -- thanks, of course, to DVR, and he only misses when he's out of the country.
Season 4 is the year Carrie Underwood won. She was our pick from the start.
Season 5 gave us Taylor Hicks -- again, the one we picked from the beginning. His harmonica-playing audition totally won us over.
We picked Jordin Sparks in season 6; but season 7 brought disappointment to me when my personal favorite, David Archuleta, came in second. I did like David Cook, who ultimately won, but I loved Archuleta. Besides the two Davids, I was a huge fan of Jason Castro that season. His performance of Cohen's "Hallelujah" is still my all-time favorite for any song, on any season. And Jason has a big role in my next-to-be-released novel, The Color of Sorrow Isn't Blue.
Season 8 had me nervous, because I was not a fan of Adam Lambert -- though my mother-in-law loved him. Go figure. And I was happy that Kris Allen won.
Season 9 gave us Lee DeWyze, who we liked but wasn't sure he'd win.
Season 10 saw the first real division between Rick and me. He was all for Scotty McCreery, who won. Me, not so much.
Season 11 was won by Phillip Phillips. He too was the one my husband and I picked from the first show of the season. We loved him, and saw him in concert this past summer, with our daughters, their husbands, and some of their friends. Oh yeah, he opened for John Mayer who has an even bigger role than Jason Castro in The Color of Sorrow. Do I detect a trend here?
Season 12 I really wanted Kree Harrison to win. I love her sound. But I was happy that Candice Glover won. She truly is an amazing artist.
Besides American Idol, I'm also a fan of The X Factor. And after a few false starts, I've become a fan of The Voice. They're a distant second and third to AI, but the thing I really like about The X Factor -- besides the honesty of Simon Cowell, who I miss a lot on American Idol -- is that The X Factor gives older contestants an opportunity that the other reality music shows don't. I cry often when I watch The X Factor, because I so deeply relate to the struggles of those who have persevered for so many years, and finally have a platform for their art. I'd give so much to have such a platform as a writer. I spent years trying to get published, and once I did get that first golden contract, I had such high hopes for the future of my writing career. Needless to say, it hasn't turned out the way I'd hoped. Not yet anyway. But I keep pressing on.
When I hear young contestants, 15, 16, 20 years old, say things like, "I've waited all my life for this." "I've worked so hard to get here." I laugh and think, you don't have a clue. Not. A. Clue. But when I see the older ones, who really have worked long and hard to get there, I respect them so much for the hard work, and I cheer them on with all my heart.
Will Champlin, one of the contestants on this season's The Voice, made a statement early on in the competition. He said something to the effect, that win or lose, he can't stop singing. It's at the very core of who he is. That so resonated with me. An underdog, Will has made it to the semi-finals, and I wish him the very best. Because I so get where he's coming from. Like Will, I say of myself, win or lose, contract or no contract, I won't stop writing. It's a talent God has given me, and I'm compelled to use it. Reluctantly -- and I do mean that -- I give it back to Him to do with as He pleases. And I watch with tears those whose races I so relate to. I cheer them on and I cry some more, thankful for the encouragement their perseverance gives me.
And I write.
What motivates you to keep at whatever drives you when it would be so easy to give in to discouragement?