Friday, January 11, 2008

Idol Chatter

How is a raven like a writing desk? How is the presidential election like American Idol? I don't have the answer to the first question, but I've tried my best to answer the second in the following comparisons:

Hillary (and Bill) Clinton and Terrell (and Darrell) Brittendum

One proposed benefit of voting for Hillary Clinton is it's a 2 for 1 deal - you get Bill, too. The Brittendums operated pretty much the same way. When Terrell (or Darrell) suspected that Darrell (or Terrell), hadn't made it to the next round, he gave an impassioned speech claiming that if his brother was out, he was too. Oops, too bad the brother hadn't really been kicked off. We watched in glee as the other pleaded with the judges to remain on the show. When Hillary was predicted to lose New Hampshire, Bill came to her defense, telling voters he couldn't make her younger and speculating whether they should pull out of the Nevada caucus. Oops, scratch that,she ended up winning New Hampshire. The Brittendum plea was similarly in vain because both soon left the show to deal with charges of fraud and theft. Illegal and sketchy behaviour seems to plague the Clinton camp too.

Ron Paul and Crazy Dave Hoover
When Dave Hoover auditioned for American Idol, he was bare-foot, sang an "original" song, and appeared to be under the influence of drugs. Much to everyone's surprise, he made it through to the Hollywood round. Ron Paul is the Crazy Dave of the presidential election. His ideas are clearly Libertarian, his foreign policy is isolationist and he wants to eliminate Social Security, the Department of Education, and basically every federally sponsored program. He's a contestant in a competition, but it doesn't seem to be the right one. One of these things is definitely not like the others. Still, like Crazy Dave, he has a surprising and loyal following.

John McCain and Chris Daughtry
"Maverick" is an apt adjective for both McCain and Daughtry.
Chris Daughtry wasn't the Idol type - he was a rocker - and
Simon, Paula, and Randy wondered how he'd fare in a pop competition. Still, he was "true to himself", he had musical integrity, he made each song "his own." McCain is the Daughtry in the race for the White House. He's rough around the edges, not as polished as the other candidates, but like Daughtry, he's true to himself, and eager to give anyone who will listen an earful of "straight talk."

Bill Richardson and Lakisha Jones
American Idol tauts itself as a singing competition. And there's one thing you can say about Lakisha Jones: girl can sing. If the competition really were about straight singing, she definitely would have made it further in the contest. In a Democratic race that seems to be between experience and change, you would think Richardson would stand out as the experienced candidate. Hillary's years as First Lady pale in comparison to Richardson's resume: Congressman, Ambassador to the U.N., Secretary of Energy, Governor. But somehow, Richardson's campaign never caught fire. He seems to be like Lakisha Jones, voted out before the final showdown.

Mitt Romney and Katherine McPhee
On paper, Katherine McPhee was a shoo-in for the American Idol title. She's beautiful, has an incredible voice, and great stage presence. Mitt Romney similarly is, on the surface at least, certainly the most presidential of the Republican field. He's smart, good-looking, articulate, and has relevant leadership experience. Still, there is something about both that prevents their audiences from taking the step from admiration to adoration. Both have been attacked for being plastic, insincere, fake. Katherine McPhee was good enough to take second place, and so far Mitt has been too, but it's not certain whether Mitt has what it takes to win the approval of the Republican party.

Fred Thompson and John Stevens
Do you remember John Stevens? He was horrible. When he performed
Elton John's Crocodile Rock, he had less enthusiasm than a dead fish. The best word to describe his performances is lethargic. And still, week after week, he kept progressing to the next round. Fred Thompson similarly is able to generate a lot of buzz despite his lethargic, uninspiring campaign. He seems bored with his own campaign, but for some reason keeps going week after week, the anti-Energizer bunny.

Mike Huckabee and Garet Johnson

When we first met the Littlest Cowboy, he was on his ranch in Wyoming, singing to the turkeys. And it was hard not to love Garet Johnson, with his wide-eyed optimism, cowboy hat, and funny way of talking. His chance of winning the competition was hopeless, but somehow this hopelessness propelled him farther than anyone expected. Mike Huckabee is in the same category, the Little Engine that Could, who somehow has made his lack of funding an asset, his folksy way of talking endearing. Still, as much as we all loved the Littlest Cowboy, none of us were really going to buy his album. When Huckabee began getting more attention, he was similarly loveable, but none of us were really going to vote for him. Only now I'm not so sure that's the case.

Barack Obama and Carrie Underwood or Fantasia Barino

When Fantasia Barino performed "Summertime", it was inspiring. Amazing. Different. That performance ensured her victory of the American Idol contest. However, after winning the title, her career hasn't been as promising as one might have expected. Carrie Underwood, on the other hand, has been the most successful Idol of all. Barack Obama's candidacy is imbued with a certain electricity, and we dare to hope that if elected, he may be one of the most successful presidents of all. But his candidacy is also plagued with uncertainty, and we fear that if elected, he may shrink into mediocrity.


janel said...

Perhaps I should devote more of my time to "Idol" chatter with you. Then maybe some knowledge and brains and awesome literary skills would rub off on me. You are hilarious, Kim. Ham sandwiches and all.

Stacy & Mike said...

American Idol Fan? I never knew. Love the analogy! While we are there, the Judges could represent us as citizens. Randy representing those who will give his vote to the "cool" candidate. Paula's vote goes to someone who is of the opposite sex (sorry Hilary) who can wink at her or unless the girl is beautiful. Simon is pessimist or "realist" for the rest of us. Let's hope we are as discriminating as he when it comes down to "who is actually going to do the best job".
Great POST!

Hansens said...

I love the comparison, I ony wish people were as motivated to vote in the presidential election as they are to vote for American Idol. However, maybe that is the way this country is headed, my dad does refer to ET, and Access Hollywood as the "real" news.

Cheryl and William said...

HI Kim! Brooke told me about your blog and I love it! It is so hilarious- especially this American Idol comparison. I also loved the one about all of the different explanations for definitions. Keep up your New Yorker Style girl!

Kristen said...

Kim I'm totally impressed. That takes great Idol knowledge and Political knowledge. You are just a well-rounded person what can I say.