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.