Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The big night

So in a few minutes, the American Idol finale will begin. It's hometown favorite Kris Allen versus judges' favorite Adam Lambert.

You know, I've watched Idol for years. Usually weeks before the finale, I'm consoling myself over the inevitable exit of my favorites with the assurance that anyone in the final four or five is getting a record contract. Just by getting that far, they are going to have a career in the music industry.

It's a slam dunk that Kris Allen is going to abandon his pursuit of a business degree because of the major label contract he'll be inking as soon as his indentured servitude to the 19 Entertainment machine runs its course. Win or lose, he's set.

So why am I so nervous tonight? I find that even though I'd never buy a Kris Allen record, I really, really want him to win. He's smooth, seasoned, comfortable in the spotlight, and perhaps most importantly for Idol history, actually knows contemporary music and places himself within that context rather than some classic rock nostalgia trip.

Yet I'm torn, because after early excitement about Adam, I've spent the last several weeks running him down due to his overly polished stagecraft and inability to know when enough is enough, as well as blatant and disgusting judicial favoritism. Now I'm worried that Kris is perceived to have the inside track not because America likes him, but because America is uncomfortable with Adam's ... flamboyance.

So my Conway pride is at war with quite another kind of pride. And I suppose there's no way we're going to know, short of some very astute and timely polling, why people vote for whomever they vote for tonight. But I wish I'd never read the local columnist who opined that the midwest Gokey voters will never vote for Adam. And I'm glad that I heard about the bond that Kris and Adam have formed as roommates on the show, leading to Adam painting Kris's nails before the homecoming trips as a sign of solidarity.

Maybe, no matter what the outcome, both will stand before America and proclaim that the other is a wonderful person. I have no doubt that either one could teach those smug columnists and suspicious heartlanders a thing or two.

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