Don't tell anyone this, but ... I think I might be addicted to American Idol.
I know, I know. With the notable exception of The Apprentice and MTV's Newlyweds, I have long opposed the proliferation of reality TV. In fact, American Idol has actually been a frequent target of my criticism of the genre because of its overwhelming popularity.
I admit to having watched the audition episodes every year because they've always been damn funny. However, I inevitably tune out once the real competition starts because the spectacle never really catches my interest. To me, it was like a glorified Star Search. I've also never bought into the karaoke craze either, something which I am sure has contributed greatly to the show's following.
So I've long bemoaned reality TV, particularly American Idol; yet here I am coming out of the closet to confess that I have been secretly recording every episode with my DVR since this newest season began, even after the auditions were over. Being the thoughtful person that I am, I had to wonder: What brought about this sudden interest?
Upon reflection, the answer was clear: It's the talent and, perhaps more important, the personality of this season's contestants. Although I never really paid much attention to past contestants, I don't think I'm going out on a limb here when I say that the talent was never really mindblowing. Kelly Clarkson, whom I like very much, has been the only one who has actually achieved pop star status. (I mean, the girl won a Grammy this year, which is amazing when you consider where she started from.) All the other contestants have pretty much disappeared because they were completely forgettable, with last year's Carrie Underwood being a possible exception.
I would hesitate to call any of this year's contestants a breakout star, but there's some definite talent there. More importantly, from my prospective at least, is that many of this year's competitors are exceedingly likable. That's what has really gotten me hooked on the show this time around. I want to see some of these people win, and that's what keeps me watching.
With that said, who are my favorites then? Well, I absolutely love Kellie Pickler, as I'm sure many, many other people do as well. She has an incredible back story, a fantastic personality, looks adorable, and can actually sing (oh yeah, there's that). Unfortunately, I don't think she has the talent to win, but I think her endearing presence will carry her far.
So who do I think will win? Honestly, I think the field is so close this year that it's too early to pick a winner yet. If it were up to me, I'd choose Chris. From his initial audition, I have always thought he has had the most talent and charisma. He has a kick ass voice, but the question is is whether people will vote a rocker in as the next Idol.
From the girls, I would pick Katharine. She's attractive, charming, and has a great voice. I think she's got the whole package. Of the others, I'd be remiss if I didn't give a nod to Taylor. I get a kick out of each of his performances. I dig his voice and his Ray Charles-que
dancing gyrations are fun to watch. Those are the three that I'm rooting for this year.
I like Lisa as well, and Paris has pipes, but I'm not a fan of her personality -- she's a great performer but a little too cocky for my tastes. Mandisa can wail and Elliott's pretty good, but I just don't think they have the "It" factor. The rest? Well, they can all go home in my opinion.
Holy crap, did I just spend ten paragraphs talking about and analyzing American Idol? Dear god, I really am addicted.