Idol is the real celebrity
I love Tony Bennett. I wasn't really familiar with his stuff until I had a chance to see him open up for Paul McCartney in Hollywood a year-and-a-half ago. At least, I didn't think I was familiar with his stuff. But, when I heard him sing "Rags to Riches" and "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" I was thinking, "I know these songs ..."
Since then, I see him and the era he represents everywhere I go and wonder how I could not have known before. I mean, they play his stuff in shopping malls, elevators and automated phone systems a thousand times a day. It's obvious those businesses rely on the innate smile-making ability of that era to keep people happy when they'd otherwise go insane.
Instead of smiling though, my buddy summed up my thoughts by turning and saying at the end of the program, "They're kind of boring this year, huh?" Now, I'm going through a phase right now where I'm trying to put a positive spin on everything so I scratched my head and tried to think of something that I genuinely liked. It was rough, but not an exercise in futility.
Melinda was great tonight. She's always great, I suppose. I don't really believe her bewilderment of high praise, though. I don't think she realizes that it's possible to be humble and also recognize that she has a great talent. Also, I'm not as convinced she's gonna win as much as everyone else. She's great but that doesn't matter. I don't think she has a wide enough appeal. Of the three divas, I'd say that Jordin probably has the largest voting pool.
Despite the act, though, Melinda seems pretty genuine. That's more than what I'm starting to see in some of the others. At this stage of the competition, it's pretty common to see egos start to take off. It's kind of understandable but completely stupid -- especially on Idol.
It's easy to think you're a star with fame and fans, but the real celebrity is the Idol machine itself. The democratic formula that makes a superstar out of a seemingly ordinary person is what we all really love. It's a real-life fabrication of the Cinderella story unfolding before us every year. Fairy tales never die. Just ask Disney. They've done the same ones over and over again successfully for 50 years.
But, whatever aspirations the contestants have for "rags to riches" they'll just be TV stars this year until they sell some records.
Jon Peter Lewis was a finalist on the third season of "American Idol." His newly released debut album, "Stories From Hollywood," is available everywhere online and can also be downloaded at americanidol.com. Visit Jon's Web site for more.