DEBORAH CROMBIE: And now, having contemplated scrubbing clothes on a washboard in historic Annapolis and doing without deodorant, for something completely frivolous....
A friend who is classically trained as a singer admitted to me last week--actually, make that "confessed"--that she never missed an episode of American Idol.
So I thought it was time I came out of the closet and admitted (confessed) that from January to May, my week revolves around the Wednesday and Thursday night shows. (Thank goodness for DVR, although when it gets close to the end, you don't want to hear the results after the fact. Or have your recording cut off just as they announce the winner because they've gone over the time limit!)
This year I have a couple of excuses for my devotion. First, one of the final four contestants, Hollie Cavanagh, is from my home town, McKinney, Texas. There have been Hollie Watching parties in the performing arts center here for the last few weeks, and before that in the local pub. (She is originally from Liverpool, so that's the Brit connection.) There are signs everywhere, even in my neighborhood supermarket, proclaiming "Vote Hollie!" If she makes it to the "final three" tomorrow night, there will be a huge hometown parade for her this weekend, and our town will be seen next week by some 60 million viewers. So as a community, we are invested.
And two, my book-in-progress features a girl singer, although it's a very small part, and a male guitarist, who is a primary character, so I've spent the last year or so reading singer/musician biographies and autobiographies and learning lots about the music business that I didn't know. So I'm fascinated by the behind-the-scenes stuff, the coaching by producers and well-known artists, and by watching the development of the singers who start out so raw and unpolished.
But that's only part of it. Why, I wondered, should we (who I assume consider ourselves to be literate and sophisticated) be embarrassed to admit that we care about these young artists doing their damnedest to realize a dream? The ones who only want to be famous are weeded out fairly quickly. Those that remain--and this season has one been one of the best in the history of the show--have real talent and work incredibly hard to achieve a goal. (For those who haven't watched in a couple of seasons, I think the replacement of Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul by Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez has been an enormous and very positive improvement. Oh, and Steven Tyler's autobiography was published by my publisher, so I hope it sold well... those profits go toward advances for those of us who aren't quite as famous...)
I think as a writer I have a particular empathy with the contestants--writers' careers are made on a combination of innate talent, hard work, and a capricious bestowal of public approbation, as is their success on the show.
But most of all, it's just plain fun. Just don't ask my husband if he agrees.
So what about you, REDS and readers? Will you confess or deny?
And if Hollie Cavanagh does make it through to next week, at least tune in to see my town! (I might be waving at you.)