Idol: A greedy therapist's dream
Do you remember back when the catch phrase "I'm going to Disneyland" was big? I remember saying it all the time after running over home plate during pick-up kickball games with my brothers. It was the quintessential victory phrase. It was almost as big as classic lines like "Where's the beef?" or "Whatchoo talkin' about Willis?" Saying that meant things couldn't get any better. Without any specific phraseology, except for maybe Ryan's annoying "after the break," I think Idol's results show format has found the yin to that yang.
None of this "You've just won [whatever], what are you gonna' do next?" Instead, with the camera practically up your nose, it's "You just lost your big shot to fame a fortune." I'm pretty sure going to Disneyland isn't next on the "to do" list. And, if that weren't enough, they have to bust out the microphone one last time and remind us why we didn't vote for them in the first place. Man, what a series of therapy sessions in-the-making.
That emotional aspect of the competition, I think, is often overlooked and misunderstood. While watching Idol tonight with a bunch of friends, one of them asked me why all the tears when she spotted Melinda crying during somebody's last hurrah -- I don't remember who it was. There are a couple of answers to that, I think.
American Idol is a pressure cooker. On top of having to choose, learn and rehearse a song, then learn some goofy stage movements for the group number, you have to endure the show. What I mean is all that anticipation for performance and results are enough to shoot anyone's nerves to pieces. Just watching it stressed me out while I was comfortably sitting on the sofa.
There is also the comrade-in-arms element. That is to say, the contestants have already invested about six months into this and have made friends and struggled together for the same goal. It almost feels like you're in the trenches and you know that the people around you are gonna die. This is the first live results show and the reality of someone leaving after coming so far can be pretty shocking -- especially when you're worried that it might be you.
Like I said, it's a greedy therapist's dream. Don't get me wrong, though, I don't agree with all the waterworks. I just want to tell then to suck it up. But, that doesn't stop me from understanding and empathizing. The same way I disagree with and understand most crazy celebrities.
[Jon Peter Lewis was a contestant on the third season of "American Idol." He has just released his debut album, "Stories From Hollywood." Visit his Web site, jonpeterlewis.com.]
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