Quit Looking Scornfully at American Idol
So I enjoy watching American Idol. It's interesting to see what happens to the contestants who make it deep into the competition. Take Chris Daughtry, who finished about fourth in 2006. Today he's the rage in the world of pop. So much so that even though I like him I'm growing weary of seeing his face everywhere I turn.
All this came to mind while I was enjoying a bowl of tomato soup for lunch and between slurps was watching this week's Top 20 in country music videos. That means the tops in CD sales as well.
Number One performer for the fourth week in a row was a young woman named Kelli Pickler. A year ago she was a small town girl who was learning about a lot of things she had never previously heard of and laughing about them as he made her way through the weekly eliminations on Idol. She was cut with five or six contestants remaining. Now she's quickly growing rich.
Fourth place went to Bucky Covington, a lad eliminated on Idol a week before or after Pickler in 2006. At the time the judges said he might have a future in country music. They were right.
In third this week was the Idol winner from a couple of years ago. Her name is Carrie Underwood and she isn't growing rich, she already is rich after selling more than a million CDs and videos. She's won music awards and is in constant demand for personal and TV appearances.
Then there is another Kelli and for the life of me I can't bring her last name to mind. Minds tend to be that way when you reach my age. Anyway, she's won music and acting awards and is a huge success by any standard. (Thanks to "Peter" for reminding me its Kelly Clarkson).
A number of other former Idol finalists are doing well in the music business. So please, don't look on the show with scorn or laughter. It places a great many young people on the fast track to success. That's good, isn't it? If you really think about it, American Idol may be the most worthwhile show on television.
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On the subject of music, a lot of old songs are showing up on TV commercials these days. I mean really old songs. Two from the 1920s, "Blue Skies" and Irving Berlin's "What'll I do?" are being heard for the first time by millions of young people. The latter was one of several great songs Berlin wrote when he was having serious problems in his love life. The parents of his girlfriend were adamantly opposed to her having anything to do with Irving, even hustled her off to Europe for a while. It all worked out OK in the end. Fortunately for the rest of us Berlin was unhappy at the time and now eighty years later we are still wondering, "What'll I do when you are far away and I am blue, what'll I do?"
Another oldie from the1930s now on commercials is Jimmie Davis's "You Are My Sunshine." It was a country song that quickly went far beyond that genre. Jimmie, you may recall, fooled all the pundits by being elected governor of Louisiana.
Whenever I hear it I think back to the days immediately after World War II when I was made an MP and was stationed in the far north of Germany. Local girls in their late teens or early twenties cleaned our barracks, which months earlier had housed slave laborers at an aircraft factory. The barbed-wire fence still surrounded the area.
One day after my shift ended I was returning home when four or five of the girls came out the door with armed locked as they headed to their own homes. In what loosely passed for English they were loudly singing "You Are My Sunshine." And flirting a little, of course. Young girls and young guys are pretty much the same everywhere.
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