Thursday, April 12, 2007

Idol Worship

I realized over the weekend that my dad has a little crush... on Carrie Underwood. Isn't that cute?

I've been spending alot of weekends with my parents for the last couple of months because my mom's been quite ill and they could use the company. In fact, she's been hospitalized since January 23rd. It's a whole new culture over there, hanging with the nurses, other hospital regulars and watching lots and lots of basic cable. Thank God that San Diego basic cable includes TCM, because me & the folks can generally agree on old movies. We also watch alot of the Travel Channel and some Animal Planet. We mostly hate reality TV, but my parents love game shows or talent contests of any sort, especially on the Latin Channels.

I don't mind watching the Latin channels so much - it keeps me familiar with Spanish (although my Spanish speaking skills are dismal at best) and I kinda feel like I know what about half of the world is up to. Really. These shows are huge in Central and South America as well as a large contingent of the U.S. We watch alot of dance competitions, some dating shows, and "Vas O No Vas!" which is the Spanish version of "Deal or No Deal." I didn't understand the English version of that show, but somehow the Spanish version got through to me. My dad and I like to play "Find the Fake Tits!" while watching.

Last weekend brought about a discussion of American Idol, a show I've only watched once. It was the final episode of Season 1 - Kelly vs. Justin. I didn't watch the whole thing, just parts of it. My roommate was watching. It got very "Up With People" (these sunny Christian pop troupes that would tour around the country in the early 80's... Hey, I went to Catholic school. We knew about these things.) and that vibe creeped me out. Never watched it again.

But I did continue to be involved... I worked at a publishing company for a couple of years and would help the AI team get clearances for literally hundreds of songs every season. It was interesting. Songwriters would be stoaked to have their songs on the show - it always meant a spike in sales for them. Some songwriters specified when their songs could be performed: finalists only, no auditions, no William Hungs! (Really, can you blame them?) Some also specified that the original performer could not be imitated during the AI performance in any way.

The supervisors were always pretty savvy about what they picked for their contestants. The year of Carrie Underwood (Season 4, I think), the music supervisor knew she had a country singer on her hands. Since the show mainly does Top 40 pop, we fished out those songs with country leanings to show off Carrie's pipes in just the right way. Guess it worked!

I was discussing this with my dad and he said, "Well, that was the right thing to do. Carrie Underwood is very talented." Me: "Oh, you've heard her?" Dad: "Sure, they play her on the radio." "I thought you listened to NPR all day." "Well, sometimes I listen to other things."

Then my mom cut in. "He likes her." "How do you know?" "He watched the Country Music Awards this year because she was on it."

Busted!! "You did?" "Well, it seemed like she would probably do very well, and she did." "Yea, but when was the last time you remembered to tune into the Country Music Awards?" "It just happened to be on..."