Thursday, May 24, 2007

I have to be honest

I really didn't know that Smokey Robinson was still alive. But seeing him on American Idol last night? It made me LOVE this country all over again, Baby!

I mean, okay. Let's face it. There's a good chance he'd been pulled out of the rest home to lip synch Tears of a Clown. (And more than a good chance that Gwen Stefani was doing the same with her new single, in my opinion - and I really like Gwen: I love running on the prairie to Just a Girl and Sweet Escape (a great "new mommy" number). Some day - I share this because I trust you all not to blackmail me with it later - I even aspire to be known as the Gwen Stefani of literary fiction). But I digress.

And then, good Lord, they trotted out Gladys. "I found a man who can put it all together," she sang, with the top several A.I. female contenders as her backup singers, and I thought, Ms. Knight must be about 103 years old by now, but by golly, I'll bet she's still gettin' busy. She belted out Midnight Train to Georgia, and I thought, I hope those young whippersnapper girls up there with her know just what an incredible honor is being bestowed upon them at this moment.

And then....really, it was almost too much...Tony Bennett came back to the A.I. stage to sing - of all the perfect, wonderful, tear-inducing things - one of the most gorgeously joyous Stevie Wonder songs ever: For Once in My Life. This is one of those songs I like to blast at eleven on the PowerStroke's stereo while fishtailing around the dog-leg turns at 50mph on the cinder road heading toward home. Tony is the kind of guy who makes you realize that your parents and grandparents (depending on your age) came from a generation So. Much. Cooler. than your own that you might as well just give up now even trying to aspire. Even Simon looked moved.

But were the A.I. producers going to stop there? Oh, no, Missy, they certainly were not. Because then my favorite contestant of this season (other than Jordin, an Arizona girl who is darned hard not to love) - Melinda Doolittle - sang some butt-kicking modern Gospel with BeBe and CeCe, for whom she has apparently been singing backup until now. I really applaud Idol producers for airing such a blatantly Christ-centered song: I very simply DIG that about them.

Okay, three words to describe the embodiment of the un-self-conscious joy I strive to someday achieve: African Children's Choir. I mean, there they are, in this big concert hall, on this big. momentous night in American music history, and they're all like, What's the big deal? They asked us to sing, so we're singing. Isn't this fun?

And, did I ever think I would actually laugh out loud for joy at a Sanjaya performance? Well, I did laugh. (Aerosmith's Joe Perry actually made an appearance in an early version of my newest novel draft, so it was pretty cool to see him rockin' his Sanjaya cameo so hard).

The Divine Miss M. came out a bit later. I love Bette. Who doesn't? She's like everyone's favorite wacky drama/dance teacher from high school - complete with leather mini-skirt and amazingly well-preserved/surgically-enhanced face. Another joyful gal who makes me smile.

I mean - Lord have mercy - did all these established and soon-to-be superstars just look around at each other backstage and say, "This, right here, is what it's like to be blessed," or WHAT?

Okay, so then there was this sort of tweaky Beatles tribute/fugue...but it didn't last too long.

Look. I fully understand that American Idol is, first and foremost, a big, contrived, corporate form of dopamine for the masses. I do. I also know full well that there's more than just a little of the "Sing out, Louise!" element to the whole thing. But does it make me a complete schmuck to say that I like it? Call me David Hasselhoff, but not once have I heard someone say, after finishing their performance, "Oh, and by the way, I really HATE George Bush,"...or, "Those evil Democrats are ruining EVERYTHING." And I believe our country needs more of this right now. So, the show has that going for it.

And, then?

I don't know. Because, while the kids and I were driving home from a Little League game near the Grand Canyon, my lovely Dish Network DVR decided to STOP RECORDING about 10 minutes before the end of the American Idol finale.

So, you tell me. Who won?


  1. You are not a schmuck. You should probably look up the meaning of this probably Yiddish word.

  2. Lorelei1:08 PM

    By now you know that justice was served and Jordin is our Queen of Kitsch. But I would have LOVED to have seen a Melinda/Jordin sing-off. That's the way it should'a been.

    I didn't get to see the final show although it's sitting on my TiVo waiting for me. I was just going to delete it, but now after hearing your cool synopsis, I'm all over that. Too bad Kid #1 sassed back to me and I gave him 2 days without TV as a punishment. Who did that punish? The MOM. Oh dear. I should have spanked him. He's about 5 foot 3 inches and 122 pounds, but I can still catch him, can't I? Can't I???

    I completely expect SuperNanny to drive up to my door any day now. But I won't hear her knock over all the screaming & yelling & dog barking & American Idol cranked up loud on the TV...oh well.

  3. Gah! I left a message here and I think it got eaten! And now I don't remember what I said...

    but since I'm here...

    Orlando pictures at my place today!!!