American Idol is, arguably, the greatest cultural phenomenon of our times.
Every year the FOX reality program releases upon the world a crop of undiscovered or underappreciated talent, and of that crop a select few go on to make a real impact on the music industry with impressive chart performances and album sales.
I first turned on the popular singing competition in January of 2003 "for the heck of it." One night has turned into seven years of watching and supporting contestants, of heated debates and nailbiting eliminations. Seven years later, I am proud to admit it- I am an Idol fanatic.
It was in that first year that, after a brief "affair" with handsome but lackluster J.D. Adams, I first noticed a man named Clay Aiken. His powerful vocals and easy charm hooked me instantly, both to Clay and the show itself. I still remember the goosebumps I felt listening to him sing his first single [and future Best Selling Single of the year] "This is the Night" on the Idol finale. Anything that could uncover something this amazing was worth watching again.
After a disappointing end to my first Idol Season, I tuned in for Season 3 ready to find someone equally as amazing and hope for a better end to the journey. I would not find such a contestant, however, instead floundering between Top 32 flash Matthew Metzger, quirky, folksy Jon Peter Lewis, and pretty but lacking Jasmine Trias before settling on eventual runner-up Diana DeGarmo. And yet, despite this "lost season," I was not willing to give up so easily.
Desperate to find another Clay, I spent much of Season 4 latching onto early ill-advised comparisons and backing Anthony Fedorov, with Idol superstar Carrie Underwood taking a very close second place on my list. Season 5 lead me to eventual runner-up Katharine McPhee; Season 6, winner Jordin Sparks. Three more years down, and though the prospects and returns had looked up greatly, I had yet to find anyone I loved and supported as much as I did in Season 2.
That all changed Season 7, when during the San Diego auditions I caught sight & sound of young but incredibly talented David Archuleta. With it came the return of the heated Idol debates of old, and I was ready to fight them. David quickly took Clay's place on my all-times list, but the best was yet to come.
My early favorite for Season 8 was the well-publicized Danny Gokey. He had the kind of pleasant voice and endearing personality that I liked to root for, and to that point I had seen little that could measure up.
But one night in February, during the infamous Group Round, I noticed an unknown face amid a stellar performance of the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back." From that moment on, I was a Kris Allen fan.
In this blog I will be writing my thoughts on all things Idol, filling pace until next season with news and thoughts on Idol's many alumni. Look especially for my account of the Idol's Tour stop in Boston, as well as a write-up of the Season from the perspective of a proud Allenation citizen.
Until then, idol fans- goodnight <3