American Idol and Politics

I should begin by saying I am not an American Idol junkie. I only get interested when the media tells me someone's about to win for the season, then I usually miss the episode and have to watch the final performances on the computer. So that's what I did with Adam Lambert and Kris Allen. That said, I have kept up with the political aspects of the two young men -- one being conservative and the other liberal -- and I have a theory about the whole thing.

I couldn't help but note that those in charge were pulling for Lambert. No surprise there. Anyone in America who's flamboyant, or represents some sort of minority -- the "underdog," shall we say -- is always touted by the media as The One. The One we should all love. The One with whom our sympathies should lie. The One who needs the most support. Yet America voted for the regular guy. Why?

After doing a little research it became clear Lambert had a broader vocal range. Personally, I can't claim who's the better singer since I don't know how to judge a person's voice. I only know what I like -- and so does America. Clearly both contestants have great voices; and when comparing apples to apples (though one apple may be slightly better than the other), it's the other characteristics that decide the vote. Lambert is too much of too much. Allen is a great-looking -- and okay, I'll say it, normal looking -- average American guy. Who happens to have a killer voice.

I believe this is why Allen won. Naturally, I can't prove it. But if you have a good grasp on how Americans think -- and, as a writer who's an avid reader and researcher, I believe I do -- I think it's a fair analysis. The vast majority of Americans do not identify with a person like Lambert. He may be the nicest guy in the world, but they still won't identify with him. Most Americans are God-fearing, normal looking, conservative-minded people who want to identify with other Americans. Lambert may be God-fearing as well, but it doesn't come through the way it does with Allen. Allen is married at 23 -- which is highly unusual today. The willingness to commit to someone for life at that age (even if the couple doesn't make it) says a lot about a person.

My point is that when faced with a choice between two good apples, the one people identify with will always win. The fact that Allen's been described as a "Christian" and that many viewers are Christian is only part of it. Like Susan Boyle, Americans like to see regular people like themselves -- whether they're attractive or not -- get ahead. People can live vicariously that way. That's why, in my opinion, Americal Idol is so popular.

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