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American Idol Worship

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So it came down to the Fat Guy versus the Gay Guy.

According to host Ryan Seacrest, we were a nation divided. Approximately half of the audience wanted Ruben Studdard to devour the competition, while the other half wanted Clay Aiken to fly away with the big prize.

Of course, it wasn’t quite fifty-fifty. Some 49.5% were rooting for Ruben and another 49.5% dug Clay.

The other 1% was the Americans who still had their wits about them and didn’t give a shit either way.

Thank god for the silent minority. Those are my “peeps”!

Yes, this was more divisive than the Vietnam War. Or, at least as much as that brouhaha over New Coke versus Original Coke of a few years back.

When “American Idol” first started – lo, those many months ago – one had to have a begrudging respect for this plucky upstart of a television show.

Overblown? Yes. Crass? Definitely. An empty spectacle? You betcha.

But it at least reveled in aspects that typified everything that is horribly wrong with the music industry today with no shame.

People like that shamelessness.

Then the show became a “pop culture phenomenon.” Soon, things went from reveling to just plain rolling in it.

Even some people I know who have, what do you call it? Oh, yeah…. TASTE… were sucked into watching this like zombified tone-deaf automatons.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t much care for the two main musical staples this show highlights:

1. Cover versions of overly sappy and way-too sentimental crappy songs I hated the first time I heard them, when done by the original artists.

2. Cover versions of halfway decent songs that are then butchered live for a gleeful viewing public. This has pretty much the same effect as when you drive by a horrible car accident. You slow down and gawk, not because you’re impressed but because it is an out-of-the-ordinary spectacle of gargantuan proportions.

I’d rather be locked in a room with Celine Dion until the end of time. That would be no picnic, but at least she’d have to shut up and sleep at some point.

So the season finale took two hours to do what could’ve been accomplished in thirty minutes. Did I mention the word “spectacle” yet?

More bad audition tape highlights and behind-the-scenes interviews, with the occasional witticism from Simon – a Brit who thinks himself a lot more amusing than I do.

This year’s “competition” is barely over, and the American public is all but salivating with eager anticipation for Season Three.

Oh sweet Jesus, please forgive them. They know not what they are doing.

If I could have but one wish, it would be…

World Peace.

Ha ha. Just kidding. No, my wish is that “American Idol” will play itself out by the end of season three and then be cancelled.

A nation will mourn.

But it’ll get over it, just as soon as the next “shiny new thing” bling-blings over the airwaves.

A new dawn will break over the country.

And “American Idol” will go the way of every other “pop culture phenomenon.”

Does anybody remember “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”?

No, me neither.

So, who won the competition? Does it really matter, since many of the finalists (including both the winner and runner-up) are already recording albums to be released shortly?

To use a line made famous by David Letterman, “It’s not a competition, just an exhibition.”

A sad exhibition, indeed.

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About Pete Petrisko